The Art of Sound, Margaret River

Behind the scenes
 Brendan Smith

The new regional sound exhibition The Art of Sound will be launched on Sunday 9 June 2013. The following is a chronicle of the days leading up to the opening, by Project Coordinator Brendan Smith.

Wednesday 5 June
Kevin Draper’s Sequence (2007), mild steel and paint.

The skies were grey and cloudy this morning in Margaret River, with the threat of rain all day. This didn’t deter our sound consultant James Hurley and the intrepid electrician Michael from installing most of the outdoor sounds associated with the sculptures outside Vasse Felix … especially fascinating was watching the ducks repeatedly setting off the sound of Hunters and Collectors’ ‘Talking to a Stranger’ which has been paired with Kevin Draper’s sculpture Sequence (right). The ducks gathered in the afternoon, enjoying the bass and drums as they echoed across the lawns.

All the artworks from the previous exhibition were packed and shipped off, and the Art of Sound artworks arrived and were unpacked. It was fantastic to finally see some of the paintings full size in all their glory, especially Rachel Coad’s Frontier I (2012). Having only seen many of them as thumbnails on screen, it’s amazing how much there is to discover in each work. The ‘dome’ speakers were all unpacked ready for hanging and installation tomorrow.

There is still much to do, and the installation team was very happy to down tools and enjoy some of the region’s much lauded wine produce … big day tomorrow!

Vasse Felix winery, location of the Holmes à Court Gallery.

Tuesday 4 June
Dome speakers unpacked and ready to install.

A gorgeous (and slightly cloudy) sunrise greeted us in Cowaramup, the day that installation began at the Holmes à Court Gallery at Vasse Felix (left). Vasse Felix was the first winery established in the Margaret River region in the 1960s. The dome and rock speakers and other sound equipment to deliver sound into the exhibition had travelled from Grafton, NSW to Cowaramup in WA some time ago, waiting in boxes to be unpacked. Added to the mix for this exhibition are the solar panels and batteries to power the outdoor sounds and speakers for the outdoor sculpture garden at Vasse Felix, that are too far from the winery and gallery power sources.

Sharon Tassicker (Collection and Exhibitions Manager, Holmes à Court Collection) and Peter were already hard at work de-installing the previous exhibition and carefully packing the artworks for transport back to the exhibition storage. The artworks for the Art of Sound arrive tomorrow (Wed) to be installed along with the sound equipment to provide the music and recordings. James and I unpacked the solar units and other equipment and started working with Michael, the local electrician helping to power up the exhibition. All seven solar panels and batteries were put outside in the grounds to charge them up … if only there was some sun! Luckily, the sun emerged from behind clouds later in the day.

The first sculpture to be ‘sounded up’ was the Kevin Draper piece Sequence, down by the creek. Before too long, the dulcet sounds of Hunters and Collectors’ ‘Talking to a Stranger’ were wafting up the Vasse Felix lawns, surprising visitors as they arrived at the winery for tastings. Tomorrow, all remaining outdoor sounds will be installed (weather permitting) and the artworks for the indoor exhibition will arrive and internal installation will begin.

Monday 3 June

After an early start and a long flight to Perth, James Hurley and I headed straight to Edith Cowan University to deliver two presentations to undergraduates and postgraduate students on the development and shaping of Art of Sound with Lyndall Adams (academic, artist and guest curator on this project). Then we headed straight down the highway to south Cowaramup and Margaret River (a four-hour trip) to be ready to begin the exhibition installation on Tuesday.