Active since 2000, Liquid Architecture is a Naarm (Melbourne) based organisation supporting experimental, interdisciplinary and critical work addressing sound and listening in context.
Our program stages encounters and creates spaces for sonic experience, and critical reflection on sonority and systems of sonic affect. To do this, we host experiences at the intersection of contemporary art and experimental music, supporting artists to produce performances and concerts, exhibitions, talks, reading groups, workshops and recordings in art spaces, music venues and other sites.
Liquid Architecture is curatorially driven and our methodology embraces research, collaborations and imaginations. We want to echo beyond local conversations, problems, debates and questions, to reverberate across media and disciplines, and so to sound out new discourses about the audible world, and beyond.
We acknowledge the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung as the Traditional Owners and sovereign custodians of the Country on which we practice. We extend our respects to their Elders past and present, and to all First Peoples.
DANNY BUTT (CHAIR) is Senior Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Practice at Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, where he is also Graduate Research Convenor for Design and Social Practice. His book Artistic Research in the Future Academy was published by Intellect/University of Chicago Press in 2017, and he is on the Editorial Board of the Journal for Artistic Research.
MARK NOLEN (TREASURER) is a Certified Practising Accountant with extensive experience in the creative industries sector. He is currently Management Accountant at ACMI, having previously worked in a similar role at Film Victoria. Along the way, he has helped countless singers, actors, and even clowns get their taxes in order – no laughing matter! When not crunching numbers, you can find Mark sitting back with a fine drop of Scotch whisky, soaking up some even finer tunes.
LEANA PAPAELIA (SECRETARY) is a barrister at the Victorian Bar and a soprano. At the Bar, Leana practices in commercial and public law with a focus on banking and financial services regulation, corporations and securities, insolvency, trade practices and human rights. Leana holds an AMusA and a BMus (Hons) majoring in vocal performance. She received a university scholarship to complete her honours and, in her final year of study, was awarded the Horace Keats Memorial Prize for Excellence in Vocal Performance. Leana currently studies under the direction of Loris Synan OAM. Leana is a board member of the Australian Contemporary Opera Company and has held board positions with Lawyers for Animals, an organisation dedicated to improving the welfare of animals through education and law, and Right Now, an independent not-for-profit mediation organisation focusing on human rights issues in Australia.
NARETHA WILLIAMS (DIRECTOR) is an accomplished practitioner in the Australian creative industries sector. An established artist and music producer, she is a seasoned industry professional with extensive experience across a dynamic range of appointments. Naretha has worked with leading Australian companies and First Nations initiatives, flagship festivals and events, has toured internationally and won several awards. Credits include: St Kilda Festival, Bless Your Blak Arts Festival, Australasian World Music Expo, International Symposium on Electronic Art, Yirramboi First Nations Arts Festival, Science Gallery London, Chunky Move, Performance Space New York, The Melba Spiegeltent, Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ, Sydney Myer Music Bowl, Sydney Dance Company, and Melbourne’s Flash Forward.
GAIL PRIEST (DIRECTOR) is a sound artist and writer based on Dharug and Gundungurra land (Katoomba, NSW). Her work spans soundtracks for dance, theatre and video, solo electro-acoustic performance as well sound installations for gallery contexts, both solo and in collaboration. She has performed her live compositions and exhibited sound installations nationally and internationally including in Japan, Hong Kong, Germany, France, Norway and the Netherlands. In 2015-16 she was awarded an Emerging & Experimental Arts Fellowship from the Australia Council. She has undertaken numerous radio commissions and releases music on her own label Metal Bitch Recordings as well as Flaming Pines, Endgame Records and room40. She curates events and exhibitions and writes fictively and factually about sound and media art, working for RealTime magazine for over 15 years. She has been on the board of Performance Space (2011-2014), and a peer assessor for the Australia Council. She has just completed a PhD in creative sound theory at UTS. www.gailpriest.net
ANDY MILLER (DIRECTOR) currently works as the General Manager of Multicultural Arts Victoria. Initially trained as a painter at the Canberra School of Art, Andy Miller worked in theatre for a number of years before working to establish arts programs in the community sector. Following a few years as an arts and cultural officer at two local governments, Andy began a career in the state public service in various senior roles at Arts Victoria and Creative Victoria and was seconded for a period with Creative Partnerships Australia, as Senior Programs Manager. As well as a Bachelor in Fine Arts, he has a Masters in Public Policy and a Graduate Diploma in Arts Management from the University of Melbourne.
