Sub Decorative Sequences at Linden New Art Gallery (June 28-August 31)

Friday 28 June saw the opening of three new sound art works at Linden New Art Gallery, in St Kilda, Melbourne, of which mine was one. The other artists are Mona Ruijs and Lucreccia Quintanila.

Following on from a work I prepared for 'What do I See when I Look at Sound' show at PICA in 2014, I decided to exhibit a score with some sound component present. At PICA, it was 'The End of Abe Sada', a new work a created for the Australian Bass Orchestra, a kind of symbolism for the end of the Abe Sada project, which had morphed into something bigger and was more linked to my practice at that time - graphic notation.

This time, the series of works i created, 'Sub Decorative Sequences I-IV', are more site specific. After photographing decorative elements of the Linden Gallery space where i would be showing, I drew over these and used these drawings as the basis of a series of music scores. I sampled colour from the photographs too, primarily from the ornate tiling and woodwork around the fireplaces in the space. I have used this drawing process before - in Kuklinski's Dream, where i copied a signature as a basis for a piece, and Miss Fortune X, which features drawings over a building plan.

I applied a series of music composition processes to the drawings - extension, variation, inversion etc etc to give the drawings musical connections. Then, I added the sub tone - something i do with most of my composition. This is represented by a pink line. The sub tones link the different sequences together - they run 'into' each other as the Sequences are placed around the room. They eventually join to make a multi layer sub part - and the notation for this exits the room, travels into the corridor and back into the second room of the installation. Unlike the main room, where they scores appear on a bright, screen-like white, the second room is black. The pink sub tone notation concludes behind a large bass amplifier and speaker stack, which emanates the sub tone parts as a loop throughout the show. You could also think of the works starting in this room.

I have been using subtones in work for sometime now, starting with a the string duo piece Shadow in 2016. I have always notated them with this opaque pink line notation - and embedded the ones into the actual score, which performers read from a digital version. This is the only part of the score that is not site specific: rather, it is practice specific.

Other than the ongoing subtones, the scores are activated in a series of performances throughout the exhibition period. On opening night, the Monash Animated Notation Ensemble performed all 4 of the sequences, by reading the score on the Decibel ScorePlayer, and the exhibition concludes with a ticketed performance featuring French music concrete artist Lionel Marchetti alongside Decibel New Music Ensemble. Tickets are here.

The installation of this work was undertaken by Karl Ockelford, who hand-cut over 30 meters of vinyl scores, installed them and oversaw the painting of the sub tone notation. He was also a key part of designing how the scores were to be distributed in the space. He also took the photos you can see on this blog entry.