during the Visible City artist residency, a simple group work was mooted early on in the piece by the collective participants, as an initial exploratory framework for our intervention into Melbourne's public spaces. this work, eventually titled 'sit on it', involved each of the 11 artists entering into the space of the city with a chair, and sitting for a specified durational period while performing an action of their choosing.
my action was borne out of the chance finding, in Gertrude Street second hand record store Northside Records, of a large stack of library music on "10 vinyl, a whole collection of background music soundtracks evidently thrown away in one go from the sound archives of Australian TV magnate, Channel 10.
Most of these records were on the Chappell and Conroy labels, alongside a few KPM discs. They are original pressings dating from the late 1950s to the mid-late 1960s.
Utilising these over-dramatic, over-determined filler theme tunes and nostalgically evocative pieces of stock music, I responded in a detatched, spectatorial manner to my immersion in the cityscape, and "watched the city like a film", piecing together a responsive soundscape to the textures of its urban visual field, in the way a sound artist might respond live to a piece of found footage.
the two locations for this work's manifestation were :
a) on the corner of little collins st and swanston st in the Melbourne CBD
former site of the Town Hall Chambers, a spectacularly ornate 7 storey stand alone recreation of a second empire Parisian building, demolished as part of a land clearance which also involved demolition of Tivoli Theatre and part of the Royal Hotel. The site became an unoccupied carpark for many years until finally a council re-development in the 1990s changed the site into a small square and cafe.
b) within the former Greville Botanical Gardens, now Grattan Gardens.
off Greville Street in the inner city suburb of Prahran, part of the City of Stonnington, subdivisisions have caused incursions to the former park, which is now a mere strip of grass with some palm trees, used largely as a pedestrian thoroughfare.
soundtracks for the city : setlist for programme 2 (grattan gardens, prahran)
1. Stranger in the City : Aspiration (Trevor Duncan), BM 152-A
2. Hawaiian Hula
3. Children at Play (Kenneth Morrison), BM 374-B, Conroy Berry Music Ltd., 1963.
5. Lunar Landscape
6. Mother Love (Ronald Aldrich), BM 375-B, Conroy Berry Music Ltd., 1963.
7. Six Short Dramas (Roger Roger), Chappell Recorded Music
8. Stranger in the City : Disillusion (Trevor Duncan) BM 152-B
9. Hawaiian Breeze
10. Underprivileged Children (Kenneth Morrison) BM 374-B, Conroy Berry Music Ltd., 1963.
11. Happy Household (Ronald Aldrich), BM 375-B, Conroy Berry Music Ltd., 1963.
12. Pleasure Island (Harry Rabinowitz), BM 112-B, Conroy Berry Music Ltd., 1958.
13. Lullaby, (Kenneth Morrison) BM 374-A, Conroy Berry Music Ltd., 1963.
14. Links and Interjections 1
15. Achievement, (Roy Ernst), Opening / Bridge No. 1 / Bridge No. 2 / Closing, BM 139-A, Conroy Berry Music Ltd., 1958.
16. String Dramatics side B
17. Ready for Action / Rescue Squad / Rescue Squad Curtain (Syd Dale), KPM.204B, KPM Music Recorded Library, 1966
18. Drums and Fife (Wilfred Burns) BM 301-A, Conroy Berry Music Ltd., 1961.
19. Dramatic Bass and Drums (Wilfred Burns) BM 300-B, Conroy Berry Music Ltd., 1961.
20. Bowery Boys (Frank Marlow), KP.034A, KP Music Recorded Library, 1960.
21. Links & Interjections 2
22. String Dramatics (Prelude to Panic / Twilight Episode / To Say Goodbye), BM 339-A, Conroy Berry Music Ltd., 1963.
23. That's Life / That's All / The Aggressor (Syd Dale), KPM.204A, KPM Music Recorded Library, 1966
24. Fanfares (Wilfred Burns), BM 300-A
25. Period Fanfares (Wilfred Burns), BM 301-B, Conroy Berry Music Ltd., 1961.
26. Champs Elysees (Frank Marlow), KP.034B, KP Music Recorded Library, 1960.
27. Achievement (Roy Ernst), Bridge No. 3 / Bridge No. 4 / Loop No. 1 / Loop No. 2, BM 139-B, Conroy Berry Music Ltd., 1958.
28. Accordion Solos side A
29. Shore Line (Harry Rabinowitz), BM 112-B, Conroy Berry Music Ltd., 1958.
30. Stranger in the City : Alienation (Trevor Duncan), BM 152-B
31. God Bless Australia