Image by Teresa Tan

Reading Landscape Through Soundscape With SEASONS in Blak Box

An immersive sound installation that explores the Indigenous practice of  ‘deep listening’ in Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria’s Melbourne Gardens.

Sasha Gattermayr
20th of February 2020

The environmental movement has been saying the same things over the past decade that Indigenous people in Australia have been saying for centuries. We haven’t been listening to the landscape, or the people who have lived on it for millennia, and now it’s roaring at being overlooked.

SEASONS in Blak Box by Urban Theatre Projects focuses on a return to the ancient Indigenous practices that restore the spiritual connection between human and climate. The 50-minute immersive work will be staged in an enclosed surround-sound pavilion to engage the audience in the ancient act of ‘deep listening’. Sounds, ideas and languages from First Nations people envelop the listener and carry them through the seasons and plants, encouraging the audience to embrace ‘this deeply sensitive way of reading country’.

‘The idea is to recreate the season through sound – be it natural sound, effects or the human voice,’ says curator and Indigenous radio broadcaster, Daniel Browning. ‘What I’ve discovered is that seasonal knowledge was the key to life. You couldn’t live on country without reference to what was happening in the waterways, deep in the bush and even in the skies.’

Across each part of the work that aims to illuminate the way we listen to the earth, Elders and Kulin knowledge keepers interpret the significance of each season to a new score by composer James Henry. It’s a mix of natural sounds, storytelling and music that ‘invites audiences to be immersed in climatic and season variation less as a weather event, and more as a cultural phenomenon.’

SEASONS in Blak Box is presented by Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, tickets can be purchased now.

SEASONS in Blak Box
Friday, March 6th – Sunday, April 5th
Royal Botanical Gardens Victoria, Melbourne Gardens
$15 – $22

Supported by Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria & Urban Theatre Projects

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