free speech complete sound work
As a fair skinned person who identifies with my Narungga heritage, and is considered to be an Aboriginal person both within my family and the broader Adelaide First Nations community, I have decided to base the installation on issues currently surrounding First Nations people in Australian society. The work is inspired by the proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) 1975, and the legal proceedings around the ‘Eatock vs Bolt’ 2011 lawsuit involving Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt.
The sound is intentionally creating an overwhelming environment for the viewer through use of volume, tonal variations and editing techniques. I interviewed First Nations family and friends with questions based on whether or not the interviewee was aware of the RDA, and also the proposed changes by the current government. Responses from three interviewees to a set of 4 questions made for interesting material with varying overlap between each person. Key phrases and words that related to each other were selected from each recording to highlight emerging patterns between responses. The audio was then edited into selected words and phrases to create a single message that signified the similarities between the interviewees.
The work is intended as a portrayal of the way First Nations voices are rarely heard in mainstream Australian media. Right-wing media giants have the power to edit what is and isn’t said on television, radio and in newspapers ensuring the majority of people in Australia remain ignorant to atrocities being committed by the Australian Government, such as these proposed amendments.
The proposed amendments by the current government were in the wake of the successful prosecution of columnist Andrew Bolt for breaching section 18c of the RDA. The Herald and Weekly Times Limited published articles by Bolt in the Herald Sun newspaper accusing Aboriginal people of “choosing” to identify as being Aboriginal solely for personal gain. After the Federal Court Justice Mordecai Bromberg gave the ruling, Bolt made a public statement saying, “This is a terrible day for freedom of speech in this country”.
The audio in this installation is produced in collaboration with South Australian musician/film maker Brett Walter.