Whispering in the Leaves | Perth February – March 2009

18 February – 7 March 2009
Perth International Arts Festival, AU
Planetarium Pyramid, The Esplanade
Perth, AU


Tropical rainforests hold a special place in our hearts and imaginations. They are also home to more than half the wildlife on earth. Twice each day, hundreds of primates, thousands of birds and millions of insects broadcast their presence in dawn and dusk choruses of myriad voices – mostly unseen, but heard far and wide through the dense dark greens of the tree canopy and rolling out across the dank leaves of the forest floor.
One of the world’s leading wildlife and location sound recordists, Chris Watson presents his extraordinary sound installation, Whispering in the Leaves, at the Perth International Arts Festival, inviting visitors to experience the extraordinary soundtrack of the South American rainforest diffused through the tropical foliage of this botanical environment of the Planetarium Pyramid.

Shifting between the musicality of primate calls and birdsong and backed with the shimmering wall of insect sounds, Watson’s sound mixes are derived from an extensive archive of wildlife and field recordings made on location in the tropical rainforests of South and Central America. An unseen soundscape of thousands of species including black howler and spider monkeys, tree frogs, cicadas, and diverse birdlife, communicates a myriad of information; as these calls, voices and other sounds are transmitted back and forth, as each creature broadcasts its presence to others.

These evocative soundscapes allow us to appreciate the beauty of our fragile world in a powerful way.

Chris Watson was a founding member of UK experimental music band Cabaret Voltaire; his more recent solo albums include Outside the Circle of Fire, Stepping into the Dark (which won an Award of Distinction at the 2000 Prix Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria) and the iconic Weather Report. He has won awards for his exceptional recording work for BBC natural history programmes by David Attenborough and others, and has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of West England for his outstanding contribution to sound recording.

For more information visit: www.perthfestival.com.au

Produced by Forma, commissioned by AV Festival 06
and supported by Arts Council England

Exhibition times:

Wed 18, Wed 25 Feb & Wed 4 March 7–9.30am
Thur 19, Thur 26 Feb & Thur 5 March 5.30–7.30pm
Fri 20, Fri 27 Feb & Fri 6 March 5.30–7.30pm
Sat 21, Sat 28 Feb & Sat 7 March 5.30–7.30pm
Sun 22 Feb 5.30–7.30pm