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Without A Trace
13-14 April 2024
Wangal Country: Petersham Town Hall

Without A Trace
Live Art Performance

Wangal Country: Petersham Town Hall

13-14 April, 2024
Material: Black sand on 32 off-white painted MDF panels, contact microphones, motion sensors, Ableton Live software, PVC tubes, industrial brooms, PA System

Dimensions: 10 meters x 10 meters

Performance Duration: 45 - 60 min


Photo by Paul Humpris

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Without a Trace extends my artistic language of creating with disintegrated material whilst engaging with critical themes, such as the automation of creative processes and the impact of technology on cultural memory. This work reflects the enduring human need to create and preserve amidst the relentless pace of technological change, positioning the artist as critical in the digital age.

Staged at Petersham Town Hall, a venue imbued with historical resonance, the performance juxtaposes the ephemeral nature of electronic mediums with the tangible elements of our cultural heritage, emphasising the dialogue between fleeting and enduring forms. The performance occurs in 3 distinct acts: Creation, Erasure, and Co-Creation.


The performance unfolds with forceful, deliberate interactions between the artist and as black sand spreads across a vast plane, where each stroke blends creation with destruction. The sounds of these interactions, captured and amplified, transform into a physical extension of the visuals, creating a multisensory experience that speaks to the complexities of our digital age. In the second act, robotic erasers later traverse this image plane, systematically removing the art in a stark display of creation juxtaposed with obliteration, prompting reflections on the impermanence of art and memory. During this co-creation, the soundscape intensifies, expanding the art from the image plane into the auditory realm.


Sound in this piece transcends its traditional role, becoming a pivotal, sculptural element that shapes the space and modulates audience engagement. This makes the auditory experience an integral part of the artwork's impact. This immersive environment transforms spectatorship into an active, enveloping experience where the viewer observes and lives within the work.


Without a Trace, weaves together various artistic and technological threads, creating a narrative that bridges disparate elements and invites reconsideration of how we integrate and interact with art. It reflects on our cultural identity and the evolving nature of art in a technophilic age.

"Without a Trace" integrates analog and digital technologies with physical mediums, examining cultural heritage's fleeting and enduring aspects through a focused technical approach.


Technical Setup and Integration


During the performance, the artist engages dynamically with black sand spread across a large image plane. This interaction, involving a variety of hand tools, is captured by contact microphones strategically placed to pick up the minutiae of sand movement and footstep vibrations. These sounds are routed into Ableton Live through the Max for Live environment, forming the basis of the evolving soundscape.


Two Max for Live programs run concurrently. The first captures and loops live audio from the microphones, laying the groundwork for the soundscape. The second is crucial for its novel use of technology: it processes signals from body-mounted accelerometer sensors, which detect and translate the artist's movements into additional auditory layers. These sensors, connected via Bluetooth, are controlled using custom software that integrates their data into the live audio stream.


Two audio/data technicians are required for the performance. The first technician captures and processes data from the artist's movements, while the second focuses on the sonic vibrations from the contact microphones. Together, they mix these elements in real time, creating an algorithmic, immersive soundscape that intensifies throughout the hour-long performance.


Performance Dynamics


The dynamic interplay between the physical and digital realms is further explored as robotic erasers systematically remove the sand from the image plane, symbolising the impermanence of art and memory. The sounds of this erasure are also captured and integrated into the soundscape, adding complexity to the auditory experience.


"Without a Trace" extends the visual narrative into the auditory realm, using sound as an essential sculptural component. This integrated setup ensures that the auditory experience is not only immersive but also integral to the artwork's impact, enveloping the audience in a multi-dimensional environment that challenges traditional engagements with performance art.

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Photos by Fancy Boy Photography

Performance Credits

Artist: Kenneth Lambert

Performance Supervisor: Samantha Bleuel

Studio Co-ordinator: Rosie Donovan

Audio (Motion Data): Pedro Tacla Yamada

Audio (Contact Microphones & Mix): Mario Gabrieli & Jack Garzonio

Artist Assistants: Wynton Lambert, Myles Lambert

Cinematography: Tristan Clark

Post Production: @inkcreative_lab

Co-ordinators: Inner West Council

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