Phil Dadson

Resonance II

Resonance II by Phil Dadson

Artwork Detail

Resonance II is one Philip Dadson’s most widely exhibited video works; along with Echo-Logo and Anatomia Sonora da Camera.

When first shown as part of Sound Symposium’94 as a video with an accompanying spoken word performance of a script component where the following sources of sound were both recalled and described: kundus, crystal sets and short-wave radios, rotary fans, snoring, door, cicadas, earthquake, song-stones and frogs. These audio texts prepared by Phil Dadson indicate the extent to which sound and audio experience has always been of primary significance to him as an artist.

Shot between 1992 and 1994, Resonance was remastered to HD in 2017. Over a duration of 22 minutes and 47 seconds, the artist introduces viewers to sequential narrative episodes that are readings recorded from his booklet Sound-stones. Each story recalls a significant moment in from the artist’s memory of sound events that he has experienced. Previously, this voice-over commentary was presented simultaneously as a live performance to accompany the video projection. In the 2017 remastering these audio components were reintegrated.

The video is presented, firstly, in black and white which then alternates with colour sequences. Many types of sound are included, hand-rubbing and hand-clapping; song-stones are scraped, banged, tapped and knocked, the artist’s mouth and throat are employed so that they act as an echo chamber.

The video becomes an audio-scape weaving together spoken memories, percussive rhythms and silhouetted patterns. Hands and fingers pulsate and work together in a rapid contrapuntal manner that, at subsequent times, sound like xylophones and castanets. The counterpoint of this sound medley sets up complex rhythmic patterns that frequently echo a shifting geographic origin for the sound and its progression. The spontaneous and intuitive audio-scapes are presented in a bravura manner so that the video both personal and global issues of sound-making.

In Resonance Philip Dadson recalls a journey to the Māori rock art sites such as those at Frenchman's Gully Rd, Pareora, Timaru and a subsequent journey to the Kaikoura Coast where he encountered the stone shingled coastline; where he notes the ‘shingles sang’; reminding him of his childhood at Napier. By interweaving his own experience of ‘singing stones’, Dadson creates a video work that is almost a testimony to his brilliance as a composer focussed on aural naturalism; where hearing nature and giving attention to what is heard in nature are the raison d’etre of his vocation.

Resonance II
Production date
single-channel HD digital video, 4:3, colour, sound
22min 47sec
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2018
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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