Featherstone Sound Space

Australia’s first permanent urban surround-sound installation exhibition site (2019-) 

Featherstone Sound Space is Australia’s first permanent, urban surround-sound installation exhibition site, conceived and curated by Jesse Budel.

Located in Featherstone Place at the heart of Adelaide’s CBD, the Featherstone Sound Space draws inspiration from Melbourne-based sound artist Jordan Lacey’s concept of the Sonic Rupture, which are urban sound installations intended to improve the affective qualities of urban acoustic environments. As such, they are intended to positively impact quality of life in city environments, and engage the listener with new sonic possibilities not available in the typical monotony of urban soundscape activity.

Following a 2018 trial installation by Jesse in collaboration with BASEM3NT Creative Studios, Zephyr Quartet and Krix Loudspeakers, the Featherstone Sound Space has received funding from Arts South Australia to install permanent infrastructure and to develop a year long exhibition program.

In 2019, the Space will feature 8 installations, four by sound artists Jesse Budel, Tristan Louth Robins, Jason Sweeney and Sasha Grbich and four new commissions by Christopher Williams, Leah Blankendaal, Keira Simmons and Louis Bullock.


Tristan Louth-Robins - Orbits

Orbits is a work that was composed in 2016 for the Adelaide City Council thoroughfare. The material for the composition is drawn from two repeated chord sequences played on a 1950s reed organ, with its sound routed to a series of electroacoustic processes which apply discrete frequency and amplitude modulations to the sound; in effect, subtly affecting aspects and texture and timbre. Since the two chord sequences are of different lengths, over the duration of the composition, the sequences gently drift out of phase with each other - resulting in phase relations. Hence, the poetic allusion in the title to that of orbiting bodies.

The work presented here is in an abbreviated form to that of the original; and perhaps more crucially, the dynamic quality of the work - that is, the volume that it is to be broadcast into the space - has been taken into special consideration. In its original reception, the work was broadcast into the Adelaide City Council thoroughfare at a volume where all of the compositions details (tone, timbre, texture) could be clearly apprehended by the general public. In its revised form, the volume at which the work is broadcast has been reduced significantly, so as to allow the the work to commingle and establish a state of dynamic equilibrium with other sounds within Featherstone Place, and those occurring on the periphery. In this respect, the scope of Orbits as a composition - in spite of being dynamically diminished - is expanded to accomodate the sonic activity of the immediate and surrounding urban environment. The audience is encouraged to spend time with the work in Featherstone Place to explore these varying states of equilibrium - between the work itself and the urban sonic environment.

Examples of the work can be heard at: http://www.tristanlouthrobins.com/work-orbits.html


Jason Sweeney - Siren Chant, Silent City

Integrating 52 x 30 second field recordings of different quiet spaces in the city of Adelaide and the voice of Caroline Daish, this work forms part of Jason’s ‘Quiet Ecology’ project and is a darker meditation upon the city as a site for reverence, silence, denial, secrets, unsettledness and variable spiritualities.

Examples of the work can be heard on Youtube.

Featherstone Sound Space is made possible through Arts South Australia Project Grant Funding, and support from BASEM3NT Creative Studios and Krix Loudspeakers.