The first week of Erin and my joint residency at Bogong has been spent building an extensive mental map of the region, slowly collecting pieces of audio and visual information along the way. Much of the aural environment is overwhelmed by the white noise of rushing water, so it has been important to inspect everything closely if we want to reveal something more subtle. Contact mics and macro lenses have been helpful in lifting this blanket of noise.
The landscape the Bogong High Plains road runs through is steep and wild with many a panoramic view near unmarked by human development. The most prominent human feature is consistently the power lines which cut through the valleys in straight clearings. These uninterrupted lines connect the towns and ski resorts to the water that flows through the valley by means of the Hydroelectric scheme. The Hydro scheme is less of an intrusion on the landscape than initially I would have thought. The massive retaining wall of the Rocky Valley Dam -the first, and largest of the scheme- almost disappears into the landscape when seen from a distance. Following the trail downstream, you could be forgiven for not actually noticing the next two Dams. They almost appear like the introduced Blackberry bushes that crawl through the valley: from a distance their weathered concrete can blend into the surrounding rock and their sheer height is not noticeable until you are alongside or below them, much in the same way a Blackberry is just another part of the bracken until you walk through one and are caught in its barbs.
On Thursday night we hauled what seemed like many tonnes of our equipment along the small path above the dam and down the uneven, stony stairs into the dam wall. We spent hours activating the space, resonating the different inner chambers with a guitar amplifier and microphone and illuminating the face of dam with floodlights.