Bogong High Plains Sound Map

Philip Samartzis, BHP Road, 2021

The Bogong High Plains Sound Map is a generative website comprising sound recordings of the eco-acoustic characteristics of the Victorian alps to express the effects of climate change, industrialisation and recreational tourism upon this rarefied cold climate ecology. The website uses real time data including temperature, wind speed and precipitation to activate and contour the recordings to reflect the prevailing conditions and to encourage new and dynamic interactions.

Sound maps provide a way of expressing the acoustic markers of place distinct from textual and visual methods used in traditional cartography. For this project sound recordings are used to expand the way the region is represented by incorporating seasonal characteristics to enhance audience experience and interaction. The website will feature recordings produced over one year to demonstrate ways the alpine environment is transformed by climate and weather, as well as by activities such as power generation, land management, tourism and sport. Through the convergence of natural, anthropogenic and atmospheric events the sound map will articulate the operations and conditions underpinning this unique cold climate ecology.

The recent wildfires in Victoria and NSW provide powerful evidence of how endangered alpine habitats are. This project is responsive to the volatility generated by global warming by preserving and advocating for a place central to the health and wellbeing of all Australians.

The Bogong High Plains Sound Map is funded by the Australia Council for the Arts.


Image–Philip Samartzis