gull lines, at a slope of conduction (for waiorua shoreline, violin and shortwave)

date : 11.5.2012
location : shoreline, waiorua bay
time : 11.20pm
duration : 20:00

notes : walking along the coast of Waiorua bay, at the North end of Kapiti Island, I arrive at the site of a decommissioned coastal warning light tower whose few remnants - a lichen-encrusted concrete foundation and various planks scattered around the stones - are slowly biodegrading, becoming indistinguishable from the rocky beach and plentiful driftwood heaped in drifts metres high, in some places including whole trees, as the seasons of rain and sun take their toll. It seems the text of history is crumbling, its memory of human inhabitation falling away as the rapidly re-foresting island claims all traces, a complex palimpsest underneath its current identity as a place where New Zealand’s remaining birds can replenish their populations without pressure from introduced mammalian predators. Returning to the site over a few weeks, I make location recordings, I take a radio and search the shortwave, finding a paucity of signals registering in the aetheric sea, and just before midnight I play the violin in the freezing winds, folding the sounds of the instrument into the wider instrumentation of the place, its harsh tonalities, shrieking seabirds and the ongoing crash of the waves, the night calls of forest birds. It seems that sometime during this process the violin itself loses its memory, or perhaps regains it, becomes tidal and avian, full of a voice tuning into the site, in and out of signal. I imagine it is the sound of the site speaking to itself, but of course, it is my own unfamiliar voice that rings in my ears, my own listening that I am listening to.


gull lines, at a slope of conduction (for waiorua shoreline, violin and shortwave) was recorded as a contribution to the Time Inventors Kabinet (TIK) festival of ecological media arts (11 - 13 May 2012) in Brussels