madeleine flynn and tim humphrey



ABC article
Melbourne Festival Program

How do we find our individual voice in the urban cacophony?
At dusk and dawn on the Yarra River, hundreds of birds under Princes Bridge jostle for their nests, while people crowd the trams above. Human and avian alike call out to one another. Short signals – a chirp here, an SMS there – carry the potent message of homecoming to our loved ones.

An electro-acoustic installation along the walkway under the bridge invites us to ‘press pause’ for a moment, take off our earphones and hear the world again. Birdcalls are captured by a flock of microphones, transformed and released again into the air from hanging sound sculptures nested under the bridge. Your mobile phone becomes the conductor’s baton and your voice an instrument in the orchestra as you navigate this soundscape in real time.

Beyond the steel and stone of the bridge, listeners are invited to make other crossings: mapping connections between free speech and Free Music, human and avian sound and movement patterns, natural and constructed environments.

In a special performance event at the BMW Edge the soundspace leaves the nest, creating a musical engagement inflected with Olivier Messiaen’s rhythmic cells and birdsong transformations.

Using soundbeam projectors and flocking algorithms, the sounds of special guests, including Patti Clemens, Joan Jeanrenaud (original cellist from Kronos Quartet) and Kenneth Newby playing live from the USA and Canada, and local musicians, including Eugene Ughetti, playing live in the space, glide in formation with audio flown in from the bridge, the Festival and beyond.
Created by Alex Stahl in collaboration with Madeleine Flynn & Tim Humphrey