Audio conceptual artists Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey trace their fascination with sound to the fact they both spent their childhoods in the country.
‘I grew up on a wheat and sheep farm,’ Maddie says. ‘It was part of any rural kid growing up; you’d know the neighbour’s car, you know the sound of their car, you’d know how fast they're travelling from the sound of their car so you’d know the urgency of their movement. There's a lot of understanding of locating yourself through sound and a connection to your place through sound.’
That interest in sound, and the possibilities it presents, led them both to become musicians and to each other – they first met at a band audition back in 1993. As a couple their interests evolved to incorporate sound art that aims to ‘create unusual situations for listening’. Their work has included installations and pieces that have toured throughout Australia and overseas, such as Five Short Blasts, which sees audience members take part in a flotilla whilst listening to a broadcast of sound and stories specific to the area.
‘What we're trying to do is make spaces that come through a set of investigations or research processes or obsessions or something from us, and we then create and offer the space for people to be in. The completion of that is what happens for an audience,’ Tim says.
This year is the first time Maddie and Tim have been involved in the Victorian Seniors Festival, with their work deliberately intergenerational. During this Covid19 period, Maddie and Tim have been isolating with Winnie and Acacia, part of their family. As a group of four artists across four decades, they have created this piece, Waver, which arises from their time together.
‘A motivator is around creating situations for people who may not encounter each other in their everyday lives,’ Maddie says.
‘I think when we bring groups of people together, who don't normally come together, then immediately we begin from a position of an expanded understanding of who we are as a community. It’s an inclusive thing and the more inclusive it is, the greater possibilities for art and audiences.’
Watch their 2020 Victorian Seniors Festival reimagined performance.