Slow By Nature 1998

Slow By Nature 1998

Yurabirong – the people of this place, is a sound work for radio commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC), Classic FM’s program, The Listening Room in 1994.

Yurabirong, meaning ‘the people of this place’, evokes a sonic picture of Sydney through recordings and re-enactments drawn from the ABC archives. Examples include: the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge (1932), re-enactments of the arrival of Captain James Cook and Captain Arthur Phillip respectively (1938), the Rocks Green Ban (circa 1971), the launching of Alan Bond’s Endeavour (1993), and so on.

These archival recordings are mixed with field recordings in and around Sydney in 1994: trains, birds, thunder, New Years Eve in the Rocks, Sydney harbour water sounds, the street sounds of downtown Sydney, etc. These audio memories are used as a counterpoint to recordings of contemporary indigenous Australians learning to pronounce words from the lexicon of pre-colonial Sydney as evidenced in research of Ngarigu woman, Dr Jakelin Troy, in her book, The Sydney language (1994)[1]

A starting point for Yurabirong was the city of Sydney and its surrounds. I had questions about the peoples of the place and the landscape prior to English colonization. Artist and curator Brenda L Croft was able to provide me with a photocopy of (sections of) Troy’s then unpublished manuscript. This information became a cornerstone of the project and a way to move the composition process forward. 

The work concludes with actor Bradley Byquar, naming each headland and island in Sydney Harbour using words from The Sydney Language, as if moving east to west from the heads to the mouth of the Parramatta River.

Yurabirong – the people of this place (1994) was broadcast four times between 1994[2] and 1998, but notably on, 26 May 1997, by the ABC to mark the occasion of the National Reconciliation Convention on the 27th May 1997



Listen to a shortened, low-resolution version of Yurabirong – the people of this place, 9’41” (the actual duration is 25 minutes).



[1] Troy, J 1994, The Sydney language, Flynn, J.Troy ACT

[2] Excerpt played at the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney exhibition: Sound In Space: Adventures in Australian Sound Art (1995)


Chinese Whispers 1990,

Installation shown at the Art Gallery of NSW and a government bond store for the 8th Biennale of Sydney: The Readymade Boomerang, curated by Rene Block. A self generating sound installation using the sound of a flowing creek as an initiating source combined with room sounds, room resonance etc. Exhibited in the colonial section of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

To hear an audio sample please click the arrow below


White Pointer – You are listening to humans observing fish at the New York aquarium
Electrical cabling, 10 power supplies, ten speakers, 5 minidisk players, five foamcore plaques

An archeology of visitor attitudes to sea and ocean biology at the New York Aquarium. A multi channel audio installation consisting of five audio stations, taxonomic plaques and lighting (in altar form), along a gallery wall.

The audio consists of edited conversations spoken by aquarium visitors as they observe various fish and habitat display tableaux.

Five taxonomic plaques define where the recordings were made i.e. which fish tank. In this work, constituent elements are kept to a minimum; the image is reduced to filtered pointers. The work plays with ideas around museology and the taxonomy of objects through a partial reconstruction of a lived experience.

The aquarium conversations are played back at a low volume. The sound is intended to be heard but remain ambient within the general exhibition space. The content becomes audible when a viewer stands at one of the five altars.

Each altar comprises of a shelf supporting two small speakers and a minidisk player positioned immediately below a taxonomic plaque. The plaques speakers, shelf tops and the surrounding wall are lit with a diffused (softened) spot light.

The work is designed to be reproduced with changed playback technology. Each version is a unique work.

White Pointer – You are listening to humans observing fish at the New York aquarium, (aka: White Pointer) Collection Art Gallery of Western Australia Ed 1/1 ver WA/2000.

Blind Mexican Cave Fish

Sound sample

boo! 1992-1995
Speaker, amplifier, looped digital audio playback, 3 minutes between each loud exclamation (boo!).