REBECA SACCHERO (DIRECTOR)
Rebeca Sacchero is a Producer with extensive experience across multiple Metro Melbourne Inner North Local Government Areas. Rebeca understands the local government context whilst also having relationships and experience in small to medium arts orgs. She has been working in the space of community engaged practice and is passionate about creating arts access for under-represented communities. She has a strong track record of successful projects with youth, the LGBTQIA+ community, CALD communities and seniors. She has worked across visual arts, performing arts and digital media, with a range of government and private stakeholders. These include major festivals, local and state Government, ARI’s, schools, community health orgs, and social enterprises. She completed a degree in Art History and Curatorship at Monash University in 2017 and in 2019 was selected for Leadership Victoria’s LGBTQIA+ Leadership program. She also runs her own community building electronic music events in which she has toured international artists, and is a DJ.
DAVID CHESWORTH (DIRECTOR) is an artist and composer, known for his experimental, and at times minimalist music, who has worked with electronics, contemporary ensembles, film, theatre, and experimental opera. Together with Sonia Leber, David has created installation artworks using sound, video, architecture and public participation. Exhibitions include ‘56th Venice Biennale (2015), ‘19th Biennale of Sydney (2014), and Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2013-14). Festivals featuring Chesworth’s music and sound works include Ars Electronica; Festival D’Automne de Paris; Bang on a Can Marathon, New York, Biennale of Sydney; Adelaide and Melbourne Festivals; and MONA FOMA. Early in his career he was co-founder of post-punk band Essendon Airport and for five years was coordinator of the Clifton Hill Community Music Centre, Melbourne. David is a Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at RMIT University, Melbourne, researching auditory archives.
MONICA LIM (DIRECTOR) is a Melbourne-based pianist and composer of classical contemporary and experimental music. Born in Malaysia and then migrating to Australia in her teens, Monica initially practiced as a Tax Consultant for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, before pursuing her own interests in business and the arts. She has produced work for theatre, contemporary dance, installations, and film, as well as solo and ensemble instrumental pieces. She is interested in new cross-disciplinary genres and forms as well as combinations of new technology with music. Monica is currently undertaking a PhD at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne in interactive technology, AI and gesture-led composition. Monica is co-founder of Project Eleven, a philanthropic initiative which supports the contemporary arts and serves on the boards of the Melbourne Recital Centre, the Substation and Liquid Architecture as well as the Member’s Council for Musica Viva.
Lucreccia Quintanilla and Kristi Monfries (Co-Directors)
Rohan Rebeiro (Creative Producer)
Ronen Jafari (Programs Coordinator)
Laura McLean (Associate Curator - Capture All)
Helen Grogan (Associate Researcher and Archivist)
Debris Facility (Associate Producer)
Liang Luscombe (Editor-at-Large Editor - Disclaimer)
We welcome conversation, ideas and feedback at any time.
TW, FB, IG, YT, MX, SC
104/35 Johnston Street
Collingwood VIC 3066
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Gerard Crewdson: Serpent Songs / Windshadows
For SOUND SERIES 2018, Gerard Crewdson presents site-specific acoustic sound sculptures. The centrepiece of the exhibition is a natural horn, nearly 5 metres long, made from a single hollow tube (like a didgeridoo) and played with a mouthpiece (like a Swiss alphorn). The horn resembles a ‘serpent’ – not only the creature – but also the instrument of that name which was the predecessor of the modern-day tuba.
Low brass instruments have traditionally been associated with raising the voices of the dead in both Western and non-Western cultures. These are the ‘serpent songs’ of the title but also the ‘windshadows’ – a compound word taken from a Paul Celan poem, Weiss Und Leicht / White and Light. This might be read as a wind of shades, of ghosts, blowing over the genocidal landscape of post WWII Europe. BLINDSIDE stands upon stolen, never ceded Wurundjeri land – a genocidal landscape with its own wind of shades, of ghosts, of voices lost or never heard.
Daily Performances by Gerard Crewdson
Fri. 22, and Sat. 23, June
Tue. 26–Sat. 30, June
Thu. 5, and Fri. 6, July
Sat. 7, July with Anthony Riddell
SERPENT SONGS /WIND SHADOWS
From Blindside’s website I have learnt that Melbourne stands upon stolen never ceded Wurundjeri land. This exhibition tries to respond to those words in their full force and meaning. I have read them through the lens of my own relationship with more familiar stolen lands-of the Eora nation in and around Sydney. Each work relates to the ground beneath our feet but begins and ends with silence-the not quite “Cageian” silence that always surrounds us.
