They Say Drowning is Like a Dream

Campbell, Steven, and Fenton-Keane, Jayne (2010) They Say Drowning is Like a Dream. [Composition]

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Abstract

Certain aspects of Jayne Fenton-Keane’s poetic oeuvre are inspired by her access to sounds from the US Navy’s Marine Audio Archive, gained while on a residency at Cornell University in 2005. The archive, dating from 1939, has samples ranging from the joyful organic sounds of airborne baby whales through to cruel descriptions and the real sounds of experiments carried out by scientists on marine life. They Say Drowning is Like a Dream is a collaborative electro-acoustic work prepared for a live/improvised duet performance in which Fenton-Keane draws on marine-based aspects of her poetry, with computer musician Steven Campbell triggering in real-time samples primarily drawn from the Navy archive, along with related news reports and readings of Fenton-Keane’s poetry. This work is intended as a thought provoking portrayal of human relationships with water, the oceans, and human interactions with marine life.

Research Statement

Research Background This work continues an ongoing collaboration between Campbell and Fenton-Keane, initiated in 2006 in a project developed as part of Fenton-Keane’s PhD. Simply titled H20, the project, as a sound-art installation utilised Campbell’s PLaY+SPaCe music technology system, triggering a diverse range of sounds and video. The artists’ shared concern for marine life and environments has led to the projected development of a series of works titled Sonic Aquaria, of which this work is the first.
Research Contribution Using a contemporary approach to improvisation with text and live computer performance, the work is set within the genre of Sound-Art. It provides textual materials, as delivered by Fenton-Keane, sampled recordings of her poetry, with meaningful narratives from news reports and descriptions of marine sounds as recorded by scientists. These texts are combined with acousmatic sound to reflect the unease associated with the overall thematic content.
Research Significance The significance of the work lies in its seeking to highlight the plight of marine life and the effects on such as brought about through human plundering of aquatic environments and the widespread pollution of the human environment that seeps through to oceans. Textually, the work can be seen to focus on a ‘drowning’ of marine life, hence Fenton-Keane’s opening and closing lines “Learning to breathe in water is an important skill to develop before you drown.” The work was developed for and presented at Townsville’s See, Hear, Now Festival, 2010.
Item ID: 19209
Item Type: Composition (Sound-art improvisation)
Additional Information:

Part of the 'See Hear Now Festival 2010' running from 16 - 18 April 2010.

Media of Output: Video
Related URLs:
Funders: School of Creative Arts, James Cook University, Music Centre, North Queensland
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2011 01:06
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing > 190406 Music Composition @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950104 The Creative Arts (incl. Graphics and Craft) @ 100%
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