Environmental Humanities

Pandemic Vibrations and Indigenous Vibrations

This project is concerned at its core with the environment, the ways that sonic vibrations can be healing to people and the planet, and how artists and musicians can capture these healing elements and communicate them back to a general public that is reeling from the isolation and challenges of the pandemic. This new creative work intends to reflect on and speak to the anxieties and strain of living through and with the COVID-19 Pandemic moment but more broadly use this as an opportunity to bring focus to the importance of sonic vibration in our world and lived experience.

Through collaborations between scholars and artists, this project endeavors to exemplify the ways that creative research methods can contribute to information distribution and communication as well as compliment and at times subvert more traditional mechanisms for doing so. The team will explore this through the use of animation as a platform and creative expressive tool that can blur the lines between whimsy and reality, and collaborative music development over distance that employs high levels of improvisation with a focus on the aspects of indigenous instruments from around the world that resonate in a healing register.

This project aims to contribute to a larger conversation about sonic vibration, the environment, native and indigenous musical knowledges, healing, and art.

Pandemic Vibrations uses a mix of 2D and 3D animation, music, and sound design to explore the environmental impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on people’s emotional and physical well-being, while offering a soothing counterpoint to the constant bombarding we all face in the news. This counterpoint comes in the form of the healing vibrational power of music. To do this the project brings what might in ordinary times be an installation-based work into a digital arena so that it can be easily shared widely. The project brings together animators, indigenous and local musicians, and academics to develop an animated story that uses a playful and whimsical set of characters to illustrate the impacts sound has on our bodies, and to introduce and promote the healing properties of different musical traditions from Australia, West Africa, and North America, to an Australian and International audience. The animation is currently being submitted to festivals in Australia and around the world.

Creative Team:

Director: Diana Chester

Director of Animation: Melody Li

Musicians: Benjamin Carey, Julian Bel-bachir, Sonya Holowell, Diana Chester

Animators: Melody Li, Sarnai Gan-Erdene, Saransh Agrawal, Abhimanyu Gupta