Publication Details

Ballard, S. "All night silence: Live experimental sound in New Zealand public art galleries." Erewhon Calling: Experimental Sound in New Zealand. Ed.B. Russell. Auckland: Audio Foundation and CMR, 2012, 54-59.


Since the late 19th century there have been issues with the presentation and reception of sound and music in New Zealand public art galleries. During the first New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition in 1889-1890 there were numerous musical events designed to prove New Zealand's position culturally and socially on the world stage. Audience members would spend the day traipsing around the enormous pavilions of the exhibition pausing to engage in a performance before blundering out to the next event. This mobile audience knew something about the relationship between music and art. Art was silent, static and contained within the walls of the gallery, and music was not. Music was dynamic, and formed part of a public programme which a listener could choose to attend for a specified duration.

Erewhon Calling is a survey of how a bunch of antipodean misfits and malcontents have forged new ways and new reasons to make noise, here at the end of the earth. Edited by Bruce Russell (the Dead C.), in association with Richard Francis and Zoe Drayton; the aim of this volume is to survey the full range of ‘non-standard’ audio practices in contemporary NZ culture. The book’s remit runs from the borders of composed art music, through improvised noise, to deconstructed ‘rock ’n pop filth’; and every genre, every scene, every permutation of unconventional audio practice in-between.

More information is available in the authors Blog, House Sparrow.