Avantwhatever is organised from the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri people and we acknowledge their sovereignty. We pay our respects to their elders, past, present and future, as well as to the elders of their neighbours in the Kulin Nation, and those of all communities. Especially indigenous peoples around the world whose land, sea, and air we inhabit, both in person and with the telecommunications and other infrastructure on which we rely. We ask you do the same.



Ryoko Akama

Ryoko Akama is a sound artist/composer/performer who approaches listening situations that magnify silence, time and space. Her work aims to offer quiet temporal/spatial experiences, and is connected to literature, fine art and mixed media (technology). She employs small and fragile objects such as paper balloons and glass bottles in order to create tiny aural and visual occurrences that embody ‘almost nothing’ aesthetics. She composes text scores and performs a diversity of alternative scores in collaboration with international artists.

She runs melange edition, co-curates ame and co-edits and independent publisher mumei publishing.




Natasha Anderson

Photo credit: Marion Innocenzi

Since 2003 I have been exploring the creative possibilities of electronically transforming acoustic, mainly instrumental material, into new uncanny timbres. I am interested in creating preternatural and unsettling sounds — sounds that bear a strange or wholly mysterious relation to their original acoustic DNA. I am concerned with how these complex textures — often in combination with their instrumental source — can articulate aesthetic, social and political conditions in art-making and beyond. This search for an idiosyncratic material musical language has been grounded in research into psychoacoustics & auditory perception. I have been commissioned by the Sacrum Profanum festival, the SSO, the Bionic Ear Institute, ICE (New York), Adapter (Berlin), Ensemble Phoenix (Basel), Inland, Ensemble Offspring, the STC and the ABC.

Natasha Anderson's work is supported by the Regional Arts Fund.
The Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund is provided through Regional Arts Australia, administered in Victoria by Regional Arts Victoria.




Clare Cooper

Photo credit: Ali Crosby

Clare M. Cooper plays the harp and guzheng, sometimes she tap-dances. She’s passionate about the sociability of sound and its capacity to encourage compassion and radical acts of trust. She gets things started; the NOW now festival of experimental music and film, The Splinter Orchestra and Berlin Splitter Orchester, Smack/Bang Film Soundtrack Festival, and most recently co-founded the Design Activism Workshop, and Frontyard: a non-institutional space experimenting with community futuring and skill-sharing on Gadigal land. Cooper is a proud climate activist, and rank and file union member with the NTEU.




Byron Dean & Polly Stanton

Byron Dean is a sound artist and field recordist based in Narrm Melbourne. Working across acousmatic composition, performance and site-specific sound practice, his works reimagine and negotiate sensory experience of place through field recording, often exploring themes of transformation and polyphony of listening. Drawing relationships between sounds, environments and temporalities, his compositions are concerned with the portrayal and expansion of sonic experience.

Polly Stanton is an artist filmmaker. Her work primarily investigates the relations between environment, human actions, and land use. Sound and listening also play a critical role in Stanton's work, in both the creation and reception of projects; with listening practices and field recordings engaged with as a means to expand vision and consider the unseen elements of place.

Together their separate practices intercept to create multidisciplinary work that spans varying forms of sound and installation practice, experimental film, writing and publication.

(WWW), (WWW)




doktorb is Adrian Lucas Healey, a music producer who has existed on the fringes internet music for the best part of 20 years creating noisy lo-fi found media cut-ups. Stylistically his music straddles the boundaries between noise, vaporwave, (very broken) breakcore and cybergrind (as well as a whole host of other completely made-up genres that may, or may not, have existed online for the blink of an eye). The seeds for this project were planted in the late 90s with Adrian’s discovery of the weird and wonderful world of Usenet. From these formative experiences a lifelong fascination with participatory internet culture grew and Adrian found himself looking for strategies to keep hold of the cultural fragments which captured his imagination. In this sense doktorb exists as a way of processing the mediascape, an experiment in guerrilla archival that diverts the flow of viral content using recontextualization as a strategy for remembering that helps him make sense of the hypermediated world in which he finds himself.




Bec Fary

Photo credit: Clara Slewa

Bec Fary is an audio producer and practice-based researcher living and working on stolen Woi Wurrung and Boonwurrung land in so-called Footscray, Australia. They meditate on sleep, circadian rhythms and the subconscious through their audio project SleepTalker, which originated as an independent podcast and is now a late-night experimental live broadcast on Triple R. Bec’s emerging research and creative practice concerns digital design and the intersections between place, time and listening.




