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Burt, Warren

Image of Burt, Warren
Related EntriesPublished Resources
Artist, Curator, Consultant, Theorist, Composer, Sound Scupltor and Installation Artist
URL: The home page for this entity is located at http://www.emf.org/subscribers/burt/

Notes on Two Sound Installation Works

As part of the "Recent Ruins" series of installations at Ripponlea Estate, from 21-28 November 1999, I contributed two activities: "Summerlake" an installation for two CD players and four loudspeakers in the Summerhouse, on the Island in the Ornamental Lake, and "Calvinesque Connections" a daily live performance on laptop and reading Chinese poetry, which took place in the Tower - an observation tower in the southwest corner of the estate. Also at this time, I wrote an essay in the gardens "What does it mean to be avant-garde in the 21st century, or, Avant Gardening in November 1999." This last was written for Nicholas Zurbrugg. In it, I adopt the "en plein air" methods of painting to writing, just as in "Summerlake" I adopted "en plein air" methods to composing.

There is a rather complete description of "Summerlake" in the essay. The installation itself used very minimal technology - 2 CD players on shuffle play, and four small self powered loudspeakers. Every day I visited the installation and made sure it was working properly. Even a simple setup like this is prone to frequent breakdowns. This small sound system was mounted in the ornamental Summerhouse in Ripponlea, providing a bit of a sonic haven to match the peaceful environment of the summerhouse and its island.

"Calvinesque Connections" was a daily live performance on laptop with a tiny portable amp and a book of Chinese poetry. This took place every day at 1 pm in the Tower - a 19th century folly built at Ripponlea. Performing among the treetops has its own pleasures. To be outside, controlling an algorithmic process, while reading and talking about Chinese poetry was my take on the "scholar-poets" of ancient China. Also, since I'm improvising the talk around the poems I spontaneously choose every day, I'm continuing the line of "improvising and talking while playing electronic music" pieces I've been doing for at least a decade now. The program notes to the performance pretty much tell what it was about. One of the nicest memories was on a gently rainy Monday. The Tower is covered, so I could play. The dripping of the rain kept an audience away. (I think one person came for a few minutes only, then left.) So I merrily played away to myself, entertaining the environment, and the birds. It seemed as good a performing event as any I've ever been involved in.

"Shaman- In Memoriam Terrance McKenna" was requested by Tony Trembath for "Avago Korfeel" - a display cabinet in the Sculpture Workshop at the Fine Arts Department at Monash University's Caulfield Campus. This took place between 4-9 September 2000. The cabinet itself has a glass window, two loudspeakers, and a timer switch controlling a small cassette player. The sound part of the piece was a one minute loop - given here as a wave file. The timer switch on the cabinet turned on sound for about 40 seconds. Each observer had to push in the button to hear what was on the tape. So each observer, if they wanted to hear the whole quotation, had to press the button several times. That is, each press of the button played only part of the sound, and a different part each time. The graphics are described in the enclosed program note. This appeared on the wall (as shown in one of the photos) next to the cabinet. By moving around in front of the cabinet, the viewer could assemble different concrete poems - different collections of the available words. A very modest interactive installation, but it seemed appropriate to the circumstances. On sending the video and sound of the installation to Dr. Ralph Abraham, chaos mathematician, and one of McKenna's collaborator's, he expressed delight, saying that the installation was indeed a fitting monument for Terrence and his work.

Related Entries for Burt, Warren



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Published Resources


  • Burt, Warren, Writings of a Scarlett Aardvark, 15 Articles on Music and Art, Frog Peak, Hanover, 1993. [ Details... ]

Conference Papers

  • Burt, Warren, 'Many Environments, Many Paths of Perception', in Acoustic Ecology: An International Symposium, World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, Melbourne, 19-23 March, 2003. [ Details... ]

Journal Articles

  • Bolleter, Ross, 'Warren Burt, Works for Electronics, Tuning Forks and Video', Evos, no. 9, 1988, p. 6. [ Details... ]
  • Burt, Warren, 'Instrumental Composition', Australian Music Centre Journal, no. 9, 1985, pp. 3-15. [ Details... ]
  • Burt, Warren, 'The 3 DIS System', Sounds Australian, no. 19, Spring, 1988, pp. 28-30. [ Details... ]
  • Burt, Warren, 'Australian Experimental Music 1963-1990', Leonardo Music Journal, vol. 1, no. 1, 1991, pp. 5-10. [ Details... ]
  • Burt, Warren, 'Experimental Music in Australia Using Live Electronics', Live Electronics, ed. Stephen Montague, vol. 6, no. 1, 1991, pp. 159-172. [ Details... ]
  • Burt, Warren, 'Some Musical and Sociological Aspects of Australian Experimental Music 1963-1993', Sounds Australian, no. 37, Autumn, 1993, pp. 38-47. [ Details... ]
  • Burt, Warren, 'Expanding Contexts for Computer Music: One Composerís Experience', Organised Sound, vol. 6, no. 1, 2001, pp. 29-37. [ Details... ]

Online Resources

Structure based on ISAAR(CPF) - click here for an explanation of the fields.Prepared by: Iain Mott
Created: 12 March 2002
Modified: 8 February 2006

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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