Sonic Outcrops was a pilot program presented by Punctum Inc. exploring site, sound and country of Dja Dja Wurrung land. Works were created with three distinct sites by artists Aviva Endean, Lizzy Welsh and Uncle Rick Nelson with Justin Marshall and Declan Furber Gillick.
If an Outcrop is a rock formation that emerges from the ground then Sonic Outcrops are sound formations emerging from sites.
Like ancient geology, Sonic Outcrops reveals clusters and flows of sonic stories from a series of sites that inform place.
Through listening, it is possible get a sense of the layers and dynamics from which a site and region reveals itself in unexpected ways and different perspectives. We get to feel the different layers of place. Tones, harmonies, and dissonances vibrate while these processes take place, and these can be registered through listening to sites and all they evoke.
In its textures, Sonic Outcrops inevitably invites us to experience our regional locations as spaces in which to question history and landscape, our sense of living in a specific place, or the relationship that we have with it.
Site 1: After being walled-in for months, we emerge and gather on an old mountain; a small group, hanging between earth and sky, looking east from Leanganook.
As the early morning heat hums and crackles, a thin plume of eucalypt smoke spirals and quivers against the shimmering horizon. Uncle Rick Nelson extends a welcome to his coun try. Then, slowly, a steady thrumming rises from below: an ancient song, an eternal tone. A story is ready to be retold. Uncle Rick gives the story voice and the sun rises on Dja Dja
Site 2: Lizzy Welsh Planted by the Lands Department with a view to commercially producing acorns for the tan ning industry, the Oak Forest failed to satisfy the capitalist aims of its creators, but has come to be appreciated simply for what it is: a beautiful copse of trees. For a young musician growing up in Harcourt, the Oak Forest was a place for idyllic picnics and childhood birthday parties, frolicking amongst the undergrowth. As phloem and xylem within the oaks ran with nutrients, the peaceful cool under the canopy fed our imaginations with seemingly endless days of delight.
This performance explores themes of transplantation and belonging. As the Oak Forest itself comprises foreign trees that have stood here for over a century creating their own history in this place, this piece is realised by a white musician who grew up in Harcourt, learning to play Western classical music on Dja Dja Wurrung land, on a viola made in Spring Gully out
Site 3: Aviva Endean We gather in a missing place.
Where, earth and stone has been removed and land is forever changed.
Immediately impressive are the sheer rock walls that envelop us on either side. We notice the new acoustic created by what has gone.
While listening to what’s here, we might begin to imagine what sounds are now missing.
For a brief moment in the endless time of this place, I play within the pulse of crickets, and the dense outbursts of the Chough’s falling call. Each sound I offer is a question, and a hopeful attempt to learn how to be with what is already here.