installation / dual HD video with stereo sound, 60 minutes

s.i.a – voices, guitars, organ, melodica
Rhys Butler – saxophones
Hannah De Feyter – violin
Evan Dorrian – cymbals
Tom Fell – saxophones
Kellie Lloyd – electric guitars
Ben Marston – trumpets

composed/collaged/processed by Shoeb Ahmad
with improvisations from Rhys Butler, Tom Fell + Kellie Lloyd

video created from original photography by Anna Mayberry


Canberra Contemporary Arts Space (Gorman House), 1 December 2017 – 10 February 2018
Soft Centre @ Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, 14 September 2019

Commissioned by the Canberra Contemporary Art Space in 2017, my piece broken-binary-brown uses an electro-acoustic sound world – part minimalist wonderland, part chamber opera – and abstracted imagery to take us through darkness, insecurity, light and hope to reveal the inner being of a person in gender flux, both uneasy within, and at peace with themselves.

Reflecting themes of gender identity and the breaking down of societal pre/mis-conception, the premise to create this piece comes from a place of struggle and works with sound as a visceral presence to relieve any inner demons in a therapeutic way, recalling a (silent) primal scream using harmony, dissonance and raw emotions to convey the personal narrative within.

As one’s lifetime is often outlined by the musical tastes that mirror certain times and events, I drew upon an eclectic line up including Bjork, Gavin Bryars, the Romanian folk dances of Bela Bartok and TEXT, a diversionary project that followed the break-up of post-hardcore band Refused. Aiming to capture a ragged and volatile emotional quality, I tried to articulate a life in sound that while in this instance, is distinctive and idiosyncratic, also acknowledges how the music of our lives influences and shape views of the world.

broken-binary-brown is a profound piece, a contemporary Gesamtkunstwerk involving sight, sound and space and more significantly questioning our understanding of the quietly insistent power of change and its enduring effects.” Peter Haynes, The Canberra Times

The CCAS exhibition catalogue can be viewed online HERE