ELISION’s concert takes audiences on a dynamic sound journey


Tristram Williams performing Matthew Sergeant’s work ‘terrains’ at ELISION Ensemble’s concert The Surface Project, RMIT Storey Hall, 2016. Photo by Margund Sallowsky.

Congratulations ELISION Ensemble on a wonderful performance at last night’s concert of The Surface Project at RMIT Storey Hall, presented by RMIT Gallery in partnership with RMIT SIAL Sound Studios.

The concert was part of the public programs for the RMIT Gallery exhibition ELISION:30 years, on until 22 October.

Composers Matthew Sergeant flew in from the UK and Timothy McCormack from the US to hear their works performed.

Sergeant’s work [terrains] was written for Tristram Williams (who performed the piece), “in friendship and the sincerest admiration.”


Composer Matthew Sergeant applauds musician Tristram Williams after his performance of ‘terrains’

“It’s certainly not really about development, as the word is usually defined. Nor is it really about contrast,” explains Sergeant.

“In one way I suppose it’s more like watching an earwig or a mountain goat weave its way across different planes – some steep, some high, some tight, some sprawling – and watching that same creature accommodate such different lands in its gait.

“And yet, in another way, it’s about the land itself. A mountain not just as a relief but as an imprint in the sky. And how – just like the ‘Gestalt Vase’ (is it a vase or two opposing faces?) – one’s impression oscillates between foregroundings of these different states. Relief/imprint. Pitch/noise.

The Surface Project concert performance was especially emotional for composer Timothy McCormack, as it was the world premiere of his work ‘subsidence’.

The music, performed by Daryl Buckley and Peter Neville, took audiences on a haunting Gothic journey – and the composition itself took four years and featured a ‘third player’ – according to Buckley, ‘the instrument asserted itself in the piece.’

McCormack explains: “subsidence plumbs a nearly featureless world of soft but charged noise to reveal its subterranean motion. At times static, at times turbulent, the movements and behaviours within this noise embody a geologic heaviness and hugeness.

“Named after the gradual caving in or sinking of an area of land, subsidence enacts a slow concentration of matter and energy which give way to a protracted, eventually cataclysmic implosion.”


(left to right) Daryl Buckley in rehearsal with composer Timothy McCormack, working on McCormack’s piece ‘subsidence’.

Subsidence was commissioned and recorded for the RMIT Sonic Arts Collection.

The Surface Project comprised four works – Aaron Cassidy’s The wreck of former boundaries (for electric lap-steel guitar and electronics),  Matthew Sergeant’s  [terrains] (For quartertone flugelhorn with preparation), the world premiere of Timothy McCormack’s subsidence (for electric lap-steel guitar with two players) and Richard Barrett’s Codex III (for three players).

Associate professor Lawrence Harvey, Director of the RMIT Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory (SIAL) provided sound spatialisation, along with technical management by Simon Maisch.

“This concert continues RMIT’s research and practice into spatial music performance,” said Harvey.
“For this performance we used a different software solution, but similar technique to previous events.  The different software for sound spatialisation, meant we could move individual instrument sounds in real-time, making for a more dynamic and responsive approach to the sound.

ELISION Ensemble musicians (left to right) Tristram Williams, Peter Neville and Daryl Buckley perform Richard Barrett’s ‘Codex 111’ at The Surface Project concert performance, RMIT Storey Hall, 2016. Photo by Margund Sallowsky.

 “We also placed the performers further into the sound-field of the speakers, allowing them to hear more of the spatialisation.”
A video of The Surface Project concert will be shown during the RMIT Gallery exhibition ELISION: 30 years (9 September – 22 October).



Free ELISION concert – September 21 RMIT Storey Hall


(left to right) musician Daryl Buckley with visiting composers Matthew Sergeant and Timothy McCormack, at RMIT Gallery’s ELISION: 30 years exhibition.

The internationally renowned ELISION Ensemble will be performing in a free concert at RMIT Storey Hall on Wednesday 21 September from 6.30-8 pm.

Register for tickets

The Surface Project concert features Daryl Buckley, Peter Neville and Tristram Williams performing the world premiere of Timothy McCormack’s subsidence, as well as works by Aaron Cassidy, Matthew Sergeant and Richard Barrett.

