Polar Force Recordings
Polar Force and Array are grounded in the utilisation of natural environmental elements as sonic and physical material, developing an intricate dialogue between live and recorded sounds.
After a five-year collaboration between sound artist Philip Samartzis and composer-percussionist Eugene Ughetti the two major works, Polar Force and companion sound installation work Array are now both available through room40. Polar Force is accompanied by an Artist Book featuring photographs and essays about the work.
Together these releases offer an immersive affective experience of Antarctica through sound, performance, photograph and essay. Both works explore the experiences of being in a remote Antarctic research station and relationships between the natural and industrial through layers of recordings, unique spaces and custom-built instruments. Playing with intersections of live performance and field recordings, Polar Force and Array are grounded in the utilisation of natural environmental elements as sonic and physical material, developing an intricate dialogue between live and recorded sounds.
Polar Force is a performance-installation work that draws on Samartzis’ time at Casey Station (one of Australia’s primary research outposts on the Antarctic continent) that merges environmental acoustics and extended approaches to percussion. Situated in a custom-made, white inflatable structure, the performance-installation comprises a multi-channel sound diffusion and live theatrical-percussion performance. It invites the audience into a pristine, remote and intense sonic landscape combined with the live manipulation of industrially designed percussion equipment, using ice, water and wind. This hour-long through-composed work is divided into nine tracks, covering a breadth of sonic terrain inspired by the coldest, driest and windiest continent on the planet.
As a companion piece to Polar Force, Array expresses a remote Antarctic research station through the convergence of sound, site and performance that result in an immersive and affective experience of the spaces, protocols and conditions comprising the bracing polar environment. Conceived as an eight-channel sound installation, Array combines recordings of radar and scientific equipment that draw focus to way that built environments are transformed through exposure to extreme climates and freezing temperatures with layers of live performance that mirror these notions. In three parts, Array presents Antarctica as a liminal space oscillating between representation and abstraction to challenge often repeated tropes. It blurs the relationship between the recorded and performed to produce a hyper-realistic encounter of the power forces that operate at the margins of our planet.
The Polar Force Artist Book is a thirty-page document of stunning photographs and essays by Carolyn Philpott, Philip Samartzis and Eugene Ughetti.
“While the lines may blur, it is impossible to observe an environment in person without becoming part of it. In Polar Force and Array, Samartzis and Ughetti have shared not only what the Antarctic sounds like, but what it feels like, using music as a metaphor for understanding.” Richard Allen, A Closer Listen
Polar Force Recordings would not have been possible without the support of the following people and organisations.
RMIT SCHOOL OF ART FOR THEIR SUPPORT FOR DR PHILIP SAMARTZIS’ FIELD RECORDINGS
Australian Council for the Arts
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