Sunday, 18 July 2021

‘East End Echoes’: interwoven histories, artworks, soundscapes in a 12 site trail

The creative team at illuminart were thrilled to be invited to create a free City Lights feature for the inaugural Illuminate Adelaide festival. And while for many people the brightly coloured projections were a completely satisfying, enjoyable riot of colour, projection mapped artwork and quirky graphics, the team at illuminart once again delved deeply to deliver a fully fleshed project for South Australia, for those who want to delve deeper.

The East End Echoes projections and light storytelling project illuminated 12 landmarks along the Rundle Street and adjacent laneways during the festival, which ran from 16th July to 1st August, each installation capturing aspects the interwoven histories of people who have lived and journeyed in the East End.

And while you could simply stroll and take it in as one of the many bright lights warming up the city during the festival, you were also able to take in the project’s 75 minute soundtrack, giving you an in depth perspective of the developments of the East End Precinct over many decades.

The project was designed to be experienced, listening to an audiovisual track created by illuminart, where you met many of the people who inspired the playful projections that transformed the buildings.  Clever clues to kaleidoscopic arrays of vegetables, deconstructed daubist art, and firecracker fashions were uncovered as you strolled along the street listening to the voices, sound and music.

The stories were able to be experienced as a streaming audio track, or viewed with captions and animation cues, on your device as you strolled.

The audio track combined the interviews and sounds, with music loops by Adelaide’s DJ TR!P, and character voices, composited by Michael Mills with support from Cindi Drennan.

Streaming Audio Story (opens in new window):

Captioned Audio + Video Story (opens in new window):

Map of the sites: East End Eachoes Map A4

These audio elements were developed over a six month period through a series of interviews and recordings with people who have lived and worked on Rundle Street. They include new vocal and text elements from Karl Telfer, Senior Kaurna Custodian and Elder, providing new ways of seeing the Rundle Street area though First Nation perspectives. It also features actor Georgia Broomhall, performing characters developed by Andy Petrusevics and Michael Mills. The creative team at illuminart interviewed widely to include recordings of community members, business owners, former residents and creative people. The audio elements were interwoven with performed voice and soundscape elements, into a 75 minute walking track that allowed you to experience East End Echoes in your own time.

The 12 sites could be viewed in any order and didn’t require you to listen or watch all in one setting, just BYO headphones and mobile device to listen and explore the sites while immersing yourself in the oral histories and music.

The key visual elements were devised by Andy Petrusevics who had the enormous challenge of bringing together the many stories of the East End, featuring an array of elements inspired by local Murals, historic photographs, graphics symbolising characters in the story, which were then customised for each building.

Having lived on Rundle Street in the 80’s Andy Petrusevics had much personal experience to draw from and much of the artwork and animation has been inspired by his own experience.  Andy Petrusevics worked closely with Michael Mills to develop the narrative, and brought together many of the interviewees for the story.

One of the spectacular sites is the East End Market gateway located on the Union Street entranceway to Ebenezer lane. Many decades ago it was the site of hustle and bustle, as market gardeners trucked in their boxes of produce grown in Virginia greenhouses and further beyond, selling to the people of Adelaide well before dawn broke, which gave Rundle Street a 24 hour life cycle of market growers, businesses, community and the cultivation of creativity at all hours.

While a stunning artists-eye-view of the East End Market and its neighbours unfolded through the projection onto the Gateway, the soundscape offered a deeper emotional interaction. The calling voices of the past shared with listeners a stirring sense of pride, opportunity, tragedy, loss, romance, grief, and the complex feelings about change that happens around us in the urban landscape, with an understanding of whose footsteps have echoed in this gateway.

Listening to the unfolding stories of people who have lived and created in years gone by, while strolling past an array of historic material and surreal memories brought a deeper dimension to light – the past among the present – to all the sites along the East End Echoes trail.

Technically the East End Echoes was categorised as a festival projection but it is intended that the soundscapes and captioned track will remain public, so that South Australia can continue to enjoy the stories of the East End.

To find out more about the project and all of the people who have been involved, you can visit illuminart’s project page, or jump onto the weekend notes archive.