Amy Hanley

Amy Hanley is a sound artist and researcher based in Birrarung-ga (Melbourne). Their practice-based research considers relations of space, bodies, technology and contemporary ecologies. Engaging forms of performance, installation, and collaboration, their work often explores gender, sexuality and queer expression/s. Hanley's practice is interested in listening as an affective practice and the possibilities of sound as a communicator for matter-cultural gestures between human and non-human bodies. They currently work as a sessional tutor at RMIT University's School of Media and Communication.

Hanley was an artist in residence at Bogong Centre for Sound Culture (2020) and was the recipient of the Hearsay International Audio Arts Festival, Best Sound Art Award 2019 (IRE). They have featured work at Screen & Sound Cultures Eco_Media Symposium (2019), Falls Festival (2019), A Night at the Nicholas (2019), Hearsay International Audio Arts Festival (2019), Mapping Melbourne (2018), The Black Box Theatre (2018), The Design Hub (2017), Crack Theatre Festival (2016), Melbourne Meat Markets (2016), 107 Projects (2016).




Patrick Hase & Asher Elazary

Patrick Hase is a media artist/researcher living and working on unceded Wurundjeri land, who specializes in VR, animation and live A/V. His work explores the emotional impact of embodiment in virtual spaces by creating visceral non-mimetic experiences across varying digital platforms.

Asher Elazary is an artist, musician, and composer. He has worked in a variety of live, installation, and record contexts and has a strong interest in interaction, proceduralism, and collaboration to create new multidisciplinary works.

Having previously worked together conducting audiovisual works in physical spaces, Patrick and Asher have instead developed this work entirely through the process of online collaboration.




Sarah Hennies

Photo credit: Walter Wlodarczyk

Sarah Hennies (b. 1979, Louisville, KY) is a composer based in upstate New York whose work is concerned with a variety of musical, sociopolitical, and psychological issues including queer & trans identity, love, intimacy, psychoacoustics, and percussion. She is primarily a composer of small chamber works, but is also active in improvisation, film, performance art, and dance. She presents her work internationally as both a composer and percussionist with notable performances at Le Guess Who (Utrecht), Festival Cable (Nantes), send + receive (Winnipeg), O’ Art Space (Milan), The OBEY Convention (Halifax), Cafe Oto (London), ALICE (Copenhagen), and the Edition Festival (Stockholm). As a composer, she has received commissions across a wide array of performers and ensembles including Bearthoven, Bent Duo, Cristian Alvear, Claire Chase, R. Andrew Lee (Denver), LIMINAR, Thin Edge New Music Collective, Two-Way Street, and Yarn/Wire.

Her ground breaking audio-visual work Contralto (2017) explores transfeminine identity through the elements of “voice feminization” therapy, featuring a cast of transgender women accompanied by a dense and varied musical score for string quartet and three percussionists. The work has been in high demand since its premiere, with numerous performances taking place around North America, Europe, and Australia and was one of four finalists for the 2019 Queer|Art Prize.

She is the recipient of a 2019 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award, a 2016 fellowship in music/sound from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and has received additional support from New Music USA, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County.

Sarah is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Bard College.




Kiernan Ironfield

Photo credit: Natalie Ironfield

Kiernan Ironfield is a Dharug man and self taught Yidaki player. Through his music Kiernan creates spaces for to explore thoughts and be lead by the vibrations of the Yidaki. Kiernan acknowledges the Yolngu people as custodians of the Yidaki and the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation whose land he lives upon.




Lucy Liyou

Philadelphia-based artist Lucy Liyou synthesizes field recordings, text-to-speech readings, poetry, and elements from Korean folk opera into sonic narratives that explore the quotidian implications of Orientalism and Westernization. Though their music reflects the work of genres such as post-industrial and musique-concrète, Lucy Liyou is greatly influenced by audiobooks as well as music from the Impressionist period and Neoclassical period. Lucy Liyou’s debut project A Hope I Had, which caught the attention of South London based artist Klein, was a sonic examination of hereditary depression in Asian families. Their following and most recent project Welfare, which was released in March through Klein’s label ijn inc., is an ambitious analysis of the colonialist concept of self-care.




Mara Schwerdtfeger

Photo credit: Zoe Baumgartner

Mara Schwerdtfeger is a sound artist and composer creating performed pieces and commissioned soundtracks for dance, film, and installations. Her practice explores the crossover between physical and digital environments through the use of field recording and digital manipulation.

She holds a Bachelor of Design (Digital Media) from RMIT and attended LungA School where she collaborated with peers on weekly exhibitions creating and curating an array of works. Having studied violin from the age of four Mara completed her Viola AmusA in 2016 and performs in multiple bands and duos as well as solo.

