Dartington International Summer School '18


Attendance at the Dartington International Summer School and recipient of the John Amis Award - a scholarship to support a 1 week course of intensive study for an Australian musician.

I spent a wonderful week studying with Neil Brand and the Dead Rat Orchestra on an installation piece within the grounds of Dartington. This piece involved an electronic file, completed at the academy, installed within 4 large tree hollows. Each tree had a speaker either hidden within its surface or in view as strange clockwork-esque flowers.

Each of tree played a file and saturated the audience in a space where sounds rise and fall suddenly. The rationale behind the piece was a comment on memory in place - thinking about the many centuries of activities that have passed at the grounds and those same four trees watching over it all.


The images included are of the wonderful and varied concerts attended throughout the summer school.

Presented below is an excerpt of one of the files which was strung through the trees and played as a continuous installation. The image for the piece is a cross section of the brain - showing the arbre de vie.

The grounds at Dartington hold space to four beautiful old and naturally hollowed out trees. When deciding on how to use the space, I was interested in presenting the trees as observers, creating a space within which the audience was invited to listen.

As one wove through the four trees, the speakers presented varying levels from each speaker from the simple positioning of audience members, temperature, movements of air, etc.

This gave an animate life to the work and offered a sense that the work was always changing. The result was a focusing on the surroundings of the installation that looked out over the grounds of Dartington.

The idea of memory and forests has been a subject of intrigue in my work for the past few years. Bringing together research to curiosity was great fun and resulted in a work that offered a unique approach the space so many before me have known and animated with music and art.

Special thank you to Isla Barring and the team at Tait Memorial Trust.

Kirsten-film improv.jpg

Photo to left: taken during the film screening concert to conclude the week’s studies at Dartington. Shown here is a performance on piano, with 7 Thai singing bowls, to Hitchcock’s silent film ‘Blackmail’.

Kirsten Milenko