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Mungo : installation

by Ros Bandt (1992)

Audio Sample

Performance by Ros Bandt, Ederic Slater, Stephen Tilley, Benedikt Bitzenhofer from the CD Mungo

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Sonic archaeologies


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Sonic archaeologies / Ros Bandt

Library shelf no. CD 1065 [Available for loan]

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Work Overview

An aural journey into the psyche at one of Australia's mast significant world heritage areas. Lake Mungo is a dried up lake bed which has been a critical vortex of human life in Australia for the last 40,000 years. The land here tells its own story, as 20,000 year old fossil fish are underfoot and pre ice-age formations, along with other geomorphic changes are clearly visible. It is the site also of the oldest examples of human remains found in the antipodes.

High on the dunes surrounding the dried out lake bed Ros Bandt erected her aeolian harp. In these drifting sands its harmonic vibrations poured out into the landscape day and night, drifting amongst the stories and dreams at the Aborigines who carefully tended the site until they were rudely removed by white men 200 years ago. The spirit of this place challenged the composer to come to terms with its history and the immensity at its spirit. The harps and their sounds seemed a conduit back into this primeval landscape. An ancient form themselves, they contributed their vocalisation of the wind’s voice, sometimes apparently screaming and howling the truth that she was learning first hand from Aboriginal elder Alice Kelly of the local Mutti Mutti tribe - their grief and suffering over the last two hundred years. At other times they softly caressed the fragile plant forms, or seemed to make sense of the stars, growing roots in the earth, reaching upwards and creating audible spatial reference points, by which one might orientate oneself in this overpowering setting.

— Ros Bandt

Work Details

Year: 1992

Instrumentation: Aeolian harps sculpture, fossils, virtual didgeridoo, sampler, kangaroo bones, quandong nuts, snail shells, sand, feet, sculptures, sound installation.

Duration: 78 min.

Dedication note: Dedicated to all endangered wilderness sites and to Alice Kelly, Mutti Mutti elder.

First performance: by Ros Bandt — 1992. Cologne

The aeolian harp used in this work was constructed by Ros Bandt and Steve Naylor.

Mungo is one of three co-productions between the ABC and WDR Cologne from the Sound Art Australia 91 competition.

Mungo was a shared Sound Art Australia prizewinner and gained an honourable mention in the Prix Italia Prize 1992.

Photos & Images

Harp detail, showing nylon strings
Preparing for Installation
Extract From Mungo Score, an audio composition made from the installation


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