Mara has been commissioned by SIGNAL, where she took the opportunity to expand her work exploring sound ecologies and multichannel sound installation, culminating in the piece Unrecognised Interference. Other projects have included collaborations with filmmaker Veronica Charmont (Specular, 2019; Bunset Soulevard, 2019), dancer Angela Valdez (Breathe, 2018; Of Space and Time, 2019) and ceramicists Lotte Schwerdtfeger (Autonomous Objects, 2018; Map (Onishi), 2017) and Sassy Park (Sailor Pete, 2020). She currently works with Liquid Architecture producing their podcast series.




Tom Smith

Tom Smith is a Melbourne-based artist, musician and researcher. His practice combines performance, video, electronic music, curatorial projects and critical writing. Tom’s work is concerned with the politics of creative economies, generic digital aesthetics, ambivalent affect and music as mode of critical inquiry. Tom’s work explores the tyranny and poetics of computational systems and other technology through eerie video assemblages and live performances of digital work routines and aesthetic production. Tom is also one half of production duo Utility, and runs an independent record label called Sumactrac with Jarred Beeler (DJ Plead) and Jon Watts.

Tom has completed a PhD through UNSW Art & Design, and teaches in the School of Design at the RMIT Melbourne. Tom’s works have been exhibited and/or performed at institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney), National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne), Central Academy of Fine Arts (Beijing), Nasjonalmuseet (Oslo), Floating Projects (Hong Kong), Goldsmiths College (London), Firstdraft Gallery (Sydney), Queensland University Art Museum (Brisbane), Alaska Projects (Sydney) and Blindside Gallery (Melbourne).




Splinter Orchestra

Splinter is a radically inclusive large-scale improvising orchestra that has been a forum for listening and sounding together for well over 100 exploratory musicians and sound artists living in or passing through Sydney for 2 decades. Currently we have a diverse membership of roughly 25. Our process of co-creation and the resulting music is probably best left undefined — amorphous and ephemeral qualities being inherent to the project — but we can say that playing is the group’s fundamental activity. We meet weekly, with ever-fluctuating line-ups, to do just that. Much of our public work in the last few years has been an exploration of ‘choreographed’ play in vast spaces, particularly outdoors, including Mungo National Park, Bundanon and The Pilliga, where we listen, move, sound and record, (and then listen back to the inscribed phenomena on our apparatus). In recent years we’ve developed an interest in sound installations, consisting of self-playing instruments, interactive sound-sculptures, visual and text provocations, sound devices and more. The elements of these ‘Splintstallations’, just like the many voices of Splinter, work together, sometimes in parallel, sometimes intersecting.

"Every Splinter Orchestra performance unfolds a unique improvisational sonic ecology combining highly developed music skills with thoroughly experimental sound-making and an intuitive compositional repertoire built from years of collective engagement. The entire space becomes a stage for performers and audience alike to wander, carrying their generative or listening attentions amongst, between and through an evolving sonic unknown.”
– Gary Warner, 2017

Splinters (past and present)

