Untitled (Death Song) (2020), takes its first note from the haunting cries of the yellow-eyed Bush Stone-curlew. An endangered species within New South Wales and Victoria due to land clearing, habitat loss and predation by feral cats and foxes, the Bush Stone-curlew is known for its distinctive call, a ghost-like “weer-lo” sound. Heard in chorus and crescendo with other Bush Stone-curlews, the eerie call is often mistaken for a crying baby or wailing woman. Cope is deeply interested in the sound of Country; if the land could sing, how might it sound? Taking her cue from the Bush Stone-curlew, Untitled is a lament. The threatened status of the bird not only registers significant ecological change and the impact of modern agricultural land management; it is a harbinger, a warning for the future.
The artist would like to thank Isha Ram Das, Sound Designer; Hoshio Shinohara, Collaborative maker; Rafaela McDonald and Liquid Architecture
Untitled (Death Song)
6 instruments made of repurposed soil augers, oil drums, piano strings, and rocks from South Australia Drill Core Reference Library, Adelaide, sound.
Photograph: Saul Steed/AGSA