David Chesworth and Sonia Leber - 5000 Calls
  Year :   2000
  Location :   Australia
  Worktype :   large-scale multi-channel sound installation
  Materials:   Programmed sound files, 80 Loudspeakers, 24 Channels
  Info :   Sydney Olympics. Two versions of the work were subsequently installed in Cardiff (2002) and Ljubljana, Slovenia (2003).

  Work Details  
  5000 Calls is a large-scale multi-channel sound installation installed throughout the Urban Forest, an extensive 4.5 hectare loose grid of eucalyptus trees surrounding the Stadium Australia in Sydney. The ever-changing soundscape utilises 5000 charged human vocalisations uncovered from everyday life: the sighs, gasps and groans of work, pleasure, sport, song and struggle. 5000 Calls particularly utilises the vocalisations of people in extreme physical states. The sense of speech has been removed from these everyday recordings to reveal a soundscape of human effort . We have long been fascinated with the acoustic texture and the dynamic range of the human voice - beyond the speech content - its rhythms, sounds, shape, tone and frequency. We are particularly fascinated with the many proto-linguistic vocalisations that people make. These are the sounds we make prior to - or instead of - articulating through language, where meanings are made without recourse to semantics or syntax. Where communication is through the shape of speech, rather than speech content. The imposing architectural edifice of the Stadium Australia dominates the site for the work. Around the exterior of the stadium, the tree-filled Urban Forest functions as a threshold, traversed by crowds of up to 100,000 people at a time, often in excited, anticipatory states. The artwork is designed as an ever-changing crowd system , constantly changing over time. It reflects the many types of acoustic phenomena which arise from large crowds, in a changing chorus of sound created from a large numbers of individual sources. A customised computer program allows the different calls to interact with each other at different times, heard through the 80 speakers discreetly placed around the site. The work is supple and shifting as the different vocalisations rub up against each other in different ways, in different densities and patterns of distribution. As you move through the Urban Forest you hear short fragments of many voices captured while performing numerous tasks - from the calls of weightlifters, gymnasts, footballers and cricketers to fragments of Vietnamese river chants and the singing of Aboriginal children. The charged atmosphere of the Maori haka is there, along with the voices of stockmen herding cattle and the slow breathing of a dancer. The soundscape portrays a sonic inscription of the body: stressing, straining, singing, exclaiming. Commissioned by the Sydney Olympic Park Public Art Program to be part of the permanent built environment, it can be heard daily during daylight hours.