Mazin Orfali
Diploma 6

Singing Landscapes: The Lost Language Repository

The Australian Aboriginal culture is defined by its oral tradition. However, it is a tradition that is on the verge of being diluted and lost forever.

Existing Archiving formats and systems in place to record and illustrate this oral culture are inefficient as the information is detached from its context of the landscape.

Singing Landscapes allows for the architectural parameters of a spatial experience to exist in the air and the earth of the Australian landscape.

The archive of the Air which is transmitted through the obsolete radio spectrum of the shortwave and the Archive of the Earth which is embedded within the ground through the use of infrasound from the acoustic spectrum.

Thus the architecture becomes these two invisible landscapes where one can experience space and knowledge simultaneously in a parameter that is invisible to the naked eye.

The role of the physical will be to emit and tune into the information allowing the user to experience this rich and vast knowledge within the landscape rather than through the medium of a computer screen connected to the information cloud.

The school has the largest classrooms in existence. The network that connects student to teacher over thousands of kilometers in the outback allows lessons to be taught without the need for a physical teaching space. The invisible landscape of the shortwave radio frequency facilitates this unique form of invisible architecture.  The information of Aboriginal bushcraft and stories are embedded within the shortwave frequency amongst other SOS radio stations such as the School of the Air and the Flying Doctor. On 25 October 2015 at the times of 8am, 1pm and 6pm, there were many listeners to this archived information. The individuals tuning in create an archival network that is constantly shifting and evolving as listeners tune in and out of the archive. A lost explorer tunes into the Archive of the Air to listen to the Martu Aboriginal knowledge of the landscape around Lake Disappointment. Food and drink can now be uncovered.The Archive of the Earth exists within the invisible landscape of the seismic infra-sounds that resonate from infraplants embedded within the outback. They emit information in directions of Songlines or at specific sites. A listener of the Archive of the Earth can now experience the knowledge of the landscape within the landscape itself rather than the computer screen located thousands of miles away. 

The drawing is a tactile map that can be understood through touch. The visible lines and colour represent what can actually be seen rather than what can be tuned into. There are two ways of experiencing the Archive of the Earth: a personal more intimate experience or the more communal and public one. 

This is the personal way of navigating the Archive. The artefact becomes an extension of the body which connects the individual to the landscape. 

The point punctures the crust of the landscape where infra-sounds are detected. The geophone and data conditioning circuit decode the information and emits it as a vibration. The vibrations resonate through the elbow bone of the user to the point of his finger, which through the use of bone conduction, allows him/her to hear the archive. 

The Artefact was hand-carved from Lime Wood whilst the ergonomic pieces were cast in alloy metals. 

Special Thanks to Hussam Flayhan.