SiteWorks – Milk and Honey

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Milk and Honey, an eight channel sound installation was commissioned for SiteWorks 2012 by the Bundanon Trust.  The work was installed in the music room of the old Homestead and incorporated the Steinway piano.

A land flowing with Milk and Honey the phrase from Exodus that describes the agricultural plenty of the chosen land.  Early colonial settlers to the Shoalhaven region forged their own path towards this metaphor of plenty in a life that melded European practices and stereotypes with a landscape chosen but unknown and perhaps unknowable.

As if stranded by some ancient flood, two sonic river punts float in the Bundanon Homestead, carrying cargoes of Milk and Honey, sounding out their riverine environment with fragmentary voices in a strange new world.

A short documentary video of Milk and Honey (put together by Mike Leggett) that shows the disposition of the audio actuators.

His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey,
to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us?
For when I shall have brought them into the land which I swear unto their fathers,
that floweth with milk and honey; and they shall have eaten and filled themselves,
and waxen fat; then will they turn unto other gods, and serve them, and provoke me, and break my covenant.

Listen to a short stereo mix designed to give an impression of the eigth channel audio actuator driven soundscape.

And in a more prosaic, if not cryptic turn, extracts from the 1880’s farm diaries, also incorporated into the x8 channel mix – a poetry of pragmatism that focusses on interactions with the River, Plants and Animals.

New Piano
Sheet music from England

Sent my poem to Watson
Filled out Agricultural returns

Hand picked corn in new paddock

Threshed corn until dinner
Went fishing with the girls and got some herrings

Picked some mulberries for jam

Shipped 23 bag of corn onboard the punt

Took racing boat down river

Shut up the pigs

Herded horses in little flat

Cattle broke into corn

Took honey out of boxes
River up a little

Cut down Irish thistles

Drummed down a swarm of bees

Went into bush after a bees nest but got no honey

Mother cut up peaches

Jimmy would not bring down his punt as river too high

Went over to peddlers boat

Wrote to Bob, got no prizes
Shipped 22 bags of corn on punt

Picked preserving dish full of grapes to make jam

Got a small swarm of bees
Mother practiced her hymns

Mother had a yarn with Hugh at Cowtails

Caught some fowls to send down by peddlers boat

Drummed down a swarm of bees

Mother cut up some quinces and hung them to dry

Took some eggs to peddlers boat

Boys went shooting and got four pigeons and a lot of parrots