I am planning a site-specific sound installation at the top of Woodward Street in Wellington, on a popular walking route used by workers to access office buildings on the Terrace. The tunnel itself is tiled, bleak and bunker-like, and runs underground, directly beneath the Terrace.
I will install a soundscape in the tunnel imagining the area in its natural state, before development – just over 150 years ago – to evoke the experience of walking along the former Kumutoto Stream.
Although it is not well known, Kumutoto Stream was an important feature of the area’s natural and social history. Today, it is buried under cement, and flows through a pipe to Wellington Harbour.
I myself commute along the route of the stream, and I’ve found the tunnel to be a point of transition. Emerging onto the Terrace, I find myself entering a cement world that feels disconnected from its past, disconnected from nature, and makes me feel disconnected too.
By creating a soundscape in the tunnel, it is my hope to awaken passers-by to the contrast between then and now, and the danger of how our built environments can rob us of our own vitality.
My project is planned for late 2013/early 2014, and will be reviewed by the Wellington City Council Public Art Panel in October. It is my hope that presenting this work-in-progress at the ADA Symposium in September will raise discussion that will enhance the work’s development and implementation.
The Kumutoto Stream Poster