Sonaflora Drift captures sounds in hidden places
Wednesday 13 October 2021
Dylan Martorell has created several scores that build from his observations of flora: whether that be the shape and formation of pine needles or Casuarina trees, or the creeping veins that form the interior of a Roldana Petasitis leaf. Developed through walks in neighbouring parks and green spaces in Narrm, these works utilize the growth and structures of plants in order to develop intricate polyphonic scores that create overlapping sonic patterns and utilize the y- and x-axis to map the nodes that form.
Over the past decade, artist and musician Dylan Martorell has created several scores that build from his observations of flora: whether that be the shape and formation of pine needles or Casuarina trees, or the creeping veins that form the interior of a Roldana Petasitis leaf. These works utilize the growth and structures of plants in order to develop intricate polyphonic scores that create overlapping sonic patterns and utilize the y- and x-axis to map the nodes that form from the structures of the plant as ‘Time’ (y) and ‘Frequency’ (x).
Different plant structures suggest various sonic outputs: the fibonacci spirals of cacti becomes an expanding sonic sequence for eight players and their various instruments; the venation system of a fig leaf becomes a stereo field of triggered FM nodal synthesis; others suggest systems for polymetric percussion or overlapping loop systems. The scores have been composed for a variety of instruments and outputs such as a church organ, electronic sine tones, and percussive robotics. They are divided into works that can be played solo or by multiple humans; and those that can only be played via software or complex sequenced hardware.
Over the course of past year’s COVID-19 lockdown’s in Narrm, Martorell walked to the neighbouring parks and green spaces in the 5kms near his home. Through the creation of a series of walking maps, he devised a public and private interaction into the micro / macro spatialisation of the environments in which the plants inhabit. Using the augmented reality app Zome, visiting the exact location of these plants will allow participants to access site-specific material about each individual plant: including taxonomic and historical information alongside sound recordings using the score created. The sound recordings incorporate field recordings on the day that each plant was documented, thus combining the real-world sonic environment of the plant with the imagined artificial alien overlay of human interaction.
While his score series have been shown in numerous exhibitions, these works are a lesser known aspect of Martorell’s practice, which has been evolving since his first series of algorithmic plant scores exhibited at Craft Victoria in 2011. Here in this collection in Disclaimer, we encourage readers to examine both the notation and drawings that grew to create each score and the resulting sonic works.
Editor: Liang Luscombe
Sonaflora Drift is a series of scores developed by artist and musician Dylan Martorell from his observations of flora during walks in neighbouring parks and green spaces in Narrm. The editor of this collection would like to thank Dylan for this beautiful series in such a difficult and dark time, Christopher LG Hill for the use of his writing on Dylan’s practice, and Casey Jones for her editorial support. This project has been assisted by the Stimulate Grant through by the City of Yarra and the Flourish Grant through the City of Moreland.