Exploring Tasmania's deep past through music and art

Imagining Deep Time QVMAG

Image: Tasmanian musicians musicians Yyan Ng and Emily Sheppard.

Dr Penny Jones has an impressive resume, holding the titles of palaeoecologist, archaeologist, aerobiologist, pyrogeographer, and environmental health researcher.

Through her research of Australia's human and ecological history, Dr Jones often shares her knowledge with communities across Tasmania.

Most recently, Dr Jones has been travelling the State as part of a new collaboration of science, art and music in Imagining Deep Time.

Co-created by Dr Jones (scientific narrative), artist Dr Amy Jackett (visual art), and musicians Yyan Ng (taiko, guitar, shakuhachi), Emily Sheppard (violin) and Georgia Shine (cello), Imagining Deep Time shares the spectacular journey of our island — from its birth over a billion years ago to the mountain-crushing ice age that brought the arrival of the First Peoples — creating an immersive historical storytelling experience.

Throughout the event artist Dr Amy Jackett will create live art in front of the audience in response to the storytelling of Dr Jones and the musical soundscape of musicians Ng, Sheppard and Shine.

Set to the backdrop of awe-inspiring acrylic landscape works by artist Tony Smibert in the exhibition Tao Sublime at the Art Gallery at Royal Park, guests will be surrounded by the rugged landscape of our island while watching the live performance.

City of Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said this event offered a unique experience blending music, science, and art.

'This program is a great representation of how industries can collaborate to create interactive and educational experiences for our community,' Mayor van Zetten said.

Dr Penny Jones said it had been an incredible privilege to work with the musicians and Amy to bring the story of deep time to life.

'There are so many twists and turns—from giant mountain building events, which folded layers and layers of rock, to the glaciers that carved valleys in the ice age eras,' Dr Jones said.

'By sharing this story in a vibrant, immersive way, we hope to inspire a sense of awe and wonder, as well as strengthen our appreciation of the landscapes we see around us.'

Tasmanian marine scientist and musician Emily Sheppard said the performance offered a unique, and often rare, opportunity to think about our history on earth on a large time scale. 

'I like seeing how audiences interact with the story, as it's a topic that a lot of people don't know a great deal about,' Sheppard said.

'There are not many times in life where we stop to think about time on this kind of scale. We often think about time in the sense one hundred or two hundred years, but not on a scale of millions of years, so it is interesting to help people gain perspective.

'My mind is often blown by science and it's great to be able to share this with a wider audience.'

Imagining Deep Time will be held at the Art Gallery at Royal Park (2 Wellington Street) at 2pm on Saturday 10 September 2022 with free entry. Bookings are essential via the QVMAG Eventbrite page.

Issued Friday 9 September 2022.