Direct Aerial Work

14.03.2019

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 she produced in 2011 for her 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 she was a student in my Sound Art unit at RMIT University where she was 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 her after exiting one of my classes (which involved a lot of listening) and being sensitized to the soundscape of the city. She explained to me that she 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 helicopters presence was determined by civil aviation safety requirements, which minimize 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.

Sincerely,

Dr. Paul Doornbusch
Associate Dean

www.collarts.edu.au

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