Monica Brooks

Friday 30 April, 2010, 5.30 to 6pm

Bon Marche Studio (UTS, Bldg. 3, Lvl. 1, Rm. 105)

Performance: 30mins

In order to achieve surround sound as an effect for couched television programs at home, one erects a small array of speakers in accordance with 5.1 guidelines. Copying this model for reference, Stifle / Send presents an alternate installation and performance form. Stifle / Send is an investigation into creating sub-habitats for sound work and its adjoining features (sculptural or performative elements housing sound), experimenting with alternate viewpoints to process performance and installation. This is primarily a pragmatic response to a conceptual interest in depth perception, in turn seeking a new set of reactions or experiences from audience and viewer.

Overall project

One sound installation using minimalist sculptures to house the speakers (5 x objects projecting sound).

One 30-minute performance showing two works (using 8 computer musicians using small computer speakers; and 8 unamplified vocalists).


Stifle / Send attempts to transform ideas of performance into a semi stagnant position, while retaining elements of movement through sounds emanating from objects within the space. It is essentially a large, disco-ordinate sound object, with many splayed parts. Much like a home theatre system could be if it were infinitely more exciting as a series of objects alone, with the bonus element of providing an aural artwork as it beckons visual fascination. This will be a stationary set of objects, acting as houses for speakers to display 3 x looped 20min sound works.


Two pieces: one, an improvisation-based performance by 8 computer musicians (each performing through small, personalised computer speakers, not a PA); the second, a more rigid approach to compositional practice, using vocalists as a counter speaker array with the computer musicians acting as the inner wall of sound. To visualise the set-up, think of an octagon or circular shape, each musician acting as a point directed inward towards the centre. The ensemble will improvise as a base method for creating the sound works, though there will be some musical elements that are preset, for example, structure and form will be adhered to. Having said that, if a member of the ensemble rallies against the score, this will be encouraged, shifting the locus of control from myself ‚ the facilitator/composer to an unpredicted trajectory.

A performative format of the surround sound phenomena allows for the possibility of mistake and experimentation. On a local level, Australia has seen many recent explorations of the sound art world in a surround environment through the works of Robin Fox, Ben Byrne, Robert Sazdov and Thembi Sodell. Stifle / Send endeavours to be part of the series of developments that have been transpiring within local arts communities. However, this particular project proposes the use of performance as a sound installation, for the specific advent of possible mistakes or chance-work. The ensemble thus transforms the notion of a physically static sculpture with completely controlled auditory outcomes, to a mercurial and fallible sound mechanism.

On a purely performance-presentation argument, Stifle / Send differs from traditional modes of music or sound performance in its display/presentation of the work. Bearing in mind western art music has supposedly been de-pedestaled from the podiums and stages of concert hall mentalities, as punters at the local drink’n’mosh we will stare respectfully in awe at mincing front men warbling incoherently from a raised platform ahead. Perhaps this is what we want. Stifle / Send attempts to displace the argument and experiment with audience-performer placement.

Working with notions of depth perception, both pieces will reflect an approach to listening and viewing performance from a three-dimensional perspective. Not by adding extra sides to a box, rather, adding spatial awareness to time-based art practice. Instead of performing as a front-on performance, the ensemble will invite the audience to act as the volume or mass of a three-dimensional object (like filling an empty vessel). The ensemble then projects sound into the sub-space‚ physical peripheries marked by the performers bodies/gait collectively creating the sub-space boundary.

Monica is a Sydney based sound artist and musician. Graduated from University of Western Sydney with a BMus, though spent more time in the Electronic Arts department. Over the years she has worked on various AV projects and improvised performances including Ubercube (laptop duo with Emily Morandini 2003-2006); The Splinter Orchestra (2004 to current); Dysfunctional Feed (UWS AVarts collective, showing at First Draft & Next Wave 2004-2006); the NOW now (new and experimental music series & festival coordinator 2008 to current); West Head Project (Jim Denley’s outdoor investigations into sound installation ensembles 2006-current); Ten Days On The Island residency in Tasmania (trio with Jim Denley and Dale Gorfinkel for outdoor sound installation and sound walks developed on Maria Island 2009).


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A two day forum of creative research, experimentation and practice held from April 28-30 at the University of Technology, Sydney, and Serial Space Gallery, Chippendale.

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