April Fonti - cello, Adam Sussman - acoustic guitar, Michael Sheridan - electric guitar, Clayton Thomas - double bass, Mike Majkowski - double bass, Rory Brown - double bass, Clare Cooper - guzheng/harp, Ben Gerard - piano, Jeff Henderson – saxes, Chris Abrahams - keyboard, Amanda Stewart - voice and text, Matt Earle - electronics, Martin Ng - turntables, Dave Goodman - drums, Nylstoch - electric guitar, Robbie Avenaim - percussion, Chris Burke - tenor sax, Jim Denley - flutes, Reuben Derrick - tenor sax, Matt Ottignon - clarinet and tenor sax, Darren Moore - percussion, Cor Fuhler - piano, Jo Derrick - trumpet, Dale Gorfinkel - vibes, Milica Stefanovic - electric bass, Luke Callaghan - laptop, Inge Olmheim - electronics, Peter Farrar - alto sax, Karen Booth - alto sax, Abel Cross - electric bass, Alex Masso - drums, Paul Taylor - percussion, Tom Fielding - tenor sax, Ian Pieterse - baritone sax, Simon Ferenci - trumpet, Monica Brooks - accordion, Emily Morandini - computer, Daniel Whiting - laptop, Shannon O'Neil - synthesiser, Kahtsee - percussion, Ben Byrne - electronics, Lloyd Honeybrook - alto sax, Gerard Crewdson - trombone, Finn Ryan - drums, Cass McGlynn - horn, Alex Davies - electronics, Jamie Fennelly - harmonium, Mirabai Peart - violin, Sam Dobson - double bass, Grant Arthur - trombone and banjo, Aemon Webb - guitar, David Green - shakuhachi + laptop, Rivka Schembri - cello, Laura Altman - clarinet, Melanie Herbert - violin, Tony Osborne - vocals and electronics, Dan Whiting - laptop, Andrew Fedorovitch - alto sax and little instruments, Josh Isaac - percussion, Dominik Krupinski - guitar, Sam Pettigrew - double bass, John Wilton - percussion, Drew Bourgeois - percussion, Heather Shannon - violin, Tim Wall - clarinet, Emily McDaniel - laptop, Tom Wade - double bass, Romy Caen - harmonium and electronics, Gail Priest - laptop, Alison Cachia - violin, Rishin Singh - trombone, Jordan Dorjee - turntable, Jack Dibben - guitar, Jon Watts - electronics, Shota Matsumura - trumpet +, Sonya Holowell - voice, Alon Ilsar - percussion, Martin Kirkwood - electronics, Marcus Whale - voice and electronics, Alexandra Spence - clarinet and electronics, Brianne Curran - violin, Andrew Brooks - alto sax and laptop, Alicia Kahn - clarinet, Joe Cummins - trumpet, Jeremy Tartar - flute, Helen Nehil - recorders, Tim Cunningham - guitar, Nadine Pita - violin, Cecile Roux - Cello, Danielle Zorbas - clarinet, Julia Reidy - guitar, Marco Cheng - guitar, Bonnie Stewart - percussion, Weizen Ho - little instruments/ movement, Yvonne Lam - percussion, Easter Toru - drums, Jack Stoneman - alto sax and computer, Sam Gill - alto sax, Luiz Gubeissi - electric and double bass, Maximillian Alduca - double bass, Prue Fuller - recorder, voice, objects, Axel Powrie - flutes, alto clarinet, objects, Adam Gottlieb - guitar / objects, Mel Eden - voice, text and electronics, Ruby Everett - alto sax, Mimi Kind - installations, Rhys Mottley - guitar and clarinets, Clara Pitt - flutes, Hannah Kim - percussion, Bárbara Guzmán-Galeb - voice and laptop, Nick Ashwood - guitar, Charlie Sundborn - alto sax, Solly Frank - clarinet and mouthshocks, Johannes MacDonald - flutes, Joshua Winestock - guitar, Phoebe Bognar - flute




Jon Tjhia

Photo credit: Tom Ross

Jon Tjhia is a radio maker, musician, artist and writer. He is the co-founder of the podcast Paper Radio, the co-editor of the Australian Audio Guide and the Wheeler Centre’s senior digital editor.

His audibles have been broadcast on radio stations around the anglosphere, at Manchester Literature Festival and the Barbican (UK), on stage at Sydney Opera House and Arts Centre Melbourne, on the podcasts Short Cuts and The Truth; and written about in The New Yorker, The Wire and The Age. He is a former member of bands including Speed Painters, ii, Aleks and the Ramps and others.

With the Wheeler Centre, Jon was part of the team that produced the series Better Off Dead (2016) and the multi-award winning series The Messenger, a collaboration with Behind the Wire. The latter documents the life of Abdul Aziz Muhamat, a Sudanese refugee living in immigration detention in Papua New Guinea.

‘how are you today’, a collaborative sound work involving men detained on Manus Island, recently appeared as part of Eavesdropping at City Gallery (Wellington) and The Shouting Valley at Gus Fisher Gallery (Auckland), after first appearing in Eavesdropping at the Ian Potter Museum of Art in Melbourne. ‘Thing-Like', an installation, recently appeared in Resonant Bodies at Toronto Media Arts Centre.


Avantwhatever 2020
Avantwhatever 2020
Avantwhatever 2020
July 8–12, 2020


Natasha Anderson, an n/a AV

CGI portrait of grey haired figure from Natasha Anderson's an n/a

the machine is nowhere to be found, but everywhere to be felt
– Todd Hoffman

Rather than just record what I would have done live, I decided to make something for the internet. I've been harbouring a fascination with the likes of @lilmiquela and @shudu.gram, instagram influencers with millions of followers who, despite their professed hangovers and emotional posts, are unreal, computer-generated avatars. Unstable, porous borders between identity and reality, subject and object, have always intrigued. Where this eerie materiality — uncertainly both technological and corporeal — meets the capitalist machine of social media is where this work begins. Using Instagram as the frame, I'm wondering if a Flickr film technique of alternating image and black, together with shifting loops of acoustic & electronically-processed sound, will work to fill the after-image effect of the black frames with weird materiality. After all, on a laptop or phone, more likely than not it's the viewer's own gaze that stares back at them, mingling with the screen's smears. Foregrounding a materiality that disappears as representation becomes rendered elsewhere, the pulsing repetition of the loops and the Flickr film merge into clicks between posts. In those black moments, do we witness our own absence?...

