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Article categories: ANAT ReportsIssue 70[ES] Embracing Sound
July 31st, 2009

Sound in the public space is still very much a frontier, where the lines are drawn by multiple authorities and exposure to the “public” challenges sound artists with a whole new set of issues and dynamics. The boundaries between art, technology, media and entertainment have been shifting progressively since the 1970’s, along with the type of environment in which we experience these evolving forms.  Moving out of the white cube walls of galleries on to the streets, we are relocating – and we’re taking sound with us.


“Splinter Orchestra”, Anode, 2008. Credit: Anode, 2008.

Two organisations which have been working through these issues for years, Creative Time and NODE London, have both inspired the new series of public arts events under the banner of Anode, which kicked off in Sydney in September 2008, drawing over 12,000 punters and involving 150 artists and performers. Through a partnership with ANAT’s Embracing Sound  (ES) program, opportunities for engaging sound arts practices in public spaces were explored.  The major highlight of the program was The Splinter Orchestra’s performance on a unique public space: the Express Footway, a moving travelator that runs under central Sydney.

For the last 35 years, New York based not-for-profit organisation, Creative Time, have been commissioning and presenting adventurous public art projects in all disciplines.

As their website explains “Artists were experimenting with new forms and media. Their work moved out of galleries and museums and into the public realm. At the same time, New York’s citizens responded to the City’s deterioration, which was prompted by the fiscal crisis, with the City Beautification movement.”  Creative Time’s dedication to developing audiences and enriching public space through fine sounds is exemplified by the recent David Byrne work Playing the Building, a 9000-square-foot interactive, site-specific installation.  “We initiate a dynamic conversation among artists, sites, and audiences, in projects that enliven public spaces with free and powerful expression.”

NODE London, short for Networked Open Distributed Events is another organisation dedicated to spreading media art throughout the city.  A non-hierarchical organisation, NODE London is open to any person or group who is promoting media art around London. Through networking, their interconnections expose audiences to a multitude of options to experience evolving forms of sound art practices that are presented in a huge variety of settings.  It is through these connections and the organisation’s openness that the public becomes the audience.
Anode is modeled on a hybrid of these key influential and successful models. With the aims of developing audiences, raising the profile of engaging artists and intervening in public space, this program presents an opportunity to explore the mobility of sound art.  In 2009 Anode will host a series of events with a program of media based art, sound and public art installations in Melbourne, Sydney, and potentially Brisbane throughout November.  The event offers artists rehearsal space, production support and a full-scale marketing and publicity campaign. If you are interested in being involved as a producer, artist, performer, ARI or gallery head to: for more information.

Tianni Chillemi
Tiani Chillemi has over 10 years experience in radio and television roles, leading to the founding of Decode, an agency specializing in independent media and events. After producing the first Underbelly Public Arts Lab and Festival at CarriageWorks in Sydney 2007, Tiani went on to become a founding board member of not-for-profit arts company Altoparlente Ltd currently in production for Anode Arts Festival in 2009.

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