Stage One (Concept Development)
Regional Futures is a state-wide program of creative development and conversations that places artists at the centre of a dialogue exploring a future vision for the place where they live and create. Artists from across regional NSW have been commissioned to create work that responds to the prompt ‘What does the future look like for your region?’.
Kim V. Goldsmith (Dubbo) is one of four artists in a cross-region collaboration between Orana Arts and Arts Mid North Coast and project partners, including Dubbo Regional Council, who have commissioned Goldsmith for the project. The other artists are Allison Reynolds (Coonabarabran, Orana Arts), Kit Kelen (Bulahdelah, Arts Mid North Coast) and Ronnie Grammatica (Crescent Head, Arts Mid North Coast). The group are taking the Regional Futures prompt one step further by asking what does the future look like for the regions in a post-carbon world.
Goldsmith’s project, Vaticinor (The Augur) seeks to (re)imagine what a post-carbon regional landscape might sound like from the perspective of more-than-human species, and how the hopes and fears of regional communities might be shaping a future where human needs continue to dominate. The project picks up threads of ideas from American composer and music theorist, John Cage (1912-1992) and the many questions he posed about what is silence, what is noise, the context of sound, and the importance of asking questions. While considering these questions, Goldsmith gathered recordings from sites of renewable energy generation and end use (both rural and urban) and natural environments across the Central West and Mid North Coast regions. Utilising processes developed on ecoPULSE.art projects, she also undertook extensive reading, consulting experts in the field, gathered audio stories, and documented the project through her blog posts and sample soundtracks, as it developed.
As part of the commission with Dubbo Regional Council, Goldsmith piloted a 10-day residency at Wellington Caves over several long weekends in May and June 2022. She also spent 4 days on the Mid North Coast and attended the National Renewables in Agriculture Conference in Albury on 18 August.
In preparation for a group exhibition at the Manning Regional Art Gallery in 2023, with Reynolds, Grammatica and Kelen, further field recording excursions are in planning, to gather more stories and sounds from across the Central West and Mid North Coast.
End of Stage 1 Sample Work in Progress
To date, Goldsmith has produced a short soundtrack made up over multiple field recordings, and several 9-line texts, as well as a collection of audio stories for use in different presentation formats. This video presents the soundscape with a waveform—a hint at further development underway to make it more immersive. Also included is one of the several texts she has written over the past few months. The soundtrack is best listened to with earbuds or headphones.
Humi (pronounced oo-me, Latin for ‘in/on/to the ground’) is the first multi-track soundscape developed during the concept development stage (Stage 1) of the Regional Futures project. There’s much more to do yet, including making the soundscapes more accessible and immersive. This sample composition and 9-line text (one of several) is based on conversations, gathered stories, and field recordings about the impact our large-scale, manmade renewable structures and even smaller scale, off-the-grid lifestyle choices have on the acoustic ecology of regional landscapes. My writings are direct responses to the places I undertook my residencies and the issues I explored—provocations questioning our legacy as a species on Earth, at a time when we’re making critical decisions about the future.
– Kim V. Goldsmith
Production notes: The Humi soundtrack currently includes field recordings of a solar inverter (domestic solar power), wind turbine blades (wind power) and rumblings deep inside Burrendong Dam wall near Wellington (hydro power), mixed with subsurface sounds of earthworms in rich soil, crackling grasses, metallic tinkling floodwaters of the Wambuul/Macquarie River, and small vibrations below a wind turbine, along with atmospheric sounds of soaring birdsong in the Goolawah Forest (Mid North Coast), Gould’s Wattled Bat calls (one of the bat species at Wellington Caves), and rattling wind through the fencing wire that carves up regional Australia into productive parcels of land, additional studio made sound effects also used. The field recordings were made with an eco-acoustic logger, contact mics, a geophone, hydrophones, and a range of condenser microphones.
Exploring regional creative collaboration, 5 June 2022
Whatever we do has impact, 20 June 2022
What the past tells us about our future, 28 June 2022
The outsider’s lens, 24 July 2022
Compromise and trade-offs, 28 August 2022
Swimming in a clean ocean, 5 October 2022