New Zealand’s turbulent geological landscape is the subject of many scientific and human stories. This gallery space also offers interactive experiences, with deep-sea black smokers and a simulated volcanic eruption in Auckland.
Journey from the Centre of the Earth
Track 6 length 4:26
In a reversal of Jules Verne’s classic imaginary voyage, Rachel Shearer is taking us on a journey from the centre of the Earth. Inspired by the Volcanoes Gallery, she takes us from the hot molten inner core, through the outer core, to the Earth’s mantle. There we catch a ride with a mantle plume through the Earth’s crust where the tectonic plates are slowly moving against each other, to emerge on the surface in Auckland, where hot molten lava cools, cracks and sizzles.
Although a visit to an active volcano in Hawaii provided Shearer with an aural reference, the sounds you hear in this piece were created in a number of ways.
Heated metal being placed in a bucket of water gave the sound of heat and pressure being released. Stone and ceramics, cracked and ground slowly in a vice, suggest the shifting of the Earth’s tectonic plates.
In a gallery already bubbling with data, Shearer hopes her sound piece will evoke a contemplative image of our Earth and the path of volcanic activity, and with this aural diagram in mind, the listener will have a base from which to add further information.
About the Artist
Rachel Shearer has released CDs with various international record labels and performed live since 1987. During the late 80s and early 90s she performed with the group Angelhead, before going on to release records on the iconic Flying Nun label and US label Siltbreeze, with all-girl avant-goth-rock group Queen Meanie Puss. Under the moniker Lovely Midget she has released works with Corpus Hermeticum (NZ), Ecstatic Peace (US) and Family Vineyard (US). Rachel has lectured in time-based arts at Elam School of Fine Arts at Auckland University, trained in live sound engineering in Germany and post-production audio at The Inside Track in Auckland. She combines her musical experiments with a variety of sound practices, creating sound installations, composing music for film and working as a sound designer and sound editor.
Rachel Shearer website
Instruments used: ceramics, stone, blow torch, metal vice, field recordings, digital editing and processing.
Thanks to Guy Treadgold, Sean O'Reilly, Hana Pomare, Wilma Blom, Amanda White, Kelvin Soh and the rest of the Sonic Museum team.