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Sound Seen by Sarah crowEST

1 December 2020

Calling on sound-makers of all persuasions! Let’s make some noise.

From 1 October, we invite you to view and collaborate with our first online commissioned project by Melbourne based artist Sarah crowEST. Experiment with and perform your own translations of crowEST’s diagrammatic scores.

Using visual scores, the artist asks us to explore the different shapes of language and how we interpret the visual into sound.

CrowEST explores connections between text, drawing, painting, noise and sound. Her work spans discipline boundaries of contemporary art, publishing and performance. Her often collaborative projects involve sound artists and the production of diagrammatic scores, instructional works and word-events presented in the form of paintings and backdrops. With a focus on interpretation, she regularly engages in collaborations where experimental translations produce performative outcomes. 

‘Sound Seen’ consists of a series of artworks conceived of as visual scores for experimental musical responses but that can also function as dynamic visual artworks in their own right. crowEST has produced five open-source, diagrammatic scores, developed and documented through a shifting, graphic process. 

A speculative ‘key’ or index connects sonic registers and movements to the visuality of colours and diagrammatic forms. A number of shapes and colours linked by letters to a list of imperatives form a guide to the scores. Deliberately open and ambiguous enough to invite idiosyncratic approaches, the language is prescriptive and precise but invites disobedience and may serve as a provocation. Sound-makers of all persuasions are invited to play and experiment.  

Score #1 has been co-developed with sound artist AHI (aka Luke Whitten) and Rara Zulu, who have produced a recording to be heard online in conjunction with the visual score.

Another of the scores will be co-developed with a local musical group from Shepparton and published at the end of the month.

How to participate…

Choose the score you want to respond to below and download it along with the ‘Key’ document to help you in your audio composition. Then create and record your piece.

Download, save or print your choice of visual score below to respond to in your own sonic way.

Still stuck? We recommend you download our instructions pdf to get you going.

Share your piece

Feel like sharing your sound-response? We would love to hear from you! Tag us on social media using @sam_shepparton, @sarahcrowEST and #soundseen so we can share your piece online. Not on social media? No worries! Email us your work at

Here are some responses from you all so far…

Roger Oulton, Windsor, VIC, responding to Score #2
Tina Douglas, Melbourne, Victoria, responding to Score #3
Teacher Trysh Baggs and 3 Year 7 students from Greater Shepparton Secondary College (McGuire Campus), responding to Score #2
Greater Shepparton Secondary College (McGuire Campus) Staff, responding to Score #4
Honey di Pietro responding to Score #1, Age 6, Melbourne, Victoria
Leo di Pietro responding to Score #2, Age 9, Melbourne, Victoria
Barney Johnson responding to Score #4, Abbotsford, Melbourne
Benjamin Woods responding to score #1, Artist and Flutist, Birrarunga/Naarm/Melbourne

Not feeling musical? Download and print these visual scores as an A3 poster to enjoy at home, or for your laptop background.

About the Artist

Sarah crowEST is a British/Australian visual artist, born in London and currently living and working in Melbourne. CrowEST’s work spans discipline boundaries of contemporary art, publishing and performance. Her recent collaborative projects involve sound artists and the production of diagrammatic scores, instructional works and word-events presented in the form of paintings and backdrops. CrowEST is currently working on a series of open-source scores which will evolve through collusions yet to come.

Recent projects, working at the intersection of sound and image, include an installation and performance at Polyphonic Socialby Liquid Architecture in 2019 and the ‘play’, Dark Ruuumbling Earth at The Melbourne Art Theatre that same year. Large, hanging word and graphic scores in acrylic on linen were shown alongside soundtracks produced in collaboration with sound artists. Also in 2019, Version Excursion, an exhibition at CAVES, Melbourne, of crowEST’s paintings featured a responsive ambient noise loop.

CrowEST was awarded a Shakespeare Grove Artist Studio residency 2017-2020, a Gertrude Contemporary studio residency 2013-2016, and a PhD by University of Melbourne, Victorian College of the Arts, 2013. Recent exhibitions include: Soft Eyes, Dub Wise, Gallery 9, Sydney, 2019, Material Constructs, Ararat Textile Art Museum of Australia, 2018, Peregrinação São Paulo, Brazil, 2017, Endless Circulation, Biennial Tarrawarra Museum of Art, 2016

Feature image: Sarah crowEST, Dark Ruuumbling Earth (performance installation detail), 2019. Photo: Yanni Florence 

Top image: Score #1 (for AHI and Rara Zulu), 2020, pen, laser print, paper, glue on card.


1 December 2020