The Sea Wailing

Elliston, South Australia
with John Turpie

This work was devised as a response to the sad history of settlement in Elliston, South Australia, using natural blowholes in the sharp cliffs to produce a sound work.

On a sharp rocky platform about 4 meters above sea level, in dangerous conditions, we ducted blowholes into tuned organ pipes. As ocean waves compressed the air in caves and tunnels, the holes breathe in and out through the plaster-sealed organ pipes.

The smaller pipes, tuned in the tenor range to form a kind of diminished chord, created a mournful sound as the ocean played them. Large waves crashing against the rocks destroyed the bass pipes; sadly, they never got to sound.


 The Sea Wailing by Cameron Robbins


Three organ pipes – tuned to a diminished chord – were installed into the blowholes


During installation, the average swell height rose to 31 feet, for 24 hours. These huge waves destroyed part of the work


The Sea Wailing by Cameron Robbins