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Delys and Grounds

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Artist and Sound Designer
Sherre Delys and Joan Grounds

We bring together our skills as sculptor and sound designer to make sound installations for art galleries, and public spaces such as hospitals, and botanical glasshouses. We’ve made many site-specific, interactive sound sculptures for applications in architectural settings, and landscape design.

For us collaboration provides the potential to create unique forms. Working together over eight years we’ve developed a unique area of ‘embodied sound’. Sound is embodied within objects. Embodied sound means synergy. Sound animates objects. Objects give sound scale.

We investigate a range of values potential in the work. For example we’ve been keen to explore the value in placing interactive art in hospital environments (on the cusp of growing interest in health industries internationally). In other projects we’ve used sound installations’ capacity to entertain as they influence circulation patterns.

An essential underlying our work is a commitment to engaging audience.

For example, in our ‘glasshouse’ collaborations (not documented here), recordings of human birdcallers called back and forth to one another from objects, which mimicked plant form. The result was not only fun for adults and children, but also an extension of glasshouse metaphors to include the cross-fertilisations of sonic practice, an introduction to the varied cultures of imitation of nature in Australia, and a highlighting of endangered cultural practices and species. It was well received both popularly and in critical philosophical publications.

Commitment to audience leads us to strive for true interactivity. For that, the work needs to be rich with meaning and open-ended, and we need to engage the audience, to encourage people to ‘enter’ the work.

We’re interested in the kind of interaction which starts from the body, and in active listening. We’ve developed techniques, such as the use of mimicry and identification with nature to entice installation goers to enter a playful ‘call and response’. We have heard tourists calling out ‘cooey’, and even birds singing in response to sounds we’ve included in glasshouses.

This way of inviting participants to engage with a work is a form of interactivity, which playfully encourages them to enter the work, and then to engage with some of the deeper layers within.

We are committed to working within interdisciplinary teams (musicians, audio and electronics engineers, architects, performers).

Technological Approach

Creating Source Material
We have developed design processes which take advantage of aleatoric potentials of hard disc playback engines (through sequencing and random operations). For the most part, we use ‘home studio’ tools in preparation. (Pro-Tools software, running on a Mac G3, augmented by a pro and a portable DAT recorder, cd-burner, Neuman microphones).

Originally, making temporary installations we were able to work creatively around the limitations of the CD/mini-disc technologies we use to deliver installation sound. Over time we have refined our installation delivery systems, incorporating more sophisticated technologies (For example DVD) to give our installations increased functionality and reliability. Using interactives we have created more sophisticated layers of unfolding, based on user choices,. (For example, interactive triggering devices using infrared technology.)
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Collaborative Artist as Independent



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Structure based on ISAAR(CPF) - click here for an explanation of the fields.Prepared by: Iain Mott
Created: 19 September 2002
Modified: 1 October 2002

Published by The University of Melbourne
Comments, questions, corrections and additions: i.mott@unimelb.edu.au
Prepared by: Acknowledgements
Updated: 18 January 2007

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