This is a wonderful opportunity to see ELISION in concert in Melbourne. The Ensemble explore new ways of incorporating performative techniques into musical performance, making the contemporary classical music concert both visually and aurally exciting for audiences.

ELISION turns 30 years old this year. To celebrate, RMIT Gallery’s exhibition ELISION: 30 years (9 September – 22 October) features regular performances and talks, as well as The Surface Project concert performance. Read the full list of lunchtime performances and talks. 

‘ELISION cultivates an elaborate vocabulary of choreographic behaviour in sonic design’ said creative director, and founding member Daryl Buckley.

‘The Surface Project will showcase radical new techniques in performance.’

Audiences will be able to hear Aaron Cassidy’s The wreck of former boundaries, Matthew Sergeant’s terrains, Richard Barett’s Codex as well as Timothy McCormack’s subsidence. All works fall under the rubric of The Surface Project.

Buckley will play an electric lap-steel guitar, which combined with new tunings, new double slide techniques and a radical use of the bridge system to affect pitch alteration, will enable an exploration of the concept of ‘surface’ across the three works.

The Surface Project  will be premiered at RMIT on 21 September, in partnership with SIAL Sound Studios. It will then tour as part of the ELISION Ensemble’s ongoing appearances at the Harvard Music Department, Carriageworks, the Singapore Festival and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.



Andrew Ford, composer and presenter of The Music Show on Radio National, talks to ELISION creative director Daryl Buckley, and to composer Liza Lim. Listen now





Radical Actions: Irish artists join us at RMIT Gallery

Jesse Linda & Seamus

Radical Actions curator Linda Shevlin (centre) with artists Jesse Jones and Seamus Nolan, outside RMIT Gallery in Melbourne.

Curator Linda Shevlin and artists Jesse Jones and Seamus Nolan are in Melbourne for the opening of their exhibition Radical Actions on Thursday 8 September 6-8 pm, featuring Teeling Whiskey tastings. Join us!

On Friday 9 September from 1-2.30 pm, our Irish visitors will take audiences through the exhibition, and join Associate Professor Chris Hudson from RMIT’s Communication, Politics and Culture Research Centre to discuss responses to the 1916 Easter Rising 200 years on and the role of artists in imagining and reassessing national identities forged in revolution. Register here for tickets to the Images of Rebellion tour and talk.

Radical Actions (RMIT Gallery: 9 September – 22 October) curated by Linda Shevlin, features new and existing work by Kennedy Browne (Gareth Kennedy & Sarah Browne), Duncan Campbell, Jesse Jones and Seamus Nolan that explores the after effects of Irish independence and self-governance.

“The 1916 Commemoration should not be a time for soft words or a gazing backwards through a green-tinged prism at an idealised past,” said Shevlin.

Join us at RMIT Gallery for both events.


Goldy is coming! Get ready for cosplay magic at RMIT Brunswick on 22 August


Don’t miss the free public lecture with renowned cosplayer, Takahiro (Goldy) Sakai, of the World Cosplay Summit on Monday 22 August from 10.30 am – 11.20 am at RMIT Brunswick.

We still have some tickets left – but the last seats are filling fast.

Goldy, a costume and prop‐making expert from Japan, is a mecha (robot anime) expert. His speciality is recreating the armour of characters from Japanese manga and anime.

Goldy is renowned in the cosplay community for his elaborate armour constructions, including Alphonse Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist, Gurren Lagann from Tengen Topppa Gurren Lagann, and the Strike Freedom Fighter from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny.

This is Goldy’s only appearance in Melbourne. If you are interested in costume design, prop making, Japanese subculture, cosplay and anime – don’t miss out!

Participants will see how cosplay has developed from a minor subculture into a new tool of cross‐cultural exchange worldwide and gain insight into Japan’s tradition of fine craftsmanship.

Register here for your free ticket 


Last week of Quiddity and Light moves: Contemporary Australian Video Art

Our current exhibitions Quiddity and Light moves: Contemporary Australian Video Art end this Saturday 20 August. Don’t miss out – come on in and remember we are open to 7 pm on Thursday and from 12-5pm on Saturday.


