Pulse of the Wetland is investigating the ecological dynamics and rhythms of the Macquarie Marshes as they recover from prolonged drought and fire. Using historical and academic research, on-site documentation using sound and video, and community stories – weaving the synchronous narratives into a body of digital works. The lead creative is Kim V. Goldsmith.
On-site documentation started in February 2020 to gather baseline recordings before water entered the system, the Macquarie Marshes Environmental Trust providing access to the property, “Burrima”, that sits on the western boundary of the Northern Marsh. Other sites along the lower Macquarie and the recognised Marsh area will also be investigated throughout 2020.
Desktop reading and research is ongoing, taking in everything from the journals of the colonial explorers, to published research by wetland scientists. As with past projects, this reading and the questions put to various field specialist contacts established throughout the project, is to inform how the videos and audio recorders are used in the field. It also provides context and explanations for what may be captured and used in final works, much of it documented in the processes captured on this website.
Stories gathered from those with connections to the Macquarie Marshes aim to bring to light the emotional connections that underpin the value attributed to this landscape. Values often not rooted in economics or science but more closely connected with a spirituality associated with a land known, or one is seeking to know, intimately. These stories will be part of a Story Map and recordings woven into the works that come from year-long documentation.
To deny there’s a strong political current swirling around the Marshes would be naive. The project, while acknowledging strong positions are held by various parties, will not enter into the debate. All offers of assistance to make this project happen have been gratefully accepted. The project acknowledges the Macquarie Marshes are on the lands of the Wayilwan people and as such the relevant permissions are being sought in keeping with Aboriginal cultural protocols.
The resulting works will attempt to show the wetlands in a way they are not normally experienced, using digital technologies to present the ecological complexities of the landscape and the processes within it. The personal stories woven into the works are designed to highlight the emotional connection to area held by so many, and shared hopes for its future.
Recording technology being used in Pulse of the Wetland includes:
- Olympus Tough Tracker camera for underwater time-lapse and video
- Stealth Cam 4K infrared field camera for night-time time-lapse and video
- Mavic Pro drone for low-level video
- Garmin Virb 360 video camera
- Panasonic Lumix DCM-LX100 for time-lapse
- Panasonic GH4 for time-lapse and video
- Canon EOS 60D for stills photography
- Zoom H2n 360 audio recorder for spatially atmospheric recordings
- Zoom F6 and H6 audio recorders with following mics –
- Hydrophones (pair) for underwater audio
- Contact microphones (pair) for vibrational recordings
- Shotgun microphone – directional sound
- RODE lavalier microphones (pair) in binaural configuration
- AudioMoth acoustic field recorder for durational atomospheric recordings
Timeline (for planning purposes only):
STAGE 1 self-funded with in-kind assistance from Macquarie Marshes Environmental Trust & RiverSmart
January – June: preliminary reading/research, baseline recordings & first autumn recordings
STAGE 2 funded by RAF NSW Quick Response Grant
July – August: winter field trips (multiple sites) and story gathering
September – November: spring field trips (multiple sites)
POST-PRODUCTION/PRESENTATION to be funded by crowdfunding campaign
November 2020 – February 2021: Post-production
March 2021: Community presentations in partnership with Outback Arts
April 2021 – : International exhibitions in collaboration with Arts Territory Exchange
This project was made possible through a Quick Response Grant provided by Regional Arts NSW through the Regional Arts Fund, an Australian Government initiative supporting the arts in regional, remote and very remote Australia. Quicks funding will support time in the field over winter and spring 2020 and the gathering of stories.