Sounds intriguing: Audacious – Festival of Sonic Arts

Throughout the first weekend of March, central Christchurch will resonate with an exciting programme of sonic art installations, workshops, sound walks and performances at Audacious, Canterbury’s first ever Festival of Sonic Art.

As both a festival artist and organiser I am very excited about this event and the fantastic range of artworks, activities and experiences Audacious will bring to the city. My own work, Sunburners will be installed on the bank of the Avon River on Oxford Terrace between Hereford and Cashel Streets. It utilizes simple solarbots to tap out minimal but constantly shifting rhythmic patterns as the solarbots speed up and slow down relative to the amount of sunlight shining on them.

This gives the work both an uncanny life of its own and some fun interactive potential as the audience can slow down the solarbots individually by casting shadows on them. The sonic characteristics of the work are very different depending on the levels of sunlight so that in dim weather it is quite subdued and delicate while in full, bright sunshine it becomes rather loud and very fast and furious. I’m crossing my fingers for mostly good weather with a bit of variety in cloud cover for best results.

Sunburners Study by Adam Willetts
Sunburners Study by Adam Willetts

Information from Audacious:

Highlights include A Folded Path the pedestrian symphony created specifically for the streets of Christchurch by UK artists, Circumstance; a water sound sculpture created by Chris Reddington and Tom Phillpotts (Christchurch); solar powered sonic sculptures on the banks of the River Avon by Adam Willetts (Christchurch); sonic glass rods made by Alastair Galbraith (Dunedin) that can be played by passersby and the lost sounds of the city returned, such as the Cathedral Bells, by Stanier Black-Five (Christchurch).

There’s also a chance to get hand/ears-on at the series of sonic workshops over the weekend: from building and playing Taonga Puoro/Traditional Maori instruments, with local experts Tony Smith (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tahu – Kāti Irakehu) and Geoff Low (Christchurch) to building your own synthesizer with Nicolas Woollaston (Christchurch). There are also a number of sessions specifically designed for children, such as those led by sound artist and science educator, Dr Claire Pannell (Australia) who will be exploring how we hear and helping children build sound making instruments to take home, and sound based story sessions with experimental guitarist and former Christchurch City Libraries Storytimes star, Greg Malcolm (Christchurch).

For full festival details and booking information visit