Siren Song
 
 

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SYNOPSIS

Siren Song is devised as a large-scale, outdoor sonic artwork that fills the skies of a city. 

Beginning with technology used in the weaponisation and authoritarian implementation of sound, Siren Song presents the beauty and depth of the female voice on an unprecedented scale. Exploring sound spatialised on the scale of city blocks, from the tops of building and via the use of a helicopter equipped with tsunami warning PA system.

The work aims to invert ideas such as sound as an expression of patriarchal power, sound as an alarm or alert, and how sonic tools used to control and communicate might give voice to beauty and abstraction.

Siren Song is a marker of time, occurring at dawn and dusk each day, providing a range of female voices concerned with the future of humanity access to a scale of broadcast that matches the importance of their message.

 
 
 
 
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THe Work

 
 

Composition

The compositional element of the work consists of an a cappella vocal score and features only the female voice. Constructed in a music concrete fashion from an extensive library of pre-recorded material, created through a series guided improvisations with each of the collaborating vocalists.

Shifting between melody, group chant and free vocalisation across seven minutes, the piece is dynamically recomposed each day across a presentation. Developing from a soothing tonal and harmonic piece into a dynamic work that features extended vocal technique and a lively composition.


Collaborating vocalists

The premiere presentation consisted of the voices of three women, Carolyn Connors, Deborah Cheetham and Tanya Tagaq.  With each subsequent presentation of the work we will add additional recordings with local female artists. It is our hope to continue collaborating with female artists who have used their artistic practice to highlight the issues of those who are silenced or ignored.


Technical

Emanating from at least six rooftop across a distinct urban environment, each location consist of approximately 60-80 individual speaker horns.

A final mobile sound source is provided by a Tsunami warning PA system affixed to the underside of a helicopter and deployed simultaneously with the transmission of the work. Flying from one end of the installation to the other, the helicopter intensifies the sonic experience and brings focus to the disembodied nature of the voices, mingling with the sound that reverberates from the static positions as they echo and reflect across the city. 

 

Intention

The intention of this work is to imbue the voices of female artists, both iconic and emerging, with a sense of omnipotence and godliness. Providing them with a scale to speak that is commensurate with the importance of their messages. Siren Song uses the tools of the establishment to invert ideas of sound as an expression of patriarchal power, as an alarm or alert and show how these tools used to control & communicate might give voice to beauty & abstraction. 

The intangible nature of this sound work is deliberately free from an attachment to a physical structure. With the speakers hidden from view on rooftops, the sound work is free from any visual representation or performance that can be ticketed, documented or owned; it can only be experienced through being physically present, captured in memory and shared through storytelling.

The format of this work also seeks to investigate ways of cultivating the art of listening in a cultural landscape full of noise. It provides a unique platform for the presentation of contemporary music and fosters cross-cultural collaboration across International borders. 

 

presentations

Siren Song premiered at Dark Mofo, MONA's annual winter festival that takes place in Hobart, Tasmania in June 2017. 

Siren Song will feature as the opening event, across the first 10 days of Perth Festival, in February 2017.

 
 
 
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