Thursday, November 14, 2013


Denise Higgins & Gary Smith_Vox Nautica

"Arrested in ice, the heart of the boat, an organ sounding the depth, summoning behemoths and tempests, caressing auroras, holding a cradle of light."

Vox Nautica is a light and sound installation by Denise Higgins & Gary Smith. From 14 November - 1 December 2013 the installation will be exhibited at ANCA Gallery, in Canberra.

The boat installation is 6 metres long, 2.4 meters wide, and 1880's clinker built. The organ pipes used are from the 1870's from St. John's Church in Toorak, Melbourne, and form part of the soundscape. They also respond to the environment through IR sensors, creating a completely immersive viewer experience.

"A stripped carcass of a boat, and the remains of an organ, girded in an iceberg. They have fused into a hybridized instrument (Vox Nautica) with a complex sonority. The keel is backbone of sound anchoring the organ pipes. The organ has its own voicings generated through a mixture of live and pre-recorded sounds.

The terrain is a polar region, characterised by deep time—the artefacts and memory of formation of life compacted into ice. The boat is a living entity in a place that moves towards the solidity and compactment of all into ice. It is a depth sounder, and an aerial to conduct and manifest a range of energies in this surround. Like Elliot's space of the still point, arrestation is both our end, and our beginning. There is a remnant of Shakespeare's The Tempest, Dante’s final circle of Hell, and also Brendan the Navigator's experience in with his monks in a coracle, floating through the eye of an iceberg." (Artist Statement)

To watch a short video documenting the installation, click here.

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