Wednesday, 16 April 2003

c'mon, pressure! voices in the crowd

The third work installed in the Australian Centre for the Moving Image's (ACMI) innovative Studio space The Persuaders is a highly-charged audio-visual installation by Melbourne artists Sonia Leber and David Chesworth that explores the intricacies of the crowd experience.

Entering The Persuaders we are confronted by a crowd of figures who alternatively cajole, admonish, exhort and abuse us. It takes a moment to realise that these individuals are in separate spaces - clearly 'at home' - and that they are not simply watchers, but barrackers. Each is familiar with the names of all the players and the failings of the umpire, intimate with the machinery of the unnamed game in play. Like nervous back seat drivers, each dropped mark or torpedo punt is rehearsed in the body and breath of the barracker.

The Persuaders experience is different to the stadium: the collective gasp of the crowd is dispersed, contradictory, complementary: one spectator sighs, the moment passed; while beside him, oblivious to his neighbour, another gathers himself in, holding his breath.

The artists have long been fascinated with the acoustic texture and dynamic range of the human voice and of various kinds of crowd experience: its rhythms, sounds, 'shape', tone and frequency, and the way these elements are relational, in constant transition.

Utilising the automatic vocalisations of people in highly stimulated states, Sonia Leber and David Chesworth have built up the video installation around fragments of the human voice, creating an everchanging crowd with varying, unpredictable patterns of arousal and release.

Suddenly without warning three or four of these 'be-couched' figures are in motion - one pleased, the others furious with the ineptitude of their players. Deflation. Inflation. Explosion.

David Chesworth and Sonia Leber are the award-winning artists who have created unique multi-channel sound and multimedia installations for a diverse range of art spaces and public sites. The Persuaders is the third in a trilogy of their collaborative works which includes the large scale sound installation 5000 Calls (permanently installed at Sydney Olympic Park) and The Master's Voice (permanently installed in Canberra's City Walk).

David Chesworth'sdistinctive music compositions and sound installations have been performed and exhibited extensively around Australia as well as the Americas, Europe and Japan. Major festivals that have featured his work include Ars Electronica, Festival d'Automne de Paris, Edinburgh International Festival, Adelaide Festival, Sydney Biennale, SoundCulture and the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. Chesworth's many awards include a Churchill Fellowship in 1997. He has recently completed a major new opera for Opera Australia.

Sonia Leber started focusing on the use of sound as a creative medium after more than a decade of working in film and video. Her films have been exhibited widely at film festivals and contemporary art spaces including Germany's Oberhausen International Film Festival, Madrid Week of Experimental Cinema, theAurora Australis tour of galleries in Canada, Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney andAustralian Perspectaat the Art Gallery of New South Wales. In 1994, Leber curated the major sound art event Earwitness: Excursions in Sound.

the persuaders

Venue: Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Federation Square
Date and times: Daily 11am-4pm Thursday 17 April-Sunday 8 June 2003. Closed Good Friday.
Public information: (03) 8663 2200 or visit
Admission: Free                                                   

Further information

For further information, to arrange interviews and images contact:

Brendan Wall
Tel 03 8663 2406 / 0417 852 118
Nicole Lyons
Tel 03 8663 2415 / 0438 770 119

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