continent. maps a topology of unstable confluences and ranges across new thinking, traversing interstices and alternate directions in culture, theory, biopolitics and art.
Issue 5.3 / 2016:

Welltuned City

Gail Priest

"there are no birds in this singing city ... 

the birds can hear, and cannot bear."



(Headphone listening recommended.)



Welltuned City comprises fragments of fiction and facts speculating about the sounds of an oasis city in the future.


Welltuned City employs a cross-modal format with the fiction presented as an audiovisual piece and the non-fiction shards as interlinked texts accompanied by soundtracks — music to read by.


Thematically, Welltuned City touches on environmental architectures and city planning; ecological disaster and population displacement; social inequality and the corruption of capital; and the power-play between harmony and noise. Formally, the project seeks to explore the interactions of word and sound in the online environment — to re-engage with hypertext as a narrative medium rather than an information system. Therefore it is best experienced via the media enhanced mode accessed through the video above or here.


Welltuned City forms one cluster of ideas from the larger body of work, Sounding the Future, which attempts to preference the aural over the visual when speculating about the future. In particular it asks, “What will art in the future sound like?” Sounding the Future has been presented as an interactive installation, with upcoming manifestations as a radiophonic work and online/e-publication.



* * * * *



Gail Priest is a Sydney-based artist with a multi-faceted practice in which sound is the key material of communication and investigation. Her work comprises solo electro-acoustic performance and recordings, sound installations for gallery contexts, sound design for performance and video and curation. In parallel to her sound-making she is just as interested in sound-writing — textual responses to sound, about sound, via sound.


Acknowledgements: Sounding the Future is the primary project undertaken as part of Gail Priest's Emerging and Experimental Arts Fellowship, assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. The first installation iteration of the work was realised within the framework of EMARE Move On at Bandits-Mages in association with La Box, L'École nationale supérieure d'art de Bourges (ENSA), with support of the Culture 2013 Programme of the European Commission, the Goethe Institut and Bandits-Mages, France.