Tristan Louth-Robins

Compression

Sunroom Studio | October - December 2018

As a sound artist Louth–Robins’ practice has been concerned with exploring the relationship between the natural world and human activity. Prior to commencing as resident artist at Sauerbier House, the artist committed his weekends to following and documenting the Onkaparinga /Ngangkiparri River from its source in the Adelaide Hills to its meeting with the sea at Port Noarlunga.

At almost every stop along the river journey the presence of human activity was evident. In spite of the remoteness of any given locality, the environment where the river passed through seemed constantly impinged upon. A relative quiet would be interrupted by a mechanical din; the riverbank polluted by the accumulation of plastic detritus. With his sound equipment, camera, and notebook in hand Louth-Robins would observe and document these dynamics.

Upon arriving at Sauerbier House to commence the residency, the impact of this previously observed dynamic intensified significantly. Wandering across tracts of open space, the presence of urban development and traffic were inescapable.

Within audio theory, compression is a term used to describe the technical process of attenuating loud sounds, whilst increasing quieter sounds. In essence, establishing a state of dynamic consistency and reducing the space between the loudest and quietest sounds. Considering the environment of the Onkaparinga in these terms; with a pressing together of natural and human environs and a reduction of natural space, the notion of ‘compression’ found its way into his thinking as a poetic reflection of the tenuous nature of the Port Noarlunga environment.

This idea of ‘compression’ informed the working methodology of the studio practice, interweaving sound recordings and found raw materials (both natural and synthetic) into resonant compositions and sculptural forms, alluding to environmental states of solidity and fragility. The exhibition, Compression, is presented as a consolidation of these impressions, a blurring of the distinction between the natural and synthetic. 

Exhibition dates: October - December 2018
Exhibition venue: Sauerbier House, 21 Wearing St, Port Noarlunga SA 5167

Image credit: Supplied by artist