Leah Barclay | Sound Mirrors Exhibition – Final Week
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Sound Mirrors Exhibition – Final Week

Sound Mirrors Exhibition – Final Week

[By Sandra Conte]

Award winning artist Leah Barclay’s stunning Sound Mirrors installation at Noosa Regional Gallery is in its final week, closing on November 21. Leah selected Noosa for the world premiere of the installation in order to pay homage to the Noosa River and the pristine quality of the everglades.

Touring to Melbourne, Korea and India, Sound Mirrors is an immersive sonic environment that responds to significant rivers across the world. Throughout 2009 and 2010, Leah Barclay travelled through Australia, India, Korea, China and Hong Kong capturing the sound of rivers and their surrounding communities. The resulting work is an ephemeral experience that slides through vivid landscapes and rich cultural traditions.

Sound Mirrors was selected as one of four national projects for the Australia Council’s HELM-Arts Award. HELM is an initiative of the Queensland Conservation Council that recognises innovative work at the intersection of art, science, technology and the environment.

Leah Barclay is a multi-award winning Australian interdisciplinary artist, widely recognised as a distinctive voice in the international experimental arts scene. She is renowned for creating complex sonic environments realised through immersive performances and multi-sensory installations. Her work has been described as “music in a new dimension”.

Sound Mirrors grew out of Ms Barclay’s life-long connection with rivers. “My childhood memories of growing up on rivers across Australia and living in countries such as India fuelled a desire to explore rivers as the lifeblood of communities. I wanted to find a voice for the rivers at a time where it is becoming increasingly important to listen to the environment.”

The Noosa River positioned in a UNESCO listed Biosphere of Australia, the historic Han River flowing through the city of Seoul, South Korea and the Pamba River in the evocative backwaters of Kerala, South India formed the core of Sound Mirrors. Ms Barclay said; “the process has varied from sculpting and layering sounds recorded on location to directly responding to the environment and collaborating with local musicians. The source materials range from hydrophone recordings deep in the Noosa River to pilgrims chanting at dusk on the banks of the Pamba in South India.”

Leah Barclay has taken a pivotal step in creating an innovative work of global value in the preservation of intangible cultural heritage. Sound Mirrors is underpinned by cultural exchange, and facilitates a dynamic cultural, environmental and social dialogue through sound. According to Ms Barclay, “working in dialogue with cultural contexts provides insight into the layers of tradition that are impossible to penetrate without first-hand experience. The process itself has been of most value, the unpredictable chaos, the inspiring musicians, and the entrancing moments of insight into life as experienced in another culture.”

The exhibition is accompanied by a limited edition CD ‘Transient Landscapes’, featuring works from the Sound Mirrors installation.