Stainless steel grids, sensors, 8 Loudspeakers, 2 Channels, 2001 (ongoing)
Commissioned by the Australian Capital Territory Government for City Walk, Canberra
A low wall snakes along the edge of a small park at the eastern end of City Walk, and sounds emanate from a rhythmic series of stainless steel grids inserted into the wall and ground.
People walking past trigger the unexpected real–world sounds of people talking to animals, but with the sounds of the animals edited out, the voices seem to be calling out directly to the passersby: beckoning, controlling, coaxing. The addressee has been changed and visitors find themselves implicated in the work.
Leber and Chesworth are interested in the juxtaposition of these personalised, intimate vocalisations in an urban, public space surrounded by commercial and government buildings. In this place – called ‘Civic’ no less – the work is not so much about the nature of the park but about the relationship of ‘citizens’ to their ‘civic spaces’.
NAWIC 2002 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Design
Analogue2digital, conference exhibition at Adelaide University (2002)
The artists give grateful thanks to the many participants recorded at farms, parks, training schools, zoos, veterinary practices and animal shows. Created in association with H2o architects.
‘Using the doggerel and playful name-calling of people talking to their pets . . . The Master's Voice appears to follow listeners as they walk along a wall in Canberra: the setting in the national capital perhaps inviting questions about who is the master and who is on the leash.’
- Matthew Westwood, The Australian, August 04, 2005
‘The work . . . trips up passers-by, induces double-takes, private puzzled glances . . . It addresses us directly...these calls are full of questions, invitations to conversation, spaces for exchange; there's this urge for an interchange . . . The 'sensible' inflections of speech get stretched into wild glisses and warbling melisma . . . these candid, charged interspecies moments emerge from inconspicuous slots in a mallscape; their sonic shapes stand out against the 'public' murmur of social verbosity.’
- Mitchell Whitelaw, RealTime No.46, Sydney, 2001