PERTH artist Olga Cironis gives a voice to the “other” Australians in her poignant new sound installation Forest of Voices.
For the exhibition, Cironis recorded intimate stories of love and loss from people in diverse communities across Australia, amassing 64 hours of recordings.
She merged them into an immersive and slightly lyrical collage, in which you are not sure where one moving story ends and another begins.
“Forest of Voices included people from diverse backgrounds with their different personal stories,” Cironis says.
“These narratives were anonymous and thus, because love or the desire to belong is familiar to us all, the social and cultural spaces between us became the familiar link that bound us together.
“My art practise centres around exploring the impact that history and memory have on personal and shared identity.
“This installation is a timely reflection on shared vulnerability and the possibilities contained in social acts. Reflecting our environmental emergency and covid-19 that has changed how we are in the world.”
Forest of Voices is situated on the first floor gallery of the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, where tiny speakers dangling from the roof softly bombard visitors with “whisperings of desires, love, pain, loss and fear…a delicate chorus of voices, a sound that from a distance is similar to the wind through branches.”
Cironis says editing the recordings was technically challenging, but she’s happy with the end result, describing the installation space as a “quiet place of contemplation”.
“I experimented with different editing processes and very carefully extracted fragments of the recorded stories to create a slow meandering human sound moving through the space overlapping the sound of the elements and breathing. At one point it was a cacophony of voices, but we pared it right down to a quiet place of contemplation with the soft sounds of natural landscape.”
Forest of Voices is at PICA until January 10, and will be on show alongside Refracted Reality in the ground floor gallery and SMASH IT in the screen space.
Featuring the work of ten artists and collectives, Refracted Reality includes painting, photography, video and sculpture.
Touching on a wide range of topical issues from personal sovereignty to environmental upheaval, curator Anna Louise Richardson says the exhibition is a medium through which ideas pass and bend, and are eventually cast into dramatic relief.
SMASH IT by Brook Andrew, an Wiradjuri interdisciplinary artist, gets its title from his push to subvert colonial archives and question the established narratives of the past.
Andrew’s intense and powerful short film includes footage and archival materials from his private collection, and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.
For more info about all the exhibitions go to pica.org.au
By STEPEHN POLLOCK