In this live performance, musicians activate Megan Cope's sound installation ‘Untitled (Death Song)’ 2020 using a range of extended musical techniques developed by instrument builder Isha Ram Das and Liquid Architecture curator Joel Stern.
'Untitled (Death Song)' comprises sound sculptures constructed from discarded mining and industrial equipment. The composition takes its first note from the haunting cries of the yellow-eyed Bush Stone-curlew which the musicians draw out of the instruments. An endangered species within New South Wales, the Bush Stone-curlew is known for its distinctive ghost-like “weer-lo” call, and is often mistaken for a crying baby or wailing woman. This work is a meditation on the sound of Country and Gurrell (Curlew), also known as a harbinger of death in Quandamooka culture.
“I am deeply interested in the sound of Country; if the land could sing, how might it sound? 'Untitled (Death Song)' asks the viewer to think about the role of sound in our lives and the effect of vibration in our bodies and land. It is a work that calls for deep listening, in order to align mind and body with the earth.” — Megan Cope
Megan Cope is a Quandamooka artist whose work investigates issues relating to history, place, environment, contested territories, and power. Isha Ram Das is a composer and sound artist concerned with ecologies of environment and culture. He works with experimental sound techniques to produce performances, installations and recordings. Liquid Architecture is Australia’s leading organisation for artists working with sound and listening.
‘Unsettling Scores’ (2020, curated by Debris Facility and Joel Stern) presents collected material and notations for ‘Untitled (Death Song)’. A score and annotated notes for playing the instruments have been published on disclaimer.org.au in partnership with Monash University Museum of Art.
This program is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Megan Cope: Fractures & Frequencies at UNSW Galleries from 16 January – 17 April 2021, and with the support of the Woollahra City Council.
UNSW Galleries has implemented a number of safety and hygiene measures to keep our audiences safe. This program will have limited places to comply with the 2-square-metre rule advised by NSW Government, please register via Eventbrite to ensure your place. For further details on our Covid-Safe plans, please visit our website.