Water. Clean, fresh flowing water. Indigenous cultures the world over have known forever that water is the precious, sustaining source of life, health and vitality. It was there at the beginning, our beginning. But it wasn’t the spirit moving across the waters; most likely, it was volcanic vents in the deep, collaborating with primordial oceans to create the conditions for life to spring into being.
The ancient Chinese also knew water as power. ‘Weak’, shapeless, it overcame the ‘strong’. Flowing, it hollowed mountains to create valleys and shaped landscapes. It shaped us as well, in iterative cycles of ice-age and thaw and global water cycles which have steered evolution and human migration and settlement. As we’ve become more and more detached from the natural environment as a species, clean fresh water has become taken for granted: it’s literally on tap. But water and our relationship to it is connected to all the natural systems and like them, it’s in decline. And even in cultures and traditions where water or specific waterways are held to be deeply sacred such as the Ganges in India, pollution is so extreme the water is now toxic. Throughout history, water has been symbolically used as ritual cleansing, purification, symbolic of life, but it’s becoming so dense with plastic and other debris that life in the oceans and rivers is on the brink worldwide.
Microplastics have been found in the atmosphere, in rain, and social media is littered with images of ocean-creatures dead from starvation because their stomachs were full of plastic. There are a lot of similarities to the current COVID-19 crisis. This crisis is in a sense invisible to us individually – but it’s worldwide, spreading fast; it’s everywhere and will affect everyone and there is a tipping point past which stepping back becomes impossible. But it also is an opportunity for change, for collective strength and will and positive practical action now.
We are excited to partner with Tangaroa Blue for this next concert. Tangaroa Blue is an organisation with resources and activities Australia-wide focused on volunteer-based clean up of ocean debris and fostering awareness. It’s a great chance for really engaging with this issue practically by participating in some clean ups when possible, donating any concert revenue to their activities, and through our project, fostering social awareness.
It’s also an opportunity for Dreambox Collective to creatively explore our personal relationship with water and to explore another culture’s relationship to it as a way of deepening our own.
You can purchase a recording of this concert here for $10.
Mathilde’s passion for environmental protection comes from growing surrounded by nature. Having always lived by the ocean, this has led to her pursuit of a range of different activities like scuba-diving and kayaking, opening her eyes to not only the beauty that lies beneath the surface, but also the environmental pressures that the world’s oceans face.
Mathilde started volunteering for the Tangaroa Blue Foundation in 2014 whilst she was studying Zoology at James Cook University. She was shocked at the amount of rubbish picked up off the Australian coastline, and in 2016 decided to start living single-use plastic-free. In 2018, she and a friend kayaked over 2,000km from Alaska to Vancouver Island to raise awareness of marine debris. They completed the expedition single-use plastic-free and raised $20,000 for ocean conservation organisations. Mathilde is now a Project Officer for Tangaroa Blue, where she coordinates clean-up and source reduction events for the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI). Her passion for data collection means that she’s often at the sorting table at clean-ups, entering marine debris items into the AMDI database. In her spare time she is currently delving into the world of sailing, a potential new obsession!
Guest Speaker: Mathilde Gordon, Tangaroa Blue
Featured Dreambox Artists
Jolin Jiang: Composer
Equipped with 18 years of classical musical training in Shanghai and Sydney, Jolin Jiang is a passionate composer, orchestrator, pianist, singer, guqin player and music teacher who expresses music with her cross-cultural personality and artistic instincts. Jolin’s current musical style is influenced by her international upbringing, her love for music in the Romantic era, 19th century French music and traditional Chinese music. Her compositional focus is on storytelling, portraying landscape, nature and emotions using both Western orchestral instruments and electronic sounds. In 2018, Jolin was selected as one of the finalists for San Francisco International New Concept Film Festival.
Awarded the Excellence Scholarship from the Australian Institute of Music, she is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Composition and Music Production, with a special interest in Chinese ethnomusicology.
Ivan Zavada: composer
Ivan Zavada is a composer, programmer, designer and academic who proposes an interdisciplinary approach to visual music and network music performance by exploring the synergy and correlation between diverse forms of media, from the micro-variations of sound waves to large scale video projections to create immersive experiences. His most prominent collaboration involved sound mixing for domes and planetariums to accompany images of the northern lights and piano performance – Résonances Boréales. His research focus is the interactive relationship between image and sound within the realm of electroacoustic music. Ivan’s work Chronotope was premiered at the Galileo Galilei Planetarium in Buenos Aires for the Understanding Visual Music Symposium, other visual music works and interactive network music performances were featured in international festivals, symposia and conferences around the world. Originally from Montréal, Québec, Canada, Ivan Zavada moved to Sydney in 2004 to establish himself as a composer and is currently Senior Lecturer at Sydney Conservatorium of Music, The University of Sydney.
Brad Gill: Composer
Brad Gill is a composer, percussionist and co-artistic director of the composer-performer collective Sideband as well as member of the experimental improvisation project ‘Mind on Fire’. He began serious musical studies with a focus on xylophone and percussion, later developing an interest in composition, which he explored while a student at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (from which he has an Honours degree and Ph.D.) and University of Western Australia. During this time he developed an interest in non-Western music, undertaking additional study in Javanese Gamelan and Tabla, as well as studying jazz, resulting in a broad and highly individual compositional and performance style.
Pavle Cajic: Pianist, Composer
Pavle Cajic is a dedicated composer and classical pianist of Serbian background, currently based in Sydney. His music aims to tell stories, evoking feelings and atmospheres that take the listener on visceral journeys. Pavle graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with a degree in piano performance in 2016, which he undertook on a full scholarship, under the tuition of Natalia Sheludiakova, Paul Rickard-Ford and Nikolai Evrov. He has studied composition with prominent Australian composers and conductors such as Tristan Coelho, Trevor Pearce, Brad Gill and the late Richard Gill. His compositions have been performed in Australia and Norway, most frequently with the Sydney-based Voces Caelestium orchestra, which he co-founded with conductor TaeSoo Kim, and his works have been championed by the eminent Norwegian violinist Ole Bohn. As a pianist, he has performed both solo and in collaboration with other musicians at recitals and music festivals in Australia, New Zealand, Italy and Norway.
Chloe Chung: Flautist, Artistic Director
Chloe Chung is an innovative cross-cultural flautist, playing Western classical flute and dizi (Chinese bamboo flute), teaching music, and collaborating with others to foster unexpected musical forms and connections throughout Sydney. Her passion for creativity, sustainability and education are central to her work as an active performer, teacher, and emerging creative director.
A passionate educator, Chloe is currently Academic Lecturer of Flute at AIM (Australian Institute of Music), and Sydney Conservatorium High School. At the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, she teaches dizi, performing regularly with the ensemble.
In 2019, Chloe founded the Dreambox Collective.
Edward Essing: Visual Artist
Visual artist drawing from nature to create clear images. Currently living and working in Hornsby, NSW. In 2018 he was offered the William Fletcher Scholarship, Julian Ashton Art School, where he currently continues to study, paint and teach.