The nature of rural life has seen dramatic change over the last generation. Small farms have been under pressure from shifting markets, expanding agribusiness, and a world in constant flux. People relocate, knowledge is dispersed, culture changes, and ritual is lost.
Farms in northwest Tasmania are still dotted with handmade sheds – some tin, some slab, and built in timber.
My friends at Big hART invited me to create a piece of music for a shed in north west Tasmania. We worked with the Thomson Family, of Black Ridge Farm, Milabena. Big hART brought together farming families and composers, musicians, sound designers, and visual artists to explore the stories and aesthetics of sheds and respond to their shifting existence. Audiences were invited on a pilgrimage through the natural cathedral of Tasmania’s north-west coast to experience the world premieres of new works, presented in the locations that inspired them.
This project was so beautiful that it was hard to leave. Luckily, the relationships remain, and when I’m in doubt, I try to summon the spirit of the Thomsons, as a way of remembering why I make music.