Tambourine Bay

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Tambourine Bay is a multimodal work for large scale, interactive video projection and live electroacoustic performance. It can be seen and heard as a window into the local weather patterns experienced in the Tambourine Bay Reserve, situated on the Lane Cove river, Sydney and represents a transition or dramatic shift in the climate over a 16 day period. Additional audio and text combine with this to reflect on more severe weather patterns across the east and west coast of Australia leading up to the Australia day long weekend.

The work combines acoustic, electronic and handmade instruments in the performance of original music in the styles of Industrial/Upbeat/Electronica & Ambient/Soundtrack. It is experimental and partly improvisational, combining processed samples & location sound recording with live electronica, percussion and large scale interactive video projection.

The performance is in three parts and is visually represented through processed urban video footage, altered in its duration, hue and perspective and situating the viewer inside an apartment room looking out over Tambourine Bay.

Parts 1 & 2 of the video/performance are visually saturated in a red and orange hue intended to illustrate and highlight the unusual weather patterns experienced in this inner city suburb, the ongoing shifts in local weather patterns and what this might indicate in terms of broader climate change.

Throughout the video/performance the audience witnesses the systematic pounding of the Tambourine Bay Reserve, situated on the Lane Cove river as it is severely struck by thunder and lightning. It then transitions from late evening into an overcast midday with a forecast of further showers, storms and bush fires. The final scene is late afternoon interspersed with sunshine and heavy cloud cover and again with further predictions of wild and dangerous weather (see Figures 1, 2 & 3).

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Figure 1. Video still – Tambourine Bay

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Figure 2. Video still – Tambourine Bay

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Figure 3. Video still – Tambourine Bay

Spiralling text created in the application Processing and adapted from the typography sketch “kinetic_type” by Zach Lieberman (Lieberman 2014) fuels the narrative of the video and performance. Using the daily weather broadcasts transcribed from ABC news radio throughout January 2012 the narrative builds and repeats itself in an upward movement passing in front of the window frames from which the video was shot. This constantly moving cyclone of text is both readable and sometimes not, providing snippets of news, which can be distinguished at random throughout.

A second layer of text also created in Processing is projected onto a screen placed within the audience. This secondary text is manipulated by the performers on stage in real time using long range, infrared sensors to alter the speed and direction of the spiralling text. The secondary text is constantly changing and is sourced from real time news feeds broadcast online as weather news in the vicinity and at the time of the performance. 

The two layers of text provide contrasting data between the shifting weather patterns over a period of time ranging anywhere from the 10th of January 2012 to the current day’s performance date and data.

SOUND DESIGN

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Figure 4. Percussive/String Instrument

Tambourine Bay is scored for 51 percussionists and 100 tambourines. Additional instrumentation includes a percussive/string instrument with audio sensor interface using a Raspberry Pi Model B+, six fast vibration sensor switches, wire / aluminium frame, clear acrylic housing & miscellaneous electronic components; electronic & acoustic drums; cymbals & tambourines.

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Figure 5. Detail – String Instrument w/electronic components

The sound design is layered and includes multi tracked, processed location sound recording, recorded oral snapshots, live percussion and electroacoustic performance. The location recording (thunder, lightning and birds) / intense bursts of synth pipes / manipulation of frequencies using EQ and sound relationships created by dynamic mixing are the main production components.

The performance soundtrack will include oral snapshots yet to be recorded by aboriginal clan elders, some of the oldest inhabitants of this Sydney region, from the ‘Guringai’ Aboriginal language/tribe. As discussed in the Aboriginal Language Group and Clan Names – Aboriginal Heritage Office in their publication, Filling a Void: A Review of the Historical Context for the use of the Word ‘Guringai’, they are from the ‘Guringai’ and not ‘Kuringgai’ Aboriginal connection or identity (Aboriginal Heritage Office 2015). The aboriginal elders will speak of their environment and reflect on this in the historical context of their clan.

CREDITS

Original concept, video production, score & soundtrack by Damian Castaldi.
Acknowledgement for the sketch “kinetic_type” by Zach Lieberman and code adaptation by Solange Kershaw.
Drum & cymbal recording engineered by Ganesh Singaram.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The original video component and soundtrack of Tambourine Bay was first programmed for exhibition at the Balance-Unbalance International Conference 2013 in Noosa, Queensland, Australia from the 31st of March to the 2nd of June 2013. The work was exhibited in the ‘Earth to Earth’ sound venue throughout the Conference proceedings. The artist would like to thank Dr Ricardo Dal Farra (Chair & Conference Convenor) and Dr Leah Barclay (Conference Co-Convenor).

REFERENCES

Aboriginal Heritage Office. 2015. Filling a Void: A Review of the Historical Context for the use of the Word ‘Guringai’ Aboriginal Heritage Office.

Lieberman, Z. 2014. Processing sketch, kinetic_type, viewed Oct 2014, http://thesystemis.com/