‘Swarm’ is the latest development of a series of interactive ‘Theremin’ based sound sculptures (see ‘Ariel’, ‘Caliban’s Children’ and ‘Quint de Loup’). ‘Swarm’ is concieved to operate out-doors and is the first of the series to be solar powered ~ the work is installed in the Werribbe Mansion Park as part of the Herlen Lermpriere Sculpture Award.
Swarm 2005 stainless steel, acrylic, audio electronics, steel rigging cable
Footprint = 8,000 cm x 8,000 cm x 3,500 cm X10 units each 120 cm x 60 cm (diameter)
Be nor afeared; the isle is full of noises, Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not. Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments Will hum about mine ears; and sometimes voices That, if I then had waked after long sleep, Will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming, The clouds methought would open and show riches Ready to drop upon me, that, when I waked, I cried to dream again.
Caliban, in The Tempest, Shakespeare.
“Swarm” consists of a series of laser cut acrylic sculptures that have a strong morphological relationship to microscopic marine forms, sharing symmetry with the structure of primitive Radiolaria, countless millions of which form the geological strata of this, the oldest continent.
Each object supports a solar powered digital Theremin circuit, amplifier and speaker, and each structure acts as a physical former, supporting the antenna windings that are sensitive to bodily proximity. On approach the objects interact by responding acoustically, moreover the entire installation operates as a ‘swarm’, the phenomenon of electromagnetic coupling producing clouds of audio ‘turbulence’ as visitors pass through the installation.
Philosophically, the work is a compact of many influences and references. I am drawn to an image of the Australian environment in which the terrain is crisscrossed by a network of voices, be these the ‘song-lines’ of the traditional owners, the frenzy of insect and bird communication or the lacework of technological communication links upon which we are so dependant. “Swarm” attempts a sonic-mapping of voices lost in the æther, of song long settled in the dust and inscribed into geological strata.