Lisa Lerkenfeldt
Halos of Perception
Shelter Press
Includes Instant Download
Shelter 148 LP
Printed inner sleeve
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1Limestone 7:34
2The painted room 10:18
3Stairway to the interior 4:20
4A fragrance of moss and chalk 7:44
5Cobwebs 6:26
6Amulet of sweat 3:18

I want to introduce this work ‘Halos of Perception’ to you in the way Lisa introduced me to it, through the sharing of experiences.

Lisa and I met for a walk near South Yarra station to talk about this work, when inclement weather made it too wet to visit the tunnels. Moving almost seamlessly from a world of leisurewear, infinite milk alternatives and blaring neons to stretches of green by the water that brimmed with sounds and life, we saw a few people climbing the Burnley bouldering wall, butterflies suspended in the hot wind and lots of plants I wish I knew the names of. Overhead the cars rumbled like a ceaseless animal as we talked about hidden ecosystems, imagined spaces and networks of care.

Stemming from a serendipitous encounter with an original Cave Clan member that led to many underground adventures, this work explores the worlds that exist outside of our perceptions. By the river, I leafed through a selection of tunnel photos Lisa had printed off at Officeworks, revealing alien textures, tunnels that stretch on into abysses of their own, underground flowing streams. Light is sparse and delicate, something reflected by the flickering and wavering in Lisa’s piano compositions.

As we walked, we noticed the ways in which infrastructure is often designed to keep people out—cut doors into fencing and clipped wires show an active and ongoing defiance of this. We spoke about how her Cave Clan friend used to go down to this painted room and read in solitude, using candles for light. The way sound exists underground, encased in these hollow cement tunnels, a painted room with its own deep hum. How people used to hold underground shows, how there were rules for safety (no exploring after rain, never alone) that was shared with each other. This warmth and absorption of other’s experiences is present in Lisa’s work—it’s immersive, like wading in water.

We paused on the walk to eat berries and talk about how The Caretaker creates transitory worlds with recorded sound, how this technology captures memory, and the exploratory pursuits of Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening Band. These citations of memory and deep listening inform Lisa’s use of analogue and classical instruments, playback artefacts and acoustic feedback in her own world-building. When speaking about ‘Halos of Perception’, she describes it as a fascination with timbre and acoustic artefacts.

Ideas of networks and enmeshment are felt deeply in Lisa’s compositions, motifs overlaid over each other evoking the image of many hands interlinking playfully, tenderly, softly. The way her compositions delve into refraction and echo makes me think about the tunnels and the way they splinter off into many possibilities. Manipulated textures reminiscent of the chalky, earthy, moss air that perfumes the tunnels’ subterranean air. Tactile details that gesture towards close attention, verging on obsession.

This work is also about imagining ecosystems of potential. Lisa shared with me that during this project, she has been reimagining subterranean networks in dreams, thinking about oral traditions, and the way water moves—from the sky to the earth, through the ground, connecting all these spheres. Realised in collaboration with hyperreal video artist Tristan Jalleh, Lisa’s dream landscape melds waterfalls, leaks, flower graffiti, and hidden messages lit up by imagined light sources with existing subterranean networks. There’s a real sense of wonder in this world she has built, how the city can reveal itself to you with some patience and care, how the city and its secrets can find its way into your dreams.

— Panda Wong