Natasha Anderson's work is supported by the Regional Arts Fund.
The Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund is provided through Regional Arts Australia, administered in Victoria by Regional Arts Victoria.

Byron Dean & Polly Stanton, Propositions for Listening AV

Shot of a wind turbine at Hepburn Community Wind Park from Byron Dean and Polly Stanton

Propositions for Listening is a browser-based sound work that explores the contingent moments of fieldwork as a generative space of listenings. Drawing from field research undertaken during an artist residency at the Hepburn Wind farm in Victoria Australia, the work presents the field as an assemblage of networks between bodies and events, revealing the multilayered transformation of local phenomena. Juxtaposing sound, text and imagery as a shifting and iterative articulation, Propositions for Listening situates fieldwork as a productive space of knowledge making - where interplays and relationships coincide to make something new.

This work was created on the unceded territory of the Dja Dja Wurrung people. The artists acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

Bec Fary, Local Time Audio

A stereo pair of microphones recording pointed out a warehouse door in Yarraville, Melbourne as a truck drives past

‘Local Time’ is a durational listening experience exploring the presence and absence inherent in place-based sound. Over the past year, I’ve been deep listening and gathering field recordings in my local area, on Woi Wurrung and Boonwurrung land in and around so-called Footscray and Melbourne’s inner West. These listenings explore sonorous urban environments — public space, wildlife, regenerated vegetation and echoes of everyday industrial and domestic noise.

Longform field recordings — interspersed with perceived sonic microdisturbances and interruptive temporalities — will be programmed algorithmically to play overnight (in the UTC+10 timezone). Through these acoustic entanglements, ‘Local Time’ unfolds the complex interrelations between a recordist and a place, and their human and non-human neighbours.

Patrick Hase & Asher Elazary, Object Animacy Interactive

A pixelated image of what appears to be digital slime mould growing over a surface, from Patrick Hase & Asher Elazary's Object Animacy

Object Animacy is a tactile audiovisual web app developed to interact with digital slime mould. The site prompts the user through calibration of a personal interface agent, providing a custom feel for communicating with non-human intelligences.

Mara Schwerdtfeger, I Can Still Hear the Strong Winds Outside Audio

Black screen with the text, 'I can still hear the strong winds outside', from Mara Schwerdtfeger's work of the same name

I Can Still Hear the Strong Winds Outside emerged from a place of frustration. While making field recordings in the East Fjords of Iceland, the continuous wind infiltrated and obstructed sounds that were, at the same time, being generated by the wind. Drawing inspiration from Norse Mythology,I Can Still Hear the Strong Winds Outside embraces the wind as an anthropomorphised element; a performer of the earth’s surface. Similar to the god of the North Wind, Kári, the wind becomes a singer and an activator of sound. Using field recordings and electronic music techniques, the sounds have been translated from physical movement into chance composition via code. I Can Still Hear the Strong Winds Outside shifts into the inner sound space of the winds forthright presence, pulling them apart both digitally and musically. By placing this new environment within a webpage and having the physical experience of wearing headphones, what is inside or outside becomes confused. Allowing the wind to be understood as a performer gives a greater spectrum to how it is felt and heard. It is awakening the sounds around us.

Tom Smith, Core Principles Interactive

Still from Tom Smith's Core Principles featuring two windows on a white background, one showing an image from an anime and the other a computer desktop

Core Principles is a taxonomy of movements essential to everyday life and functioning in digital environments; a typology of actions synonymous with platformed existence. Core Principles draws on the scientific management techniques of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, contemporaries of Frederick Winslow Taylor. In the 1910s Gilbreth compiled a series of 'motion studies’ designed to optimise the movements of workers and maximise their productivity. Core Principles transposes the Gilbreth’s motions into the always already optimised field of digital labour. Core Principles takes inspiration from a long history of documentary filmmaking depicting everyday labour, including the Lumiére Brothers' Workers Leaving the Factory, Louis Malle’s Humain, trop Humain, Jean Luc Godard’s British Sounds, and Harun Farocki and Antje Ehmann’s Labour in a Single Shot.

Wed, July 8 20

20:0020:30 AEST (UTC +10)

Welcome to Avantwhatever Festival 2020!

This event is organised from the unceded country of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation.

We pay our respect to their elders, past, present and future, as well as to the elders of their neighbours in the Kulin Nation, to the elders of indigenous peoples around the world on whose land, air and sea this festival takes place, and the elders of all communities.

