Artist Profiles: Vicki Hallett

Vicki Hallett is a composer, versatile musician, sound artist, music practitioner and educator. She is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts and the University of Melbourne. Vicki has composed, produced and performed in live concerts, solo recordings and videos ranging from chamber music to exploratory work with sound art, pain-management meditations, the Elephant Listening Project and acoustic ecology. 

Through her unique approach of combining acoustic ecology, scientific analysis and innovative performance practices, Vicki reshapes the role of interdisciplinary research. CHYA was lucky to be the home of some of Vicki’s ideas in her three month residency in 2019. Here’s a short interview we did with Vicki.

Q: You’re a fresh voice in the Geelong music scene, what is it about this place that gets you excited to work within or around?

V: I feel that I am not limited by the boundaries and significations felt in other countries. Australians have a unique opportunity to create our own artistic culture and narrative. My education in classical music was dominated by overseas dead white men. With no prior knowledge I appreciated this basis for learning but was fascinated by the other areas glossed over. Geelong is evolving and how we grab the potential of this opportunity is up to us. I want to dare to innovate, influence and extend boundaries. I take the opportunity to leave a thoughtful mark in the culture of our land led by my intuition and knowledge. I’m not waiting for a politician to change my world, I will do it myself for my children’s future.

Q: What inspires your projects? Is it an intuitive process?

V: When I am field recording as an acoustic ecologist, I record multiple layers of sound – subterranean, aquatic, atmospheric and contact on surfaces. I create works which open the senses to these rarely heard sounds existing within the environment and explore the space between hearing music and sound as a cultural experience and the aural vibration, not only within the being but beyond. I have an ongoing quest for sonic immersion and creative compositional devices with authenticity and inspiration that finds both myself and the listener delving into an organic landscape of sound. So yes, it is a very intuitive process both as I record, compose and perform. I ask myself “How does another being perceive but a human may not? Can we attempt to hear the world as it is experienced by a particular organism? How do different animals in the same ecosystem tune into different environmental signals and how are these signals fundamental to their communication and signification? How can we hear beyond the limits of our hearing?” My work explores this through image, sound and live performance.

Q: What’s next? What can we expect?

V: I have some collaborations that I am working through for the next few months. Some are overseas collaborations that are gaining momentum but we are doing them remotely. I am continuing to create new works with new performance techniques as well as developing some larger projects.