Vinyl, 2 channel audio, up to 14 speakers, digital player, cabling, control gear, size variable approx 7m x 40m, 2011
Commissioned by Australian Centre for Contemporary Art for City of Melbourne
We The Masters turns public space into a performance space. Visitors are immersed in a soundscape built up from hundreds of personalised, intimate vocalisations of people talking to their animals. The work calls out to passersby: beckoning, coaxing, controlling.
The inter-species communication is inventive, and at times hilarious, in these recordings made in local parks, veterinary practices, training schools, farms, and zoos. Leber and Chesworth have built up the work from the raw material of everyday life, capturing the personalised speech patterns and rhythms formed through repetition and habit, and placing them back into a busy urban environment. With the sounds of the animals edited out, the voices appear to call out directly to the passersby.
Fragments of vinyl bunting are suspended across the trees like a text-based scrabble of possible words and part-words, highlighting the inventive voice-play we can hear in the soundscape. The work is partly about inter-species communication and partly about the relationship of citizens to their city spaces. The work forms part of an ongoing project exploring the human voice, psychological aspects of space, and the relationship between crowds and power.
'Things That Go Bump In The Night' organised by Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in City Square, Melbourne (2011) and Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture at Federation Square, Melbourne (finalist, 2011).