The Fire Sermon

Installation. Multiple speakers in industrial location.

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The Fire Sermon is an ongoing installation project that focuses on the transformative power of sound to create unique and intriguing sound environments in otherwise functional and unengaging locations. The work attempts to manipulate the unique acoustic properties of a space to help transform it into a unique theatre for sound experimentation. Drab concrete throughways are transfigured into unique sound chambers that refract and displace sound to create a work of unique sonic properties – transforming the perception and function of these sites through the power of music.

The works of The Fire Sermon are installed in highly accessible, public areas. Each piece is designed to energise and engage with a specific site in a unique way, be it acoustically, historically, or aesthetically. Different iterations of The Fire Sermon have ranged from being deliberatively obtrusive to undertaking a non-violent occupation of space.

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Iterations:

  • Burning Embers (2013)
  • Dying Embers (2010)
  • Glowing Embers (2010)

Burning Embers (2013)

Burning Embers was installed in the Roe Street Car Park as part of the 2013 Transart - Transition program, the City of Perth’s ephemeral public art commission. The installation lasted from 10 June - 10 July and was accessible 24/7.

Burning Embers comprised of eight sound modules which comprised of a Raspberry Pi, a dedicated sound card, an amplifier circuit and a speaker. These modules were placed in a row along the inside of the throughway of Perth’s Roe Street Cark Park, a tunnel that connects the street with the larger facility. Each module played back it’s individual sound file on a constant loop for the duration of the installation.

The audio consisted of a wide range of sound sources, gradually expanding from single tones and drones to grainulated points of sound to more complex, sampled instrumentations. The music was written after analysis of the space determined what sounds would and would not carry and energise the chamber.

While Burning Embers was composed as a singular work, the modules were designed so that each module’s playback would slowly drift out of time with each another, resulting in a continually evolving composition and a unique listening experience throughout the month-long period of the install.

Details on the original festival available here

 

Glowing Embers and Dying Embers (2010)

Glowing Embers was installed in the stairwell of the Kurongkurl Katitjin Gallery. Dying Embers was installed in the Edith Cowan University library stairwell as part of the university’s Research Week. Both works engaged with the unique acoustic qualities of a stairwell to transform the space into a vibrant chamber of ambient sound.
Powered by three car tape decks, twelve speakers were spread throughout the space. This decidedly lo-fi technology was on display throughout the install, with the tape decks prominently displayed with the power sources of two six-volt batteries apiece. The audio cables connecting the tape decks to the speakers flowed outwards from this central point, occupying the center of the stairwell and creating a uniquely busy aesthetic in the otherwise empty stairwells.

The recordings were separated into bands of low, mid and high frequencies and distributed throughout the stairwell so that the highest frequencies were emitted from the top whilst the lowest frequencies were emitted from the bottom. This resulted in a unique listening experience as the participant made their way through the various levels of the stairwell.

Both works utilised the sounds of decay as the source material. Glowing Embers used manipulations of the end segments of individual recordings of guitar notes and amp noise, while Dying Embers used the piano to create gentle, undulating drones of varying intensities.