madeleine flynn and tim humphrey


5 Short Blasts

5 Short Blasts is an encounter with a city on the water for a flotilla of boats and radio broadcast.

In international maritime language the sound signal of five short blasts means “I am not sure of your intentions and am concerned we are going to collide”. Vessels use the audible signal of five short blasts to communicate this alarm, using a horn, a whistle, or whatever is to hand. 5 Short Blasts is inspired and deeply informed by this maritime expression of uncertainty, drawing attention to the shared act of navigating the unknown.

Our small fleet quietly turns our ears toward the incidental and inter-dependent orchestration of weather, industry, vessels, and people. 5 Short Blasts takes an audience in small quiet boats onto the river to listen. The work literally navigates through a series of overlapping spheres of activity, signalled with a composed radio broadcast that inexplicably and ambiguously blends with the ambient soundscape. It is a choreography of overlapping activities and an orchestration of all kinds of sound signals and voices associated with the water, with its intersection of industry, community and recreation.

The work was originally created in the Port of Melbourne and the lower Yarra River, Melbourne Australia with the local water communities.

The soundwork is broadcast via our local area radio station to each of the vessels and the spectator fleet, connecting and reflecting the sounds of the vessel’s journey itself.

Lots more here: For documentation and interviews go here

For the 5 Short Blasts 75 minute journey shot POV from the front of one vessel, go here

And for ABC Radio National piece about 5 Short Blasts made beautifully by producer Miyuki Jokiranta go here

For the Manifest catalogue, designed by Letterbox, with essays by us, Cynthia Troup and Tony Birch, go FIVESHORTBLASTS_Manifest_WEB

5 Short Blasts Prague, was presented as part of the Prague Quadrennial program, Music, Weather,Politics June 2015. Link here:

Produced by the City of Melbourne Arts and Participation Program and supported by the Port of Melbourne