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Keith Maxwell


The landscape of the Blue Mountains with its vistas, crags, waterfalls and forests has served as stimulus to the imagination for millennia, generating both myth and history. In the forest you breathe in the weight of time, imagining the secrets and stories contained there.

Although integrated into the forest, the gourds are not of the place. They are an introduced species, and act as a symbol of displacement. They acknowledge the impositions and adaptations that are discernible in colonial histories.

The work is a multi-channel sound installation that seeks to create an immersive space. The audio moves between the speakers, giving a three dimensional listening experience. The audio includes field recordings created in the Scenic World rainforest as well as whispered phrases and story fragments of women aged nine to eighty. It weaves a haunting web of love and loss. The blend of generational voices seeks to represent cyclical time, and give the impression that the trees themselves are whispering their secrets to those who listen.

Whispers of the Forest is about is about creating a space that distils a feeling of otherworldliness, creating an ethereal experience for the visitor that is both whimsical and uncanny.

2016 Artist Peer Award + Scenic World Staff Choice

Repurposed gourds, speakers, micro-processors and multichannel audio.