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Signalling the tide, grounded in the rock

Four-channel sound installation
10 minute loop

"I see and hear life as a grand improvisation. Quantum Listening is listening in as many ways as possible simultaneously – changing and being changed by listening... [staying] open to the world of possibilities for interplay in the quantum field with self and others – community – society – the world – the universe and beyond."[1]

Out of sight, beyond the threshold of everyday human perception, between hearing and listening, there is an incredible volume of happenings taking place around us.


This work explores the vibrant mesh of geological and ecological relationships within Waiwera beach’s liminal tidal zone, and the unseen non-human relationships at work beyond human awareness. Nestled between the mouth of the Waiwera River and the coast’s ancient, stratified sandstone cliffs, this geothermal town is one of constant environmental change and liveliness. Documented at low tide in an area of shore only accessible during this time, these listenings capture a brief but endlessly complex moment within the beach’s history.

The work was recorded with the use of contact microphones — a medium that translates physical rather than air vibration into sound. These listenings make audible the movements amongst, within and across this place as felt by its geological entities, and the movement of its non-human inhabitants amongst them. Among those recorded are the footsteps of hermit crabs, the slow erosion of sandstone against the wind, the hush of sand against the incoming tide, a small migration of sea snails...

In technologically mediating this vibrant coastal ecology as a mesh of interconnected sound from the perspective of its abiotic entities, I draw attention to the cacophony of tiny ecological happenings at work; and in listening deeply, reflect on the complexity of existence beyond our perception, of which we are but one part.


I invite you to spend time with the recordings and to listen to the assemblage of voices present.

[1] Pauline Oliveros, in “The difference between hearing and listening | Pauline Oliveros | TEDxIndianapolis”, 11:37, YouTube video, November 13 2015,

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