Shifting Atmospheres. Jude Robertson, Artist in Residence Waharau Regional Park, 2018
[video: Birdsong. Jude Robertson walks beside the house with a camera stand over her shoulder. It's early morning and the sunrise is glowing in the background. Jude walks down the path, away from a group of buildings towards the sea].
Jude: My name is Jude Robertson and I'm the current Artist in Residence at Waharau Regional Park. I'm here to make a sound map or a sonic map.
[video: wide of the ocean and peninsula in the background. Jude walks across the grass and then along the rocky beach shoreline until she reaches a spot and starts unzipping her backpack and unpacks her sound gear].
Jude: It could be interpreted in lots of different ways. For me, it's the process of mapping and working with different locations within the park that interest me. So I'm interested in atmospheres, very interested in times and the way things change over time and something that is layered. As I'm interested in creating a really spatially rich map...(laughs)...through sound.
[video: Graphic of Shifting Atmospheres. Jude on camera explaining the process of gathering sound and gesturing towards the sea.]
Jude: When it's really calm and there's this really slight lapping in, it is really interesting. So when there's more wind and a bit more of the surf or whitewash coming in, aah, it creates more background noise rather than this very specific lapping.
[video: Close up of the stream and then Jude crouching beside the stream holding a microphone and dangling an electronic device in the water. Four still images of Jude's installations].
Jude: I call myself an installation artist. I guess that is an umbrella term because I actually work across a lot of different media. My background is in sculpture and I also work in photography and sound.
[video: Jude leaps across a stream and walks across the rocky shoreline towards her gear. Wide of sun rising and ocean. Jude packs up gear and walks across the rocky shoreline. Close up of a dotterel bird on rocky shoreline. Jude observes the little bird hopping across the rocks].
Jude: For this project, sound is my focus. The sort of sounds I'm gathering in the park are obviously dependent on the sounds naturally occurring sounds within the park. I'm more interested in ambient sounds than generating my own sounds within the park. And at the moment that is also a little bit limited where I can go in the park because there are quite a lot of track closures due to the kauri dieback disease. But so far the sounds that I've been working with are quite a big variety of birds. When you hear sounds on a daily basis you start to become more familiar with them. So I'm starting to know...(laughs)... who's who in the bird world...(laughs).
[video: Wide of the shoreline with one large tree in the foreground and ocean, and in the background. Birds fly past the camera. In the distance is Tikapa Moana/Firth of Thames. Mid shot of Jude talking on the beach].
Jude: I was very lucky. I had almost two weeks or a week and half of beautiful still weather...clear days like this. I couldn't have asked for better (laughs). And the last few days have been really wild which has actually interesting. Not so good for sound but really amazing photographically, because of the combination of light, clouds, water, creates really interesting effects in the Tikapa Moana/Firth of Thames and because it is always changing there is always something new to look at.
[Video: water sound effects. Jude's still images of the sky and sea and coastline. Jude walking towards one of the tracks. Close up of Jude rubbing dirt of her boot before she enters the park. Kauri dieback signage and Jude spraying the soles of her boots].
Jude: One thing I've noticed here is that there is a lot of birdlife and activity of going into the park at different times of day. Particularly in the morning when the birds are active, but there's a lot of sounds going on which I find really interesting.
[video: Views of the tree canopy. Jude walks through the bush with a camera stand slung over her shoulder. Jude walks across a bridge in the bush and sets up her sound gear on the bridge. View of the tree canopy].
Jude: We're here in the green track. It's about a 40-minute loop through regenerating bush. I've been here quite a bit actually, particularly in my first week or so. It's a beautiful area, there are lots of nooks and crannies and it's full of birdlife. So I've been doing a bit of recording and walked up here early and did some dawn chorus. And also been recording at night so trying to capture the morepork which is a little bit more trickier because it's very unpredictable.
[video: kauri tree against a black sky and sound of the morepork, tūī, and other birds. Jude adjusting her sound gear. Montage of bush shots: Close up of the stream below. Close up of fern fronds and boulders in the stream. Wide of the stream and other trees in the bush as the wind blows through them. Wide of the bush setting].
Jude: So I'm almost at the end of my fifth week into the residency of an eight-week residency.
