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Built To Last Sound Installation at PSAS

Built To Last is an exhibition by Jenn Garland at PSAS in Fremantle from 13 April to 11 May.

"‘Built to last’ by Jenn Garland is an investigation of places where industrial activity and the pursuit of progress has reshaped the land. It explores man-made terrains along with the human needs and desires which motivate extraction of commodities from the earth. A mixed-media installation focuses on sculptural features within otherworldly and ruined landscapes. Inspired by archival records, satellite imagery and scientific research, the exhibition makes connections across time to reimagine the histories of these places and offer projections of possible futures. Responding to her scientific background researching sustainability, Garland examines the imprint of humanity on the environment, and ‘nature’ in an era defined by its absence."

I was asked to contribute a sound component that reflected the above vision. After discussions with the artist, we decided to set up a sound installation that incorporated a rolling soundscape composition underlining an interactive element using the amplification of found objects.

The Intent:

Sound will add to the immersion, helping to transcend a normal sense of space and place.

The Preparation:

  • Make 4x cables that have unbalanced TS on one end and a piezo (contact mic) on the other.

  • Record all materials and found objects used in the exhibition. This included chains, oil drums, wrought iron, railway nails, tin, rope and wood.

  • Various takes implying different gestures were made.

  • All the recordings were made by amplifying these found objects and improvising with them. I used a looping technique within Ableton to do this.

  • Equipment: laptop, Ableton, sound card, mixer, speakers (with sub), homemade cables, cable ties.

The Installation:

Visual aesthetics at all times were the chief concern and dominated the logistical decisions of the sound installation. 2 objects were amplified; a piece of wood in stereo and a 2 old oil/petroleum drums. The wood was hit with 2 rusted metal railway nails and the drums/containers were struck with a piece of thick rope dangling from above.


~8 of 42 minutes.


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