This major exhibition brings together recent works by Quandamooka artist Megan Cope, investigating listening practices and extractive industries in Australia.
‘Untitled (Death Song)’ 2020 comprises sound sculptures constructed from discarded mining and industrial equipment accompanied by a soundtrack made in collaboration with musician and instrument builder Isha Ram Das. It takes its first note from the haunting cries of the yellow-eyed Bush Stone-curlew. An endangered species within New South Wales, the Bush Stone-curlew is known for its distinctive call, a ghost-like “weer-lo” sound. Heard in chorus and crescendo with other Bush Stone-curlews, the eerie call is often mistaken for a crying baby or wailing woman. ‘Untitled (Death Song)’ is a meditation on the sound of Country and Gurrell (Curlew), also known as a harbinger of death in Quandamooka culture. Megan Cope writes: “The threatened status of the bird not only registers significant ecological change and the impact of modern agricultural land management; it is a harbinger, a warning for the future.”
The exhibition also features several related projects, including the sound sculpture ‘Old Kahibah’ 2018, which maps the sound vibrations of Awabakal Country in the Lake Macquarie area which has experienced significant geological alteration from industrial coal extraction. Presented alongside are sculptural works from the ‘Extractions’ 2020-21 series that reimagines industrial materials such as concrete.
Presented in association with Sydney Festival