Direct Aerial Work


Re: Jessie Bullivant, Direct Aerial Work, 2011.

To Whom it May Concern,

I am writing in support of Jessie Bullivant’s piece Direct Aerial Work, which they produced in 2011 for their Graduate Exhibition at RMIT University. The work consisted of a helicopter that was hired to hover over the opening event for an extended period.

I met Jessie in 2011 when they were a student in my Sound Art unit at RMIT University where they were a distinguished student. I know that Jessie became interested in sound – how it is produced and spatialised – during my course, and I believe that the idea of involving a helicopter occurred to them after exiting one of my classes (which involved a lot of listening) and being sensitised to the soundscape of the city. They explained to me that they imagined the work producing a sound that filled the entire exhibition space, and sought my advice during its development to ascertain whether it would be audible from inside the buildings that the exhibition would inhabit.

The height and duration of the helicopter’s presence was determined by civil aviation safety requirements, which minimise risk and noise pollution.

On the evening of the exhibition opening, which happened across various buildings in Melbourne’s centre, there were large groups of audience members moving between and congregating in front of the exhibition buildings. The hard surfaces of the RMIT University buildings reflected the sound, and created a kind of heightened atmosphere.

Of course, an opening is about more than just the art being exhibited, especially a graduate exhibition which represents the completion of a number of years studying and a debut in the field. So in this context, the work resonated (sic) as a kind of performative arrival.

I believe it was an ambitious and unique work, and I take pleasure writing in support of it.


Dr. Paul Doornbusch
Associate Dean

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