This third edition of Avantwhatever Festival listens in to sonic ways of being in the world, of living a life connected to but distanced from others, human and otherwise.

Avantwhatever is organised from the inner-city of Melbourne, Australia, which as many will know is currently under lockdown due to an ongoing rise in coronavirus infections.

Those of us here face the strange reality of understanding both the seriousness of our situations, and that many others, here and elsewhere, have faced and continue to face far greater hardship and risk.

Our thoughts are with everyone - all of you reading this around the world, your loved ones and those you've never met.

The artists, designers and musicians taking part in this festival are all critical listeners who approach listening as a creative, vital act.

The works included here listen variously to unheard human voices, memories, and experiences of isolation, to platform capitalism and the detritus of mainstream internet culture, to the country on which we live and depend, and for the future and what it could be.

This listening, shared, is a way of life, a way of taking action, politically and socially as well as aesthetically.

The festival is free and open to all from this website, supported by the Australia Council for the Arts and powered by renewable energy and free, ethical and open source software - five days of live performances, browser based interactive and procedural works, AV premieres, conversations and more.

Check out all the '24 hour' works at your leisure, and be here for all the timed events - they'll takeover avantwhatever.com and then be available on demand, with the AV premieres and screening simulcast on Youtube. You can use our video chat server to see who is around in the Festival Club too, or to catch up with friends near and far by creating your own meeting room.

Stay safe and thank you all for listening

Ben Byrne

21:3022:00 AEST (UTC +10)
Tom Smith, Core Principles (Live)

Still from Tom Smith's Core Principles featuring two windows on a white background, one showing an image from an anime and the other a computer desktop

Core Principles is a taxonomy of movements essential to everyday life and functioning in digital environments; a typology of actions synonymous with platformed existence. Core Principles draws on the scientific management techniques of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, contemporaries of Frederick Winslow Taylor. In the 1910s Gilbreth compiled a series of 'motion studies’ designed to optimise the movements of workers and maximise their productivity. Core Principles transposes the Gilbreth’s motions into the always already optimised field of digital labour. Core Principles takes inspiration from a long history of documentary filmmaking depicting everyday labour, including the Lumiére Brothers' Workers Leaving the Factory, Louis Malle’s Humain, trop Humain, Jean Luc Godard’s British Sounds, and Harun Farocki and Antje Ehmann’s Labour in a Single Shot.

Thurs, July 9 20

21:3022:30 AEST (UTC +10)
Sarah Hennies, Contralto

Portrait of Alexandra Brandon in Sarah Hennies' Contralto
Alexandra Brandon in Contralto

‘Contralto’ is a one-hour work for video, strings, and percussion that exists in between the spaces of experimental music and documentary. The piece features a cast of transgender women speaking, singing, and performing vocal exercises accompanied by a dense and varied musical score that includes a variety of conventional and "non-musical" approaches to sound-making.

When a transgender man begins taking testosterone it causes his vocal cords to thicken and his voice deepens and drops into the so-called "masculine range." It is not widely known, however, that trans women's voices are unaffected by higher levels of estrogen in the body. Being a woman with a "male voice" creates a variety of difficult situations for trans women including prolonged and intensified dysphoria and higher risk of harassment and violence due to possibly exposing someone as trans unintentionally.

‘Contralto’ – defined in musical terms as "the lowest female singing voice" – uses the sound of trans women's voices to explore transfeminine identity from the inside and examines the intimate and peculiar relationship between gender and sound.

‘Contralto’ stars Julie Ashkin, Alexandra Brandon, Alyssa Green, Anna McCormick, Dreia Spies, Sarang Umarji, and Josie Zanfordino and was premiered at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, NY on November 30, 2017. The musical score was performed by Erik Carlson (violin), Wendy Richman (viola), T.J. Borden (cello), James Ilgenfritz (contrabass), Tim Feeney, Greg Stuart, and Ashley Tini (percussion).

22:3023:30 AEST (UTC +10)
Sarah Hennies, Q&A

Portrait of composer and percussionist Sarah Hennies

Live video chat Q&A with Sarah Hennies.

Fri, July 10 20

  • 21:3022:30 AEST (UTC +10)
    Lucy Liyou, Hey Jackie(more)

    Hey Jackie, reminds me of the word “empathy.” I think I am okay with that for now.

    Jon Tjhia, Division Exercises(more)
    Close up of Jon Tjhia with his hand covering his face apart from one eye, which is looking to camera, and a button underneath that says '$4.38 Buy'
    Photo credit: Apple Music

    I often feel trapped between opposing mindsets. To challenge, or to please? To indulge beauty, or be suspicious of its power? I love abstraction and expansion; especially if it speaks directly, simply and plainly. (I’m even ambivalent about the idea of opposing mindsets.)

