Recollections | NH ARCHITECTURE

In the late 1970’s Dr. James Gleeson AO interviewed 98 Australian artists to discuss their work that had been acquired by the National Gallery of Australia. These interviews provide an invaluable snapshot of significant Australian cultural heritage and have since been inscribed into the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register. The fragility of this media has led to the interviews being migrated to digital files. Instead of being found on an institutional archive, the thoughts of these artists have been made available to the wider public via online digital sound sharing platform, SoundCloud.

Our tapestry takes a selection of these conversations from artists past and present and translates them into the peaks and troughs of sound-wave bars, made visible through the intricate stitches of tapestry. Metallic thread is woven across the peaks of the soundwave graphic providing a reference to sound conducting wires in speaker cables and will glisten against the light-absorbing wool background.

The traditional qualities of tapestry to absorb and adjust the acoustics of space are celebrated and the use of concave acoustic panels in architecture has been referenced. Viewers step in front of the concave tapestry, which aims to alter the perception of sound from the gallery, forming an intimate space. The looped, layered interviews are played via small speakers to the listener; at times audible insights and discussions are detected and at other times a white noise soundscape is formed.

Tapestry has been used throughout history to preserve and visualise historical events, legends and stories, traditionally passed down aurally. Our proposal continues this custom by creating a visual field of voices, memories and aspirations of what artists had and continue to have for Australia. Tapestry provides the perfect medium to pass these onto a new audience.

It reminds us that all human thought lives on only in the minds of others after us.