Current CD

01.11—31.12.2013

Sounds

Artists

01. Flow (2013) 31’11

Philip Samartzis

The Australian Alps produces 80% of Australia’s fresh water supply yet only comprises one percent of its landmass. While the bulk of it is designated as a national park, the Australian Alps are also the site of quite complex industrial and commercial enterprises including alpine resorts and hydroelectric power schemes. Hydroelectricity is posited as a sustainable source of renewable energy. Through massive earthworks and complex technical infrastructure, pressurized water is mobilized to generate the electricity required to power the everyday spaces that we inhabit. Flow focuses on the range of infrastructure used to exploit the gravitational force of falling or flowing water including turbines, pumps, substations, dams and aqueducts, and the manner in which they inhabit the natural environment.

First developed in the 1930s, the Kiewa hydroelectric scheme is the first of its kind, and the second largest overall in mainland Australia. Since its inception it has evolved to comprise four power stations and attendant infrastructure including dams, rail sidings, substations and networks of tunnels and aqueducts for the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity. The scheme begins at an altitude of 1800 meters at Rocky Valley and Pretty Valley reservoirs where snowmelt is periodically released into an interlinked series of power stations and dams distributed along the Kiewa Valley starting with McKay Creek and followed by Bogong and Clover, concluding with the West Kiewa power station at the foot of the mountains. The composition traces the containment and circulation of water through the series of linked power stations, before its eventual release into the Kiewa River, a major tributary of the Murray River.

Flow was originally commissioned by Frequency OZ as part of the Transmuted Signal series aired on Kunstradio ORF Austria.

Assistant Sound Recordist: Madelynne Cornish


02. Extraction (2008) 22’26

Philip Samartzis and Michael Vorfeld

Extraction is a collaborative composition with Berlin light artist and musician Michael Vorfeld focusing on the industrial processes required to generate the energy to power a light bulb. The composition encompasses a breadth of field recordings from the brown coal mines and power stations of the Latrobe Valley in the South East Gippsland region of Victoria. The recordings chart carbon fuel production by focusing on the coal dredgers working the open-cut mines and the infrastructure that transports and processes the coal, which drive the turbines that generate power. The composition commences with the powerful sounds of a Krupp dredger gouging coal from the Loy Yang open-cut coal mine. It then charts the movement of coal by transport conveyors to the raw coal bunker and then onto the pulverizing fuel mills that supply the boiler furnace. Other sounds include a turbo generation plant incorporating four steam turbine generator units, boilers, cooling water systems and towers, electrical substations, transformers and high tension power lines. The field recordings are supplemented by improvised performances by Michael using various light bulbs and actuating electric devices (relays, switches, dimmers, flashers and others). The changes in the light intensity, and the rhythms of the flickering and pulsing lights are directly transformed into a microcosmic world of aural activity to extend the composition from purely broadband industrial noise to performed gestures of smaller, more focused sound events.