The Still Water project takes outcomes and processes from Henri's visual art practice and my composition and practice, and presents them in a performance. Integral to the structure of the work is collaborative improvisation. Each artist responds to the other's input, and this in turn affects the performance and finished work. The finished products of the work are (a) a performance for an audience, (b) a new work-on-paper, and (c) a sound recording.

Henri van Noordenburg's work is created by 'drawing' with a scalpal on black-inked paper. It's a visceral and audible action that's usually hidden in the art studio, relegated to 'production' or 'manufacture' of the work. This collaboration leverages the physical and aural aspects of 'making' as key to the work itself.

For my part, I use a contact microphone to amplify the sound of Henri's actions, and transform this within my digital performance system. I create rhythms and melodies based on Henri's movements, responding with tonal and textural elements. He hears these sounds and this in turn changes the way he makes the work.

Key to my own practice is the incorporation of field recordings. For each performance of Still Water, I capture recordings of the environment in which the performance takes place. This ensures we ground the work in the sonic environment in which it occurs. It also gives the audience an opportunity to reconnect with, or recontextualise, sounds they may have become accustomed to ignoring.


In January 2022 I was privileged to travel and perform with Henri at the opening of his exhibition in Miles, Westen Queensland. This small regional town has been transformed multiple times, through agriculture, mining and now coal seam gas extraction. Each iteration has marked the environment surrounding the town.

For this performance, I captured the sound of Caliguel Lagoon at dawn, and sampled a set of original Condamine Bells. Injected into the soundscape, these hyper-local sounds gave aural context to the performance.

The performance took place at the Western Downs Regional Gallery, called Dogwood Crossing. You can listen to the performance, and see the finished work, below.


Late in 2022 we performed Still Water in Meanjin (Brisbane) at a Queensland Artists event. The venue had views across the dense urban environment of the state capital. And for this performance I featured the sounds of nearby rainforest at Mount Nebo, including Whip Birds, that would have once found a home where the city is today.