Parkfield Interventional EQ Fieldwork
Comment from John Patterson
Time: July 5, 2008, 2:29 am
Dear dv rogers,
Hi. I caught the FBI interview and felt compelled to contact you and let you know what an awesome thing I think you’re doing. I was the Sound Designer for the entire Earth Exchange project and was closely involved in the development of the theatrical side of the Earthquake exhibit, working with designers Nick Coffill & Liegh Raymond, photographer Anne Zulaika (from memory) and computer control whizz Graham Thirkell and his crew at Editron in Melbourne. The entire Earth Exchange was a blast to work on, and the three most fascinating and enjoyable projects were the Earthquake, the Volcano and the Mt. Isa replica. The audio for the Earthquake was in quad, and like all major exhibits in the museum, was stored on Eproms (the best technology available at the time for synchronising audio with motor and lighting events) triggered along with the hydraulic sequence and the projected visuals (constantly dissolving stills of the destruction of Sydney created and collaged by hand - this was pre-photoshop). We also had two 18″ subwoofers pointing directly down onto the earthquake floor mounted on existing steel staunchions (there was no room to put them under the floor as we had done in the Volcano). I can remember the initial design of the Earthquake being scaled back slightly during construction because the first tests in situ on the commissioned machine showed a potentially alarming amount of vibration transmitted through every floor of the beautiful old Victorian power station that the museum was located in, and similiar concerns prevented us from cranking the subs quite as much as we would have liked on the exhibit. There were also concerns expressed during the creation, construction and commissioning that the entire exhibit ,whilst attempting to recreate the effect and power of an earthquake, wasn’t to leave the people who rode on it too distressed or freaked out by the experience - especially as the majority of them were likely to be children. To that end, at the end of the ride experience, a short sequence was tacked on showing the (very fast) rebuilding and restoration of Sydney to it’s former glory accompanied by appropriate construction sound effects and finished off with a triumphant kookaburra call once the Harbour bridge had been twisted back into shape and the Opera House had been returned to a re-attached Benelong Point (after it had snapped off, floated into the harbour and sunk during the earthquake!). When I revisited the museum six months after opening, I was politely cursed by the staff I spoke to for being the person responsible for the kookaburra call that rang through the building fifty times a day and drove the (volunteer) staff crazy. (As well as the annoying bell on the mine shaft exhibit that went off two hundred times a day!)
The highlight of the museum was definitely the Earthquake, but the rest of it was pretty cool too. The premier at the time, Bob Carr, closed it down within two years of opening because he said the government could’t afford to stump the one million a year running costs. This was incredibly short sighted given it’s relative success as a scientific learning place for literally hundreds of thousands of children during the short time it was open.. The museum was originally budgeted at fifteen million dollars, and was scheduled to open for the bicentennial in 1988, but project delays saw the budget blow out to thirty million dollars in the end, and an opening in1990 (from memory). Much of that extra fifteen million was raised directly from major Australian and overseas mining companys in the form of donations and sponsorships (I recall one event in the museum as it was being constructed where 50 leading Korean mining industry heavyweights and us staff who were coralled into the event were treated to the edifying sight of the NSW Minister for Mining singing a traditional Korean mining song by way of welcome to these thoroughly confused foriegn business men standing in a building site which the minister hoped they would give him the money to finish). I seem to recall the budget for the whole Earthquake was a million dollars in the end. Ever since the museum closed I have wondered what happened to many of the fabulous exhibits and was thrilled to hear that you had given the most important part of the Earthquake a new life, and particularly in such a wonderful artistic context. All power to you. I still have all the Eathquake sounds and many more besides, so if you ever need any for a future installation, please don’t hesitate to let me know - it’s pretty easy to get them to you in the digital age, and I look forward to keeping abreast of the installation now I know about it. Good luck, and thanks for your time,
Comment from Brian Aunger
Time: November 22, 2008, 9:36 pm
Watch thoese figers and toes .. thoese are priceless.
Makes sound equipment seem light.
Going Ferrel? ..been their. That’s where the matra is “the only for sure thing is that it will be over”.
Good luck on the pack.
Comment from belinda rowe
Time: May 15, 2009, 2:38 pm
art and science - you bloody beauty. wats up? x
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