Cancelled: Seasons in Blak Box at the Royal Botanic Gardens

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Price: $29
Discover the subtleties of the Kulin seasonal calendar at this purpose-built sonic pavilion in the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Update (June 3): This event was changed to reflect Rising's cancellation.

The coming of snow or the falling of leaves are reliable signs that the season is changing – in Europe. Here, First Peoples have been marking the seasons their own way for thousands of years: by the flowering of the manna gum, the emergence of wombats from their burrows, and the mating calls of koalas, to name a few.

The Kulin seasonal calendar, used around Melbourne, has seven annual seasons, not four, plus two non-annual seasons: fire and flood. The prosperity of the people of the Kulin nation was highly dependent on reading and interpreting this calendar’s multifarious signs.

Seasons in Blak Box, jointly presented by Rising and Yirramboi Festival (May 6–16), is a purpose-built sonic pavilion designed by Brisbane-based architect Kevin O’Brien in which to discover, and immerse yourself in, these annual ebbs and flows of nature.

Composer James Henry has brought each season to life with a series of atmospheric soundscapes, dotted with sparse rhythms. Inside Blak Box you’ll be invited to engage in “deep listening”, as complementary lighting shifts subtly around you, changing colour to represent each season.

Deep listening is, itself, another Indigenous concept. Some local languages have words for different types of listening, with some more attentive than others. This distinction often comes into play when listening to elders.

It’s fitting, then, that Seasons in Blak Box features recorded excerpts of interviews Aboriginal broadcaster and journalist Daniel Browning conducted with six First Peoples artists and elders: N’arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs AM, Isobel Morphy-Walsh, Aunty Joy Murphy AO, Justice Nelson, Fay Stewart-Muir and Mandy Nicholson.

Mixing scientific observations with more informal recollections, the 50-minute Seasons in Blak Box is an oral history of sorts – one that aims to allow anyone to connect with Country from a First Peoples perspective.

Mon to Thu, 6pm and 7.15pm
Fri & Sat, 6pm, 7.15pm, 8.30pm

Each session lasts for 50 minutes.