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The sounds of Docklands

27 Sep 2011

The sounds of Docklands Image

Everyone knows how Docklands looks as art.  But what does it sound like?

Sound designer Gerald Mair (pictured above) has created an artwork which combines the latest communications technology with his “experimental” sound and a Docklands location.

The result is Docklands SoundWalk Melbourne which starts next month and runs until March.

To experience the artwork, you will need a smart phone, a set of head phones and an hour to visit 12 points of interest in Docklands.

The starting point is the Hub community centre in Harbour Esplanade.  Mr Mair says the soundwalk heads south from there but ends up at the Woolshed Pub at Central Pier.

To hear the sounds along the way, a participant must have a QR scanner installed on their smartphone, which they will use to scan a large QR code which will be on the pavement.

The experience is a combination of narrative and “experimental” sounds which Gerald has designed to “evocate a response” in the listener.

Like other artists using other mediums, Mr Mair is equally determined to “cause people to have a reaction”.  “It is emotive and evocative,” he said.

At one of the 12 sound stations, participants are immersed in the dreamtime story about the creation of the local waterways.  

At another, the sound of someone kicking a can along the ground morphs into a musical experience.

Mr Mair’s artwork has been funded by a City of Melbourne grant. Much of the budget was spent researching Docklands, a task that Mr Mair said was harder than anticipated due to limited information.

He said he was attracted to Docklands as an artist is attracted to a blank canvas.  

“It is new, but there is still a tiny trace of the old,” he said.  “There is so much potential in the relationship between sound and location here.”

He said soundwalk participants would come away with a greater appreciation of Docklands – “a sense of where it has been and, out of that, a greater appreciation of what it could be”.

Visit http://www.docksoundwalk.org for further information.

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