    How do we deal with all the choices we face each day? How do we make sense of so much information and possibility? Are rules what enable us to hold it all together?

    I play with, and try to make sense of, these contradictions. The work I do or make – usually as radio-music, writing or video (or a combination; I consider them all forms of writing) – draws energy from the tension between expectation and experience. My pieces are often irreverent and emotional. I keep returning to the voice, and to speech, and how seemingly incomplete things leave spaces that we can barely resist resolving. Is discomfort important or useful?

    In sound, particularly, I’m also interested in the conventions of forms and genres. Beginning as a musician, I’ve often conjoined ‘pop’ and ‘experimental’ approaches. More recently, I’ve started to work with installations – which offer different opportunities to think about physical experiences of listening, attention and power.

    doktorb, Ultimate Cringe Compilation(more)
    Still of a cat in blurred movement from doktorb's Ultimate Cringe Compilation

    ‘Ultimate Cringe Compilation’ is an admission of defeat, it is the acceptance that follows the depression of knowing we will probably never log off ever again. A project that is equal parts archaeology, structural engineering and curation, ‘Ultimate Cringe Compilation’ asks the question - if the internet is made of cats, what the heck is holding our feline friends together in place? The result is a celebration of cursed media. Welcome to every celebrity self-own, public meltdown, influencer war, troll feeding frenzy and hashtag apocalypse we’re secretly obsessed by (but swear publicly we aren’t stupid enough to care about). Take a virtual seat, sit back, relax and let the agglomerated humiliation of everyone’s accidental internet fame wash over you in a tidal wave of viral effluence. We hope you stay to enjoy the schadenfreude.

  • PremiereAV

Sat, July 11 20

09:0011:00 AEST (UTC +10)
Clare Cooper, Braiding Sound, Community & Climate Futures
LiveFuturing WorkshopRegistration required - booked out (more)

Top down shot of Clare Cooper and a group of workshop participants outside, materials at their feet
Photo credit: Paul Sutton

In an ever-growing culture of survivalism, the forums and platforms for listening – to one another, to data, to sidelined and dissenting voices – are designed, obstructed, sold off, and white-anted with or without our knowing. Pro-active connection and learning through listening, and skilling-up in our modes of amplification of dissenting signals will become increasingly vital as the reverberations of climate crisis are felt.

“Screw you for asking us to plot and plan in a storm of curve balls”

Sure, fair. But whether we are making sounds, or selecting signals, we are implicated and called to act. Maybe more now than ever before.

Around us there are headphones, a cavernous auditorium, a zoom invite, a garden, a black mirror, a stinky basement club, radio waves, and there is an old felt hat with some coins in it. What aspects of our existing (albeit some non-accessible) spaces, platforms, archives and forums are lifelines and connectors? What can be salvaged, what needs to die, and what can we actively advocate for or build together?

In this workshop sound, community and climate are braided. Some of the meta-materials we will draw on are radio waves, eardrums, criminalised movement, vibration, cultural diplomacy, concerts, renewable energy, sound files, bioregionalism, archives, graphic scores, biodiversity, oil, performance, tape, public health, landfill, doughnut economics, the internet, resource wars, electioneering, permaculture, tyrannical politics, emergent activism.

  • 21:3022:30 AEST (UTC +10)
    Ryoko Akama, 始末 (shimatsu)(more)
    Close up image of an old, industrial looking analogue clock being set with two hands from a shimatsu performance by Ryoko Akama

    始末 (shimatsu) 07

    i.e. beginning + ending
    cleaning up
    getting rid of
    ( usually bad ) end result

    This is the 7th of this solo performance series, shimatsu 始末 performed and recorded in her studio in Huddersfield, UK. The camera captures contraptions made out of found objects kinetically animated by electronic devices or natural phenomenon, creating a subtle, sometimes violently silent, listening situation.

    Amy Hanley, Bloom: We're Going to Die(more)
    Still of mysterious white detail on black from Amy Hanley's Bloom: We're Going to Die

    This work is for thinking about your death. My death – they/them – us, death.
    It is one for the sensual cycle of carbon and humans-in-waiting.

    It begins with the individuation that resonates inside the saliva of the colonial capitalist skull.
    Sonorous shadows made tall by the father tongue; divides the throb into a single pulse. This happened long before we arrived (t)here. It cuts the causality of gesture, divides, distances,

    This is a work for thinking about the inversion of extinction; flowers turning earthward.
    The necro-gardens of our species. How does your virus grow?
    (Re)mixed temporalities and the ouroboric bruise between brows. Quite contrary.
    The viral copy. The eco-techno, the unmaking of the earth, the mark without you, I, we, us.

