Solange Kershaw and Damian Castaldi

Solange and Damian have worked closely together since the year 2000.  Living in Darlinghurst they collaborated on radio commissions for their executive producer Robyn Ravlich of the ABC, The Listening Room.  This early work took them to Paris, Barcelona, Dordrecht and Pekina where together they produced the semi-fictional/story-telling/musical style radio programs “Surrealism for Sale”, “Rambla 2000” and “Ghost Songs from Pekina”.  

Since then their sound art work, electronic music production and sound installations have evolved into a mixed media practice combining diy sensor technologies and various hardware/software solutions to produce a range of interactive works for which strong sound design is often at the core. 

Their most recent work is documented online on their media production website The Last Bureau and includes this year’s Arts OutWest commissioned interactive sculpture garden for the Jemalong Residential Village in Forbes, their “Play for Time” mixed media audio-visual series of installations for the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre Exposé program exhibition and their “Whispering Trees” sound installation in the gardens of Varuna House Katoomba as part of the 2015 Sydney Writers’ Festival.

The Altitude Project

Title: 8662

8662 is an interactive 4 channel sound installation commemorating the life of the celebrated English female pilot Amy Johnson who, at the time of conferring memorial parks on other historic aviators in Katoomba was overlooked. 

This installation celebrates Amy’s life in the soundtracks composed of and designed from processed location sound recordings, archival recordings of Amy speaking, for example describing her England to Australia solo flight on the 5th to the 28th of May 1930 and original music and sound design. Two old time songs written and recorded about Amy and performed by Jack Lumsdaine and Bob Molyneux in 1930 titled “Johnnie, Our Aeroplane Girl” and “Just Plain Johnnie” have also inspired the work. 

The soundtracks are mounted on stands and placed into the ground standing upright in four separate locations along the embankment as you walk down the hill into the Kingsford Smith park from the south side. Passers by can trigger the individual soundtracks as they move within close proximity to the each of the 8662 stands and have the option of listening to the work through outdoor speakers or headphones available on one of the stands. The title of the work comes from Amy Johnson’s Aviator's certificate, No. 8662.

Technically the sound installations incorporate Maxbotix Ultrasonic range finders, Arduino Uno R3 micro controllers, 16 GB Micro SD Cards, Adafruit Wave shields V 1.1, Adafruit Lithium Ion battery packs, 2.5W Class D Amps, various cabling, ABS waterproof enclosures, headphones and 5” active outdoor mono speakers.