Description of campaign/project
TONG TANA is an ethnographic sound work, originaly conceived of as an installation / performance, but completed as a documentary radio drama. It is comprised of field recordings, narrative and prose that describes both the plight of the remaining native forests of Sarawak, on the island of Borneo, and the cosmology of the first peoples who desire to still live in them. TONG TANA was performed in Cape Town in July 2009, developed through an artists residency at the Dunmoochin Foundation and broadcast in Austria in association with ORF/KunstRadio on 30 August 2014.
Within TONG TANA I chose to use a combination of documentary style exposition and drama through the use of poetry. I have found the concept of documentary drama enables the artist to tell stories and share qualitative information with a degree of intimacy that may not be possible through other means. Both forms are underscored by field recordings and treated string instruments, specifically the Sapeh, a traditional instrument from Sarawak. The idea was to produce an evocative work for radio that sits within the genres of documentary and radio drama.
I have found the combination of tender sound works and composition, in concert with documentary drama approaches enables the artist to tell stories and share qualitative information with a degree of intimacy that may not be possible through other means. The issues are described in a manner that attempts to draw people into a world of compassion and empathy; the idea being that we are all in this together. Whether TONG TANA benefits society remains to be seen. All I know is that when I am compelled to produce a work that synthesizes personal experience with a notion of the common good, I will do what ever it takes to bring it into the visible and / or heard world.
I struggled through this project finding my self re-writing it almost entirely. The first script was written in 2009. The process gave me pause to reflect on what it is I truly wanted to communicate and how to go about doing it. I learnt to trust my intuition, to know that saying a thing directly, from ones heart, through extractive means (e.g. hard work) that overrides the obvious, drawing one to the sublime... Well, it really is about hard work and allowing oneself to literally walk ideas through until it is done, no matter the means nor time. In short I learnt to trust my processes, that I am experienced enough to do so, but to also be open to the notion that ones processes can do with a shake out every now and then. Perhaps more often than not. Particularly when seeking to reach deep into the core of one's audience.
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a spoken word fusion
Concept author year(s) of birth
Concept author(s) contribution
Writer, producer, composer, narrator.
I am a multidisciplinary artist working with sound, music, video, text and online media. I have a special interest in working within culturally diverse communities. My sound and music works are broadcast on radio both in Australia and Europe. Video works, from documentaries to projected video art, have been exhibited in various galleries and public spaces (e.g. ACMI, Federation Square, Signal, Casula Powerhouse). More recently I have been screening short films produced in collaboration with bush fire affected communities in church and community halls in fire affected shires.