A Galaxy Of Suns: Michaela Gleave's Vision Is A Reality At Horizon Festival

  • Written by  Gyan Rocha
  • Wednesday, 21 August 2019 10:47
Published in Arts  
'A Galaxy Of Suns' 'A Galaxy Of Suns' Image © Lucy Parakhina

Get ready for 'A Galaxy Of Suns', the spectacular 32-part choir performance that ‘sings’ the stars as they rise and set over 360 degrees of the horizon.


'A Galaxy of Suns' is a unique collaboration of contemporary art, music, astronomy, and design at Horizon Festival, which operates on a galactic scale, transcribing constellations into musical scores with matching light displays. Formed by Michaela Gleave in collaboration with Amanda Cole and Warren Armstrong, Michaela is best known for her viral '7 Hour Balloon Work' which has racked up over 219 million views.

“Most things are in place, the choir is all lined up, the location is booked, there's a few behind-the-scenes things to do but we’re all on track,” contemporary artist Michaela Gleave says.

“The best way of visualising what the project is, is we’re treating the earth like a giant spinning music box so when a star comes up it triggers a note.”

It all started as a self-generating music app and Michaela was trying to figure out a way to host an event for the public to be able to visualise it.

“Warren, the programmer, said jokingly, ‘the only way to avoid technical problems is to have someone standing on a step singing’.”

“My mind exploded, I said ‘awesome! We will get a whole choir, and it’s going to be amazing’ but yeah, it’s been a really fun journey.”

For the performance, the singers all have their own smartphones, and they hear reference tones to then repeat.

“It is a bit of a challenge for the choir, and it’s a new experience for most of them, but the singers always love it, but it could just be the really shiny capes we give them to wear.”

GalaxySuns LucyParakhina2
Image © Lucy Parakhina

An Australian project years in the making, the production featured at Melbourne Festival in 2017 and has also been previously showcased as part of the 2016 Bristol Biennial in the UK.

“It sort of [gets easier to setup], but each performance is quite different because we do respond to each of the sites we’re working with, this is only the second time we have performed outdoors which is a whole other kettle of fish dealing with the miking and sound engineering, so that’s exciting and we’ve never presented in a natural setting before.”

“We’re working with the most amazing sound engineer Bob Scott, so he is flying up with us as part of our touring company, so his magic comes in there.”

The concept all began with a Facebook chat with composer Amanda Cole.

“This project was really instigated by Amanda who saw a work of mine on social media, she got in contact with me and told me to send her the data file... That’s how the whole project kicked off.”

“For me as a visual artist it's super exciting being able to collaborate with people outside my field, Warren has a background as a programmer and Amanda is a composer, so it’s amazing being able to piggyback off their skill sets and the range of opportunities that open up through that.”

The three balance out their incredible work ethics and use their array of talents and experience for a distinct combination.

“It’s been awesome working with Amanda Cole and Warren Armstrong, I can’t even remember how long we’ve been working together for. We’ve had a longstanding collaboration, and it’s always been a pleasure working with those guys.”

'A Galaxy Of Suns' plays 31 August at Bankfoot House, Glass House Mountains.

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