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High Rise Blues



Alessandro Berini and Selina Springett - 2021 GreenWay Art Prize invited artists (dimensions variable) Ceramic, speakers, cable, amplifiers, micro processor, audio 3’45”

High Rise Blues is a reaction to urban overdevelopment in the Inner West and is based on the idea of exponential growth as expressed in the numeric sequence by Leonardo Fibonacci di Pisa (1170-1240). The Fibonacci system is where each number is added to the proceeding number beginning with two ones. This results in an ever increasing magnitude.


The Fibonacci system also applies mathematically to the golden ratio, which is often found in art, architecture and nature, like the unravelling of ferns and in the curvature of shells.

The sound play within the work revolves around six characters. Their lives intersecting through the forces and pressures of urban living environments and the human condition, each of the stories taking place inside one of the building shells.

The piece opens with the narrator listing the Fibonacci sequence, by the end of the three and a half minute piece it will be to 42 places.


Two young children converse. The first, Leo, shares the secrets of his favourite shell with his

friend. They are hidden, lost in their own world.


A developer urges a group of people to join him, pressuring people to act together by selling up with dreams of owning the future.


Meanwhile, an elderly man receives a visit from his daughter. They discuss moving their loved one into a nursing home.


All the while little Leo’s mother runs frantically from place to place searching for him.


The work asks the audience to reflect on the changing nature of our city home and our needs at different stages of life. How are we complicit in the shape of the future and where are we focusing our attention?

_________________________

Produced and edited by Selina Springett

Written by Fiona Britton

Many thanks to voice actors, in order of appearance:

LEO: Gaspare Berini Springett

LEO’S FRIEND: April Ayata

LEO’S MOTHER: Aimee Tryon

REALESTATE DEVELOPER: Cameron ‘Ran’ Stanton

OLDER NEIGHBOUR: Peter Stevens

NEIGHBOUR’S DAUGHTER: Fiona Britton



AUDIO DESCRIPTION

The voices you hear are several overheard conversations. Snippets of people’s lives, undercut by the push of developers.

The numbers you can hear are the Fibonacci sequence listed until 42 places, beginning

1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34... and so on.

***

[RUSHING SOUND: REPRESENTING THE ‘SEA’ SOUND INSIDE A SHELL]

Leo: (CHILD, HIDING, HUSHED, INSIDE A SMALL ENCLOSED SPACE): This is my favourite shell. It makes the sound of the sea.

[SOUND OF THE INSIDE OF A SHELL; FADES]

***

[SOUND OF RUNNING FOOTSTEPS ON PAVEMENT]

Leo’s Mother (WOMAN, AGITATED OUTDOORS): Have you seen Leo? Leo! Where are you? Leo! … I don’t understand why he does this! Why does he hide? Leo …

[SOUND OF RUNNING FOOTSTEPS ON PAVEMENT; FADES]

***

[SOUND OF THE INSIDE OF A SHELL]

Leo: Hold it right up to your ear. Be very quiet. Listen.

Leo’s Friend (CHILD 2, RESPONDING IN WHISPERS): I can hear it!

[SOUND OF THE INSIDE OF A SHELL; FADES]

***

[SOUND OF CAR DOOR OPENING]

Realestate Developer, (AS IF TO A GROUP: Act alone and live to regret it. But act together and

we’ll get exponential value. We need everyone on board. No exceptions! So, are you with me?

[SOUND OF CAR DOOR SLAMMING]

***

[SOUND OF TEA CUPS ON SAUCERS]

Neighbour (MAN, TO HIS DAUGHTER): She’s so happy here.

Neighbour’s Daughter (ADULT DAUGHTER): Not this again.

Neighbour: Don’t take her away. She’s happy here.

***

Neighbour: People don’t get any care in those places. She’ll be lonely.

Neighbour’s Daughter: You can’t take care of her anymore.

Neighbour: It’ll kill her. She’s happy here. We’re happy.

[SOUND OF TEA CUPS ON SAUCERS; FADES]

***

[SOUND OF RUNNING FOOTSTEPS ON PAVEMENT]

Leo’s Mother (WOMAN, AGITATED): Leo! Hi, sorry have you seen my son? He was here just a second ago. You take your eyes off them for a moment and off they go. Leo … Leo!

[SOUND OF RUNNING FOOTSTEPS ON PAVEMENT; FADES]

***

[SOUND OF THE INSIDE OF A SHELL]

Leo (CHILD, HIDING, WHISPERING): I like this one because it looks brown but when you put it in water it’s actually pink and green and turquoise. It’s cold and smooth when you hold it in your hand.

Leo’s Friend (CHILD 2, RESPONDING IN WHISPERS): Can I try?

Leo: Here. Be careful. Don’t break it.

[SOUND OF THE INSIDE OF A SHELL; FADES]

***

[SOUND OF CAR DOOR OPENING]

Realestate Developer: Hesitate now, regret it later. Think you’d rather stick it out? Think again.

You really want to be here when you’re the only one left?

[SOUND OF CAR DOOR SLAMMING]

***

[SOUND OF TEA CUPS ON SAUCERS]

Neighbour (MAN, TO HIS DAUGHTER): Stay a bit longer?

Neighbour’s Daughter: (ADULT DAUGHTER): Not today.

Neighbour: You work too hard. You should take it easy for once.

Neighbour’s Daughter: I wish I could. Things just pile up and before you know it everything’s

spiralling out of control and every sound seems to get louder and louder …

[SOUND OF TEA CUPS ON SAUCERS; FADES]

***

[SOUND OF RUNNING FOOTSTEPS ON STAIRS]

Leo’s Mother (WOMAN, AGITATED): Leo! Come out, now! I know you’re hiding. Please Leo!

[SOUND OF RUNNING FOOTSTEPS; FADES]

***

[SOUND OF THE INSIDE OF A SHELL]

Leo: (CHILD, HIDING): This shell used to have an animal living inside. It was a tiny thing that

curled around and around.

Leo’s FRIEND: (CHILD 2, RESPONDING IN WHISPERS): What happened to the animal? Did it die?

Leo: I think so. I think it died when it lost its home.

[SOUND OF THE INSIDE OF A SHELL; FADES]

***

[SOUND OF CAR DOOR OPENING]

Realestate Developer: It’s just a bit of land. Everybody has their price. Trust me: nobody says no

forever. Who builds tomorrow? We do. Who owns tomorrow? We do.

[SOUND OF CAR REVVING AWAY]

***

[SOUND OF RUNNING FOOTSTEPS]

Leo’s Mother: (STILL CALLING): Leo! Leo!

[SOUND OF RUNNING FOOTSTEPS; FADES]

***

[SOUND OF THE INSIDE OF A SHELL]

Leo’s Friend: Leo?

Leo: Yes?

Leo’s Friend: It’ll be dark soon. We should let them find us. We should go home.

Leo: Not yet. Just a few more minutes …

[SOUND OF THE INSIDE OF A SHELL; FADES]

***

Originally created for the Hidden Sculpture (2018) walk in Rookwood as a four-channel outdoor sound installation.

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