Category Archives: audio

The Pet Sounds Project

I wrote the following post during 2012, on my class blog for MEDIA ARTS 301. I’m transposing it here as it may have broader appeal… It details a collaborative project, involving pigeons, which I am keen to get off the ground, working with media arts students. So far I’ve not found the right class or assignment to slot it into. It could even be carried out with a small group of students who have already graduated, as a pathway project to working collaboratively outside the university context.

dubstep pigeons

Ok, so I want to begin by saying, I have no idea what the term “Dubstep Pigeons” could even mean.

A quick google shows that it’s the name of a live music act in northern England. I imagine that band is probably really good (and I love their logo), but apart from the “music” part, they don’t really have anything to do with this project.

It was Stacey [media arts student 2012] who came up with this term “Dubstep Pigeons” to describe the collaborative “pigeon project” which I’ve been thinking about for over a year now, and which I’ve been muttering about to anyone who will listen, and which I’ve been looking for an opportunity to carry out. But as I say, its relationship to the respected Dubstep flavour of dance music may only be coincidental…

In the blog entry which follows, I’ll outline my vision for the project. Maybe some of you want to get involved as part of your Major Project for semester 1.
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Mental Sculpture by Dennis Tan

dennis tan dreaming
[Dennis Tan dreaming – photo taken by Lisa Kelly during her Singaporean trip of 2007. Not from Mental Sculpture exhibition as described below, but it looks pretty similar! Actually this is from the work Mind of a City by Judy Cheung – read about it here.]

Back in 2000, while I was waiting for the Olympics to finish before returning to Australia, I stayed, for a long three weeks, at the home of Singaporean artist Dennis Tan. During that period, Dennis was working towards an installation and CD called Mental Sculpture at the Substation Gallery, and I was lucky enough to be around while he was mixing the sound work. We became great friends, and I was such a fan of Mental Sculpture that I wrote a fairly wacky catalogue essay about it. I had forgotten all about that piece of writing until I stumbled across it the other day over at ArtSingapore . I reproduce it below.

(By the way, rummaging around I found three tracks from the CD, which I’ve posted online for your listening erudition: track 1 , track 2 , track 3. They’re all MP3 at about 1MB in size.)
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Inventory at the Whitechapel Gallery

…had a stack of radios of all shapes and sizes piled up like a Cash Converters display window. We sat in chairs surrounding the radios, and the artists, after a minor attempt at tuning some of them in, retreated and we were left alone with the technology. A broadcast ensued, generally in the form of guitar music overlaid with a text read aloud, about architecture, life in the city, civil disobedience. Some of the texts were clearer than others, both in diction and content, but the work was just not engaging enough to captivate an audience, and after less than half and hour people began to wander off, and chat amongst themselves. I didn’t find the work interesting enough to warrant staying around for discussion afterwards, and went off to the pub with friends. (Nov 21, 2003)