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Fielding (2017-2018) collaboration with Jordan Lacey

Fielding is a project in development and forms the creative sonic component of a larger science project funded by an ARC Linkage Grant 'Designing Green Spaces for Biodiversity and Human Well-Being' conducted by Sarah Bekessy and her team at Sustainability and Urban Planning RMIT University, Melbourne. Sarah’s team includes Freya Thomas, Luis Mata, Georgia Garrard.

Our tireless producers is Kim de Kretser
We have a Call for Works open. The call is for field recordings specific to Melbourne, both inner city and greater Melbourne areas. 

See the website here
and find the call as a pdf with full info (which can also be found on the website via Sound Artists section)

Please share widely amongst your communities and networks, thanks!


Fielding is a research project oriented towards how sound can play a role in the greening of urban spaces. It forms the creative sonic component of a larger science project funded by an ARC Linkage Grant entitled Designing Green Spaces for Biodiversity and Human Well-Being conducted by Professor Sarah Bekessy and her team at Sustainability and Urban Planning RMIT University. Green spaces with a higher diversity of species deliver greater well-being and social benefits than less diverse spaces, yet there is little practical guidance for practitioners wishing to design urban green space to maximise biodiversity outcomes. Sarah’s project will fill this gap, providing evidence of how features of urban design link with specific biodiversity outcomes.

The project will take place across numerous sites around the City of Melbourne and these sites will operate as modular experimental greening interventions. Our plot in the Sunken Courtyard at RMIT’s city campus is one intervention that will contribute to this larger project. Our project will research the role that sound might contribute in:

*How people interact with the greener space through the role of the sonic
*How the plants respond to the recordings
*How the plants/sounds attract animals and birds and how their presence/absence affects the space, the plants as well as human interaction

Fielding will operate as one of Sarah’s modular portable plots while extending the research to include our sonic considerations. This stage of Fielding is operating as a test or pilot project. We will be growing a diverse range of plants native to the greater Melbourne area, to be provided by Sarah’s group. The portable approach allows the scientists to manipulate and experimentally control aspects of the environment to specifically test underlying mechanisms concerning human well-being in a way that has not been possible previously. Sound is a key component of biodiversity – of both animal, plant and human habitats – and one that is frequently overlooked. The role of sound is complex, particularly in cities. The sounds will be field recordings – external recordings – of the sonic components that make up a biodiverse habitat.

A structure will be installed at the site on which native plants of varying heights and types will be placed. The sound will be embedded in the structure so that it does not dominate the courtyard but is audible when passing by or approaching the plants.

The site is the Sunken Courtyard located at RMIT University’s city campus in central Melbourne. It is a site surrounded by university buildings including one original bluestone wall from the old Melbourne gaol (1842).  Students and staff use it for respite but as it is open to Russell Street via a pathway, it is also accessible to the general public. There is a typical urban ambient sound at the site as well as a permanent buzzing from a gas distributor. There is one bed of established shrubs and bushes and two mature trees, but the site does not appear to attract wild animals. The centre of the space is covered in astroturf, with a central sunken (two steps down) 4.5m square area made of large bluestone bricks. It is here that the structure supporting the plants will be installed. RMIT students and staff from BA Sound, BDes(LArch) Landscape Architecture, MA Public Art and BA Fine Art are participating in the project.

    The following images are a mix of public parklands, common ground and urban wildernesses in keeping with our interests in the concept of broken ecologies where rather than looking back or trying to emulate a kind of speculative pristine wilderness that may or may not have once existed, broken ecologies work with what we have now, embracing the maladaptive, mixed and complex conditions that we have in our cities today.  
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