[video: Wide of the rooftop of the house and ocean in the background. Jude standing on the deck of the house talking to camera. Then shots of Jude walking to Blackberry Flats Campground and across a bridge]
Jude: For the first couple of weeks, I was mainly gathering material and I was very fortunate for the fact it was beautiful, still sunny weather, which meant I could record pretty much every day.
[video: Jude sets up her gear on the bridge. Close up of fern frond and then flax leaves moving in the breeze. Pan of a stream flowing into the ocean. A dotterel hops about on the rocky shoreline. Wide of the rocky shoreline. Jude on the deck of the house talking to camera. Pan from the garden towards the house and Jude working inside].
Jude: An emerging theme of my soundscape is movement. So natural movements of climatic effects; water birds, and people. So I'm interested in how people are moving through the park, although I'm very interested in the environment. I'm also interested in people embedded in the environment. It's a very interdependent relationship.
[video: Jude editing on her computer at the desk inside the house. Close up of the computer. Wide of Jude at her desk. Close up of Jude's face reflected in the computer. Jude outside on the deck and then back inside editing on her computer. Close up of a soundtrack on the computer].
Jude: So after my first couple of weeks gathering sounds, I deliberately started editing, probably earlier than I was meant to. But I had gathered a lot of material. So, for example, my kokako recordings... I think I have an hour and a half of material. And that's a lot of material to start wading through and there's a lot of decision making. You might use very small fragments from a recording. I might use five or 10 seconds from what was a five-minute recording. Sometimes I use much longer strands. I'm very much interested in building up sonically rich or deep space. So there might be sounds that are very soft in the background, sounds that are more dominant in the foreground, sounds that you might not necessarily, specifically tune in but change the overall sound. I am hoping to offer a new experience of the park, you know, another perspective.
[video: Jude walking to the Waharau Regional Park Hall, alongside Pohutukawa trees in full bloom].
Jude: It was really important to the overall work and the finished work that it was actually developed in the environment I'm working in because it's really shaped it. And I've made decisions that would have been difficult to do without actually being here...given that it's an installation.
[video: Title of video: 'Shifting Atmospheres' sound installation. Various stills from the 'Shifting Atmospheres' installation with sound effects of the park in the background. Jude walking along the shoreline. Wide of Jude staring out to sea with Tikapa Moana/Firth of Thames in the background. Jude sitting on the shoreline.
Jude: So I only have a couple of days of my residency left now. It's gone very, very quickly. So the creative process has probably differed from my normal way of working here. Partly because I've been able to focus full time on my creative work which in the past I'm always juggling things. So I don't necessarily have to step in and out of my creative work. that had both pros and cons actually. The first few weeks, when I was just gathering material was really exciting, lots of fun and lots of new places to explore.
[video: Split screen of bush, park, and Jude at work. Jude sitting on the shoreline talking to camera. Jude at her desk working. Wide of the view from the house. Jude walking along the shoreline with rocks in the foreground. Sun is setting in the background].
Then it came to a point where I started editing quite early on in the process, I'd gathered quite a lot of material by that stage that it soon could become a bit overwhelming to start editing further down the track when I had even more material, and it did mean that I spent about a month on the computer editing, and working in isolation can have its challenges. But then a really good thing was that when I got a rough draft down, I was able to see what the gaps were or hear what the gaps were. So because I was editing on-site and still here, I was able to go out and make more recordings and fill in some of those gaps, which I wouldn't have been able to do if I was editing post-residency. And just the creative opportunities that unfold when you're connected to a space for a more extended time. So normally I would visit a national park or a particular area and it might only be for a couple of days. If I was on a recording trip, it might only be a fast trip, so to have that extended time and that's definitely meant things have unfolded in a way and I've been able to follow possibilities that wouldn't happen otherwise...and that's really, really exciting.
[video: wide shots of the bush area with bird song.]
Credits over shots of the bush: Many thanks to Jude Robertson. All images and sound excerpts from installation 'Shifting Atmospheres', courtesy of Jude Robertson.
Artist in Residence, Co-ordinator and additional stills, Michelle Edge
Director, Camera, Editor, Kirsty MacDonald, 2019
[video: Auckland Council logo]