Songs of a Changeling Earth

“Songs of a Changeling Earth” is an exhibition of media art produced during my artist residency at Geoscience Australia during 2018. The exhibition focuses on three significant areas of Geoscience Australia’s operations: the National Mineral and Fossil Collection, the Petroleum Data Repository, and the Digital Earth Australia satellite-imaging program.

The exhibition features 22 photographic works plus two video works: “Der Abschied / The Farewell”, which features as a soundtrack, the final movement of Gustav Mahler’s Song of the Earth, and “Die Rukkehr / The Return,” which features a soundtrack by guitar maestro Mike Cooper.

The exhibition was held at the CSIRO Discovery Centre Gallery in Canberra, from February 6th – March 15th 2019.

The exhibition explores the different materials and processes of geoscience, seeking creative ways of figuring the complex interaction between ancient Earth processes and the human use of and impact on the environment.

Creatively, the exhibition also takes inspiration from German romantic composer Gustav Mahler’s song-symphony “Das Lied von der Erde / Songs of the Earth.” Mahler composed this work in 1909, by which time he knew he was dying. “Songs of the Earth” is a meditation on human mortality in the face of the eternity of the Earth, incorporating a libretto based on translations of ancient Chinese poems.

Featuring photography and video works, and using extracts from both the libretto and a recording of Mahler’s work, “Songs of a Changeling Earth” presents a rich and colourful mashup of German Romanticism with the materials and processes of geoscience.