    How does your virus grow?
    It is one for the cyber-fractals, the metabolising reactions; proteins and chaining stems.
    A return to the (w)hole, from the separation of gesture, from the sum of nothing.

    Many people take great pleasure in their garden.
    The corporal passing, data mine, the carbon blooming.

    Bloom; and the blood will expand.
    Extinction is, I promise - we’re going to die.

    Kiernan Ironfield, Breath(more)
    Still of lightly clouded blue sky from Kiernan Ironfield's Breath

    Our breath fuels our future, some use their breath for capitalistic gain and to inflict pain
    My breath is taking place on Kulin Land, I acknowledge and pay respect
    to their elders past and present. I acknowledge keepers of the Yidaki and pay my respect to the
    Yolngu people.
    This land always was, always will be Blak land.
    I am a Dharug man and I'm occupying my white skin in defiance of the white gaze.
    My skin gives me privilege, my blood gives me direction.
    The State and their policy enforcers steal breath from Black people world wide, this must be stopped
    I admire the First Nation womxn who fight ruthlessly for justice and sovereignty
    May we all take their lead and use our breath for the fight against white supremacy
    This is my breath

  • PremiereAV

Sun, July 12 20

15:0016:30 AEST (UTC +10)
Splinter Orchestra, Gesture & Suerte
PremiereAV (more)

Screen capture of Splinter Orchestra improvising in gallery view of Zoom video conferencing software

Splinter has always co-created in specific locations, at specific times — place was woven into the phenomena we were interested in. Our last major recording projects in Mungo National Park, Bundanon and The Pilliga, were all created in, and braided with highly charged soundscapes. The context and subject matter of these works went beyond the group’s music to intra-act with the geophony and biophony of our locations.

Since the onset of the pandemic lockdown we’ve continued to meet weekly, socialising and playing in the non-place of online platforms with the interruptively low-fi, voice-sensitive-algorithmic-gating, and the default camera/box selfie to aid or impede vision. Mid May when we write this, we’re up to week 8. It’s a platform of limitations, unintended for the sensual and immersive qualities of normal music-making. Limited packets of digital information sketch multiplicitous space/times, out-of-sync with any one member’s reality — but it’s a space to meet.

We always knew sociality was a major factor in our play, and torn apart by the virus, we’ve come together into digital sandpits to muck about and be together. We are discovering, that stripped of earthly location, social space is the place. Splinter will present for Avantwhatever an audio/visual work set in Non-Place, but maybe we can say, emplaced in Splinter love?

Recorded by the artists simultaneously in multiple locations 14th June 2020
Audio mixed by Jim Denley
Video mixed by Bárbara Guzmán-Galeb
Produced by Splinter

Curly sub-frequency relishment - Maximillian Alduca (Marrickville)
Succulent teal clarinet feedback - Laura Altman (Dulwich Hill)
Pitched dark acoustic guitar - Nick Ashwood (Tempe)
Magenta poulet flutie yelps - Phoebe Bognár (Petersham)
Oscillating harmonium hat visions - Romy Caen (Marrickville)
Trumpet peep from orange cave - Joseph Derrick (Dangar Island)
B+W wind-sparkings flocked by avians - Jim Denley (Potts Point)
Blackboarding vaudevillian vox - Mel Eden (Alexandria)
Sizzling coffee concoctions - Peter Farrar (Dulwich Hill)
Crimson flowerface sinetones - Andrew Fedorovitch (Dulwich Hill)
Cute-arsed hose/mouth explorer - Solomon Frank (Cremorne)
Aluminium head bellringer - Cor Fuhler (Turramurra)
Rambling rainforest bunyip - Adam Gottlieb (Mt Irvine)
Hispanic lens whisperer - Bárbara Guzmán-Galeb (La Serena, Chile)
Holographic reef violinist - Melanie Herbert (Summer Hill)
Cat cam - Little Pat Altman (Dulwich Hill) 
Trek dream-coated bass clarinet - Rhys Mottley (Marrickville)
Hi-lo electro office song - Tony Osborne (Balmain)
Tea cups 'n sand dune Irish/Aotearoan percussion - Bonnie Stewart (Te Pahu, Aotearoa)
Night-riding electric guitarist - Joshua Winestock (Glebe)

Unknowing dance collaboration - Clara Pitt (On File)
Thanks to Dale Gorfinkel and Shota Matsumura