The Quiddity curatorium holding the Quiddity catalogue – complete with a critical Q & A from the team in which they explore the ‘slightly challenging schism between [exhibition] conception and implementation.”

Curated by RMIT Gallery in collaboration with interns from the RMIT Master of Arts Management courseQuiddity provided students the opportunity to put the skills they have learned into practice and tests whether theory can stand up to the real-time practicalities of curation in a public art gallery.

The conceptualisation and implementation of the exhibition which explores a ‘behind the scenes’ approach to the RMIT Art Collection are detailed in the Quiddity catalogue (selling for $5) and will be discussed at the final public program on Thursday 18 August from 5.30-6.30 pm along with guest speakers Professor David Forrest, HRD Coordinator, RMIT School of Art, and David Sequeira, a visual artist, art/business consultant and freelance museum education professional.

Prospective students wanting to find out more about the RMIT Master of Arts (Art Management) program would also find the session particularly useful.

Don’t forget to see our video art exhibition while you are at RMIT Gallery this week.

Light moves: Contemporary Australian Video Art is a touring exhibition from the National Gallery of Australia, featuring work by 

  • Daniel Crooks
  • Hayden Fowler
  • Shaun Gladwell
  • Gabriella and Silvana Mangano
  • David Rosetzky
  • Julie Rrap
  • Christian Thompson

Visitors have been mesmerised by the exhibition’s images of bodies moving through space and also by the diversity of work by Australian artists of the highest calibre. In particular, the exhibition is a wonderful opportunity for students in particular to explore a diversity of screen-based work and see how artists use the medium to create conceptual works that speak to their own personal interests and histories.


Light moves: Contemporary Australian Video Art. Installation image by Tobias Titz, RMIT Gallery, 2016.

What: Quiddity and Light moves: Contemporary Australian Video Art

When: Both exhibitions end Saturday 20 August at 5 pm

Where: RMIT Gallery, 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne, 3000.

RMIT Gallery hours: Mon-Fri 11 am – 5 pm/ Thurs 11-7 pm, Saturday 12 noon – 5 pm.

Quiddity catalogue: $5 – available at the front desk, RMIT Gallery.

Wrapping it Up: Quiddity panel Discussion – Thursday 18 August 5.30-6.30 pm. Free – register here


RMIT Open Day 2016 – visit RMIT Gallery


Quiddity installation image by Tobias Titz, RMIT Gallery, 2016.

Come inside RMIT Gallery while you explore the RMIT city campus on 14 August during Open Day. The gallery will be open from 10 am – 4 pm, and you can check out the last week of our current exhibitions. Both exhibitions end on 20 August.

Quiddity provides a behind-the-scenes peek into the RMIT Art Collection, and Light moves: Contemporary Australian Video Art features innovative work from top Australian artists, including RMIT alumni Christian Thompson. In 2010 Thompson became the first Aboriginal Australian to be admitted into the University of Oxford in its 900-year history. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy (Fine Art), Trinity College, University of Oxford, Britain, Master of Theatre, Amsterdam School of Arts, Das Arts, The Netherlands, Masters of Fine Art (Sculpture) RMIT University and Honours (Sculpture) RMIT University, and a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Southern Queensland.


Christian Thompson

LIGHT MOVES IMAGE Christian Thompson, HEAT 2010. Three channel digital video, sound, duration 5 minutes 52 seconds. Collection of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra


RMIT Open Day is on 14 August from 10-4 pm. Plan your Open Day


RMIT Gallery is RMIT University’s premier exhibition gallery, presenting an exemplary professional program of local, Australian and international creative works, research outcomes and cultural stories that promote social and academic interaction between the university and a global public with a focus on external partnerships and digital dissemination.

The public exhibition program delivers unique visceral experiences of visual art, new media, and sonic art, design popular culture, science technology and art fusions in its five museum standard spaces.

Come and see us! We are at 344 Swanston Street, right next to the Storey Hall entrance.

RMIT Gallery (right) is located at 344 Swanston Street. The front facade’s classical design is dominated by the Corinthian columns set on a high base of Malmsbury bluestone. You can’t miss us – we are right next to the iconic Storey Hall extension, which features bright green geometric-shaped windows and tiles.