Sound in Stone

For the purposes of this project, I sought to delve deeply into the resonant and sonorous potentials of stones. My intention was to investigate a series of geological rock formations, and to make a number of field recordings of caves, stone bodies, and lithophones (instruments made from stone). With these auditory ‘imprints’, I had aimed to create multimedia artworks. The audio works consist of new compositions, derived entirely from field recordings, and the video material that accompanies them also captures the stone itself. I also document my sound recording process and physical/performative interventions with the stone being used as an instrument.

In addition to illustrating the musical universes that can be constructed from stone, these audiovisual works were designed to explore the relationship of the human self to time. They investigated how the seemingly linear course of time generates tension, and the struggles that we, as human beings, confront with respect to time.

I was inspired by an interest in the animism and sensibility of the stone, in the way it “moves” and “speaks”. My fascination with the stone as an instrument originated when I encountered artist Vito Maiullari, based in the Murgia Region of Italy, who designed a resonant stone table. He split a stone into two halves and asked me to taste the powder inside. He said, “You have just tasted 4 million years; you have tasted time”. I was eager to continue this research into the stone as a musical instrument and the stone as a metaphor for the human relationship with time.

Below is documentation of my six month residency, consisting of a journal from my field research and a sample of the audio visual works that are currently in development.

  • Sound in Stone: Field Research – Murgia, Italy

    Sound in Stone: Field Research – Murgia, Italy

    As winter waned in 2023 we embarked on a journey back to the Murgia region eager to deepen our exploration of stone as a conduit for sound and aliveness. This place is special to us, not only because of its arid hills and valleys, lined with tall and rattly Ferula Ferita shrubs, but also for…

  • Sound in Stone: Audio Visual Works in Progress

    Sound in Stone: Audio Visual Works in Progress

    For this research I took documentary footage and combined it with high quality audio recordings, all of which were recorded during my 6 month research. These include recordings of stone instrument, recordings in caves and other atmospheres, recordings of our deep listening journey in a stone quarry, and interviews with experts in the fields of…

  • Sound in Stone: Field Research – Stalacpipe Organ, Luray Caverns

    Sound in Stone: Field Research – Stalacpipe Organ, Luray Caverns

    In April 2023 I had the opportunity to visit the incredibly vast underground caverns and fascinating geological formations located in Luray, Virginia, USA. The caverns feature a remarkable assortment of intricate stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and draperies, formed over millions of years through the slow process of mineral deposition. I came in search of listening to…

  • S.W.E.A.T. podcast featuring HYENAZ in conversations on Extraction

    S.W.E.A.T. podcast featuring HYENAZ in conversations on Extraction

    As artists and researchers, we are constantly exploring the connections between art, the environment, and labour rights. Interviews from our ongoing Extraction project were broadcast as part of Mad Kate’s S.W.E.A.T. podcast. In March 2023 we had the opportunity to interview Donato Laborante, who we met during our tour of the Murgia region of Italy…