Sounds of the Suburb (2007)
An invited first stage proposal document for Queensland Rail's Brunswick Street Station concourse redevelopment, Brisbane, Queensland. Sounds of the Suburb proposed an animated, evolutionary artwork populated by life-like electronic ‘trains’ of text - each moving endlessly through a complex network of ‘tracks’ and ‘stations’ that dramatically snake their way through the Brunswick Street Station Concourse. Each of these ‘trains of thought’ contained a street-wise idea about music - fresh from the ‘Valley’ (The entertainment focused suburb that the station served). These cultural ‘memes’ would propagate and replicate themselves as they travelled through the network, mutating, combining, cross-fertilising and adapting: writing - day in, day out - the constantly evolving 'Sounds of the Suburb'.
1: Detailed Design/Proposal and Client Presentation
PARTNERS: Queensland Rail, Project Management by UAP (Urban Art Projects).
MORE: Sounds of the Suburb was a commissioned public art proposal based upon a brief set by Queensland Rail for the major redevelopment at their Brunswick Street Railway Station, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. I proposed a large scale, electronic artwork to be distributed across the glass fronted structure of their station’s new concourse building. It was designed as a network of LED based ‘tracking’ - along which would travel electronically animated, ‘trains’ of text synchronised to the actual train timetables. Each message packet moved endlessly through a complex spatial network of ‘tracks’ and ‘stations’ set both inside, outside and via the concourse. The design was underpinned by large scale image of sound waves etched onto the architecture’s glass and was accompanied by two inset monitors each presenting ghosted images of passenger movements within the concourse, time-delay recorded and then cross-combined in realtime to form new composites.
Each moving, reprogrammable phrase was conceived as a ‘train of thought’ and ostensibly contained an idea or concept about popular cultures surrounding contemporary music – thereby meeting the brief that the work should speak to the diverse musical cultures central to Fortitude Valley’s image as an entertainment hub. These cultural ‘memes’, gathered from both passengers and the music press were situated alongside quotes from philosophies of networking, speed and digital ecologies. These texts would continually propagate, replicate and cross fertlise as they moved throughout the ‘network’, thereby writing a constantly evolving ‘textual soundcape’ of that place. This idea was further cemented through the pace, scale and rhythm of passenger movements continually recorded and re-presented on the smaller screens.
The innovation was to build strongly upon the originating brief to in fact create an entirely non-traditional interpretation of sustainability – established as an issue relating to not simply the environment or ecology but rather one extended to all aspects of human lifestyle: specifically to modalities of culture, communication, relationship and celebration.