The “Galileo Drums” and “Rice Wheel” can be turned to sound with small objects falling to earth either as quantum events or granular cascades. The “Serpent Horn” is difficult to play but is more designed to activate the viewer’s aural imagination so that they might hear lost ghostly voices on the fringe of silence. The “Cinema of Poor” is born from the experience of prolonged and actual poverty upon stolen lands and tells the story of a grave robber with live music. The Galileo Drums and Rice Wheel also link back distantly to a lost world of sound I once knew-the world of sound inhabited by a wheelchair bound blind man living in a government run group home on Sydney’s northern shore.
I was employed to care for Alan and other people with disabilities while completing a degree at Sydney College of the Arts. I continued this work post- graduation. Alan was constantly alert to the tiniest nuance of sound and its different spatial locations. He was always open and curious to experience new sounds but could also hear familiar sounds always in their original freshness. One night Alan was injured while being handled by staff-falling face first to the ground. Because of his intellectual disability he could not say what had happened. The staff reported it as an accident but on subsequent occasions Alan complained to me of being bullied by those same staff. I raised concerns with management about how Alan and the other residents were being mistreated.
The previous year I had been troubled by mysteriously violent dreams-such as a vision of standing at the edge of an abyss and being prodded in the back by a crowd of shadowy faceless strangers.
The dreams were premonitions. Overnight I was barred from my workplace and declared unfit for employment, unless I submitted to a psychiatric examination by a government appointed doctor –a catch 22-for the doctor had been hired to confirm my permanent, incurable unfitness ever to work again.
I refused and was suspended without pay and driven inexorably over the course of a year into destitution and homelessness.
Just before I reached this point, I met Isabel Coe-a lifelong Aboriginal activist and co-founder of the Aboriginal tent embassy. She invited me into a smoking ceremony on the dry earth of a park in Balmain, just off from the main shopping street. She and her people had reoccupied Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour. I later attended court as a supporter as they battled my employer- the Crown in the Right of NSW. I remember the instant rage of a supreme court judge when the Aboriginal flag was unfurled along the back wall of the court.
At the same time I was in a grossly uneven fight with the same shape shifting/ accountability-dodging monster and in the same hostile courts. This battle dragged on for eight years of homelessness and poverty during which time I forged an intimate visceral, unmediated relationship with stolen lands of the Eora. Sometimes I slept on the hard surfaces of the CBD –kept awake by the city’s ceaseless hum and street light glare. Other times I would shift to the grassy surface of the parks where the air was fresher but the risks of being beaten up greater . I would closely clutch to my side my most precious possession-a King trombone in its case. My favourite place was near a lonely stretch of beach south of Port Kembla. The skin of my trombone is pockmarked with the air’s salty spray. Towards the end of my ordeal, I was welcomed into a young community of Sydney musicians exploring collaborative improvisation and composition. Their approach to sound and intense listening reminded me of Alan’s sound world of the blind.
This community and parallel communities in Aotearoa /New Zealand were literal life- savers for me.
They helped me survive my ordeal on the stolen lands. Others have not survived. In the abyss on the ground you learn of so many stories of terrible injustice perpetrated by the state- always against the most vulnerable and defenceless. Their voices are the shadow winds that blow across the land-winds of shades, of ghosts. (“Windshadows” from the Paul Celan poem “Weiss und Leicht” /”White and Light” –evoking the haunted genocidal landscape of post war Europe). The serpent horn with its darkened ashen skin invites their voices into this space so that they might have a hearing.
There are people in this land too frightened to look at the ground beneath them. I saw this in Sydney one hot January day in 2009. I had returned to New Zealand and was briefly back in Australia. It was a mid- week lunch hour . Pedestrians teemed along the footpaths. I was dashing to a post office across from the Queen Victoria building. A young Aboriginal woman was sitting on the ground by a pedestrian crossing, quietly at work on a tiny radiant dot painting. There was a cup for donations next to her but it was empty. The crowd flowed past and around her without stopping or even looking down. They had rendered her invisible I placed some coins in her cup. On my return from the from the post office I sat down on the ground beside her. She was as welcoming as Isabel Coe had been under the trees of Balmain. I felt perfectly at home with her as the indifferent world rushed on by above us.
Gerard Crewdson 13/6/18
We acknowledge the Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung, Taungurong, Dja Dja Wurrung and the Wathaurung people of the Kulin Nation as the custodians of the land in which this event takes place, and we recognise that sovereignty was never ceded. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.