Sistema Sounds

AwhiWorld and Sistema Whangarei created an interactive site specific sound installation celebrating the space outside the Old Library building in Whangarei CBD.

Sistema Whangarei transforms the lives of children in the local community through orchestral music training. Their goals are to combat poverty, strengthen the spirit, and foster making positive choices, creating an environment of “anything is possible” for self and others.

Nick Grew, Head of Music at Whangarei Girls High School, facilitated two workshops (with the help of Fiona Douglas, Sistema). The first workshop, involving 30 children, devised the sounds for the installation using different orchestral instruments and voices. The sounds were improvised and experimental in nature and designed to reflect the space that was chosen. Children noticed wind, voices, birds and other elements were part of the space and were inspired by these elements to create these elements themselves in small groups.

In the second workshop the children rehearsed and refined their ‘samples’ and then recorded these works in turn for use in the installation. Tim Bell (Bell Tech) recorded each group’s sounds live and then a final informal concert was conducted by Nick.


After receiving the recordings, I then inserted the samples into a micro-controller/sensor-based system, randomising them so a new ‘performance’ occurred with each triggered movement across the space. The work was on a timer to play 8 to 8pm each day and was a temporary installation from 17th to the 31st October, 2018.

This work was kindly supported by Creative Communities Whangarei