Updated: Nov 22, 2019
Slowly floating back down to earth here in a dreary, chilly Sheffield.
Can't quite believe what went down the other week when we dropped #Aquakulture Live on an audience who had no idea what I was going to hit them with. Having spent the last two years working alongside some of the world's finest scientists, marine ecologists, industrial partners and microbiologists; it was finally time to reveal my interpretation of that information through a multimedia performance encompassing powerful visuals, information and considerations, a synth, and a gorgeous Kawai baby grand piano.
The slow walk from the dressing room to the auditorium felt like forever! I had no idea that whilst I was preparing backstage, they were actually turning people away from a room which was now full beyond capacity. Honestly, being an unknown artist from the other side of the planet, I wan't expecting to walk into a room like that.
Twisting and turning my way through the sonic landscape that I'd created for myself was like piloting a spaceship through a lunar canyon with the brakes cut. Aquakulture features produced electronic beats, orchestral sections, spoken word and pulsating synths which create an evolving landscape for the live piano and synth to ebb and flow with as inspiration hits. As such, no two shows are ever the same and this maiden voyage certainly revealed the true nature of this project to me - exposing space for reflection and moments for chaos (and karma).
What an honour to receive such a warm welcome to Hobart, the scientific and artistic communities through attendance and applause. I have never been more proud to stand before an audience after a show and it was in that moment that I knew that I have finally worked out who I am as an artist and what coordinates I want to dial into the spaceship for future projects. I left for a swift outfit change whilst folk refilled their glasses.
Following the performance, we held a Q&A session. "Moved" is not the word when returning to a room to such rapturous applause. It was such a treat to answer many questions regarding my process in terms of a composer trying to a) understand the complexity of a scientific problem, b) communicate and collaborate in a true fashion with scientific stakeholders and c) translate these ideas through compositional devices such as electro-acoustic methods, synthesis, improvisation and visual components. Hearing my co-collaborators, Duncan Cameron and Julia Blanchard, unpack the scientific elements and reflect on their experience of witnessing Aquakulture for the first time; I felt in a truly privileged position to be able to have that kind of feedback first-hand, and moments after the performance.
I'd like to give special thanks to my best friend, mentor and co-collaborator Duncan Cameron for his unwavering kindness, knowledge, and fashion sense... My current journey would not have happened without him - I love you buddy, long may we continue to make crazy art in the name of science communication!
Equally, to Julia Blanchard for supporting me and welcoming me to Hobart - this is just the beginning...
Kira - there are no words! Thank you. xx
To all of my new friends in Hobart - Chris and Di Carter, Catriona MacLeod, Gretta Pecl, and everyone else I was lucky to meet, I thank you and cannot wait to see you all again in January.
Sam Irwin - that's the guy making me look slightly better than I really am through videography. What a treat to have you beside me documenting this process and helping me make sense of it all. Thanks mate and I hope I get to see you before Perth beckons...
Alex Hullah - thanks for the awesome images (featured on this blog and no doubt everywhere else I brag about Aquakulture!)
Lastly, thank-you to University of Sheffield, University of Tasmania and The Royal Society for making all of this happen. It is indeed an honour to work at this level and I'm proud to represent these institutions.
So, we made a mini-documentary of our time in Tasmania. Here's a teaser...
Video by Sam Irwin - www.samirwin.com