Breathing Space

Breathing Space is a new sound installation for the National Museum of Australia’s Garden of Australian Dreams. Inspired by texts by Waanyi writer Alexis Wright, it’s an oasis of quiet reverberations, revealing the calls, tremulations and deep stirrings of Country.

Areas in the garden softly pulse with human and other-than-human sounds, emanating from speakers embedded in paths and walls. In the garden’s central field, all the vibrations converge and disperse in undulating drifts of sound.

Breathing Space is a sonic re-wilding, planting the garden with choruses of frogs and cicadas, subterranean rumbles, the mysterious internal acoustic world of trees, whispered voices, and ethereal instrumental and vocal phrases, layered and abstracted into patterns to be heard in passing and pausing.

Breathing Space will be located on Ngunnawal, Ngunawal and Ngambri country at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. We can’t wait to share it with you — stay tuned for announcements on this for 2023.

"The world will always need its dreamers…"
- Alexis Wright
Genevieve Lacey — composer & creator
Martel Ollerenshaw — executive producer
Alexis Wright — writer
Ruth Little — groundwork
Jim Atkins — sound design
Linda Kent — visual artist
Paul Lim-Additive — technical production manager
Jared Yapp — audio research
Ashley Simonetto — graphic design
Katherine Tonkin — spoken voice consultant
Jess Zhang — cultural consultant
Tom McKeand — audio technical assistant
Contributing musicians include: Lou Bennett (voice), Consort of Melbourne dir. Steve Hodgson, Vahideh Eisaei (qanun), Simon Martyn-Ellis (theorbo, baroque guitar), Linda Kent (pipe organ), Sunny Kim (voice), Marshall McGuire (harp), Phil Slater (trumpet), Speak Percussion dir. Eugene Ughetti, Amadou Suso (kora), Erkki Veltheim (violin and viola), Mindy Meng Wang (guzheng), with sound artists Greg Hooper, Marc Anderson (Wild Ambiance), Vicki Powys, Lindsay Popple, Jeremy Hegge, Jay-Dea Lopez (Sounds Like Noise).