Experimental composition and performance at Interspecies and Other Others

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image 82715975421660184110330 1660184113680

26 August – 2 October

Experimental composition and performance at Interspecies and Other Others

Interspecies and Other Others is the world premiere of a new after dark exhibition curated by Kelli Alred, that will transform the gardens and architecture of Melbourne’s beloved and heritage-listed Abbotsford Convent.

Interspecies and Other Others features new performances and experimental compositions from some of Australia’s most creative composers, sound artists and musicians, Dylan MartorellDaniel Jenatsch, Geoff Robinson and Yuwaalaraay, Gamilaraay, Yorta Yorta and Yuin composer, James Henry.

Dylan Martorell is an Australian composer and sound artist who uses found materials, robotics and synthesizers to explore concepts of transience, sustainability and community. His work, Sonaflora Drift Yarra (2022) involves a set of musical compositions that Martorell created between 2019-21 when COVID lockdowns limited physical and social activity within a 5km radius of your home residence. During this period, Martorell analysed the structure of two plants from the Convent’s Heritage Garden, mapping their anatomical geometries onto a scaled grid of pitches and durations to create visual scores. These scores were then run through a synthesizer and interwoven with field recordings of the surrounding environment to produce a musical rendition of human-flora interaction.

These plant-based melodies will be presented as an installation in the Convent’s Heritage Garden. A live performance expands the repertoire with gum tree leaf, wattle flower and bat colony scores produced further along Birrarung (Yarra River). The installation will be housed in the Heritage Garden Rotunda at the Convent. The visual scores will be printed on acrylic and displayed in the Rotunda so that listeners are able to reference the visual scores and see how Dylan has layered a mathematical grid over organic matter to produce the compositions. Martorell will perform as part of the closing event on Saturday October 1.


Composer Daniel Jenatsch will be performing live during Atlanta Eke’s performance, The Sacred Heart Real Tennis Court (2022), and this sonic creation will be periodically played back in the installation on 26-27 August. Jenatsch also created the original music and sound composition for the online films about the exhibition, directed by Sarah-Jane Woulahan.

Daniel Jenatsch is an Australian composer and artist who combines atmospheric soundscapes, music and video to create multimedia documentaries, installations, radio pieces and performances that examine how knowledge systems and power influence our social and mental ecologies. He is also a member of the music group Sky Needle and performance art collective New Forms of Life. https://jenatsch.net/

Geoff Robinson is well known in the experimental sound art and visual arts community, and for Interspecies and Other Others he will be presenting a sonic sculptural work, Pretty Valley, Bogong High Plains, June 2013 / Abbotsford Convent power supply, August 2022. This new piece reimagines a previous work involving field recordings undertaken in Victoria’s Alpine National Park. As a development of the original concept, Robinson has transposed the sonic ecology mapped at the Kiewa Hydroelectric Power Scheme, to situate audio and sculptural components near points of electricity outlets at the Abbotsford Convent. The artwork reflects on the context of its creation and display, as well as broader civil and socio-political concerns about the impact of large-scale power generation on the environment.

Geoff Robinson creates process-driven artworks that engage with the temporal qualities of sound and performance, and the spatial conditions of physical sites. Investigating the durational layers of place and the relationships that occur when multiple contexts are juxtaposed, Robinson produces intimate sonic experiences and sculptural forms that invite audiences to navigate space. https://geoffrobinsonprojects.com/

Revered composer and artist James Henry is known for his work with Indigenous communities reviving their languages through song. He has collaborated with artist, Megan Cope on her installation titled Rematriation, curating and featuring in an online film incorporating footage of the Convent, Wurundjeri Country and a Welsh quarry, representative of the decommissioned Convent Welsh slate used in Cope’s work. The film explores concepts of language retention featuring Welsh compositions by 9Bach and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung vocal compositions, performed live by Henry alongside the installation.

Henry with Michelle Mills will perform two songs, by Wurundjeri Elder Aunty Gail Smith and Michelle Mills, Bunjil-al Booeegigat and Ngarga Liwik, in Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung language live on opening night 26 August.   This will be accompanied by a discussion with Michelle Mills who will talk about importance of Woi Wurrung language retention, along with a performance by First Nations dancers, Nhabu Togip (meaning ancient moves).

James Henry is a composer, sound designer and musician who writes and produces powerful blends of traditional Aboriginal and contemporary genres. Henry has composed works for orchestra, choir, theatre, dance and festival opening ceremonies. An accomplished singer songwriter, Henry also crafts songs that are influenced by 60’s pop, rock and folk. https://www.jameshenrymusic.net/

In a first for the Convent, this free exhibition will activate the precinct with a dynamic program of cutting-edge, otherworldly art including projections, sculpture, film, performance, light and soundscapes. Interspecies and Other Others explores the human condition, our history and habitat, and offers audiences a unique night-time exploration of the Convent’s outdoor spaces, nooks and unexplored crannies. The exhibition will include performances, quirky installations, photographic light boxes, projections, ephemeral artworks, and even a royal tennis inspired structure inhabiting the Sacred Heart Courtyard, all in dialogue with the landscape, architecture and facades.

Alongside newly commissioned, site-specific works from some of Australia’s leading contemporary artists including Abdul AbdullahMegan CopeAtlanta Eke and Lyndall Jones, visitors are encouraged to explore and interact with additional existing works, performance and participatory events from artists of the calibre of Tony Albert to internationally recognised Yeo Siew Hua from Singapore. In addition, award-winning filmmaker, Sarah-Jane Woulahan has been commissioned to create a special series of short films that will feature in the Interspecies and Other Others program.

This rich, precinct-wide program of artworks and happenings will combine to make Interspecies and Other Others a special nocturnal journey, with surprising and compelling experiences awaiting within gardens, behind buildings and throughout the Convent grounds.

About the Curator:

Kelli Alred has over two decades of national and international experience as an artistic director, curator, program manager, executive producer, researcher, consultant and dramaturg.  Alred was the Artistic Director of Channels Festival: International Biennial of Video Art 2019; Visual Art Associate for Melbourne International Arts Festival 2019 and 2017; Executive Producer for SITUATE Art in Festivals 2015; Digital Arts Program Manager at Arts Centre Melbourne 2012-13; Intermedia Art Curator at Tate Modern 2004-12; Commissioning Producer for Active Ingredient UK 2002-03; and New Media and Live Art Curator at Site Gallery UK 2000-02. 

Interspecies and Other Others

26 August – 2 October 2022

From Wed to Sun, sunset to 10pm, free

More information at: interspecies.abbotsfordconvent.com.au


Image credits: Geoff Robinson, Pretty Valley, Bogong High Plains, June 2013, installation view

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