What if sound recordings from renewable energy sources could tell a story to future generations about how humans lived today?
Ex-radio journalist Kim Goldsmith is creating a portfolio of these sounds, being one of the 29 commissioned arts and media professionals who hailed from 15 regional councils across the state to interpret the state's future.
Her achievements in media and arts earned her a commission from the Dubbo Regional Council to represent the region in the Regional Futures Project organised by the NSW Regional Arts Network.
Across 10 weeks, Ms Goldsmith will be based at the famous Wellington Caves to create a "self-directed" process while consulting with thought leaders and creative directors involved in the project.
Coonabarabran artist Alison Reynolds as well as commissioned artists from the mid-north coast, poet and painter Kit Kelen of Bulahdelah, and photographer from Crescent Head, Ronnie Grammatica, joined Ms Goldsmith at the ancient cave at the beginning of their stints brainstorming their projects for their councils.
Ms Goldsmith said she was focused on capturing the sounds around the Dubbo region's environment, and it's not merely recording the sound of tractors on the wheat field or the mooing of cows, but the flowing water at Burrendong Dam, the whirring of wind turbines at Bodangora, and the humming of a solar panel's inverter at Narromine.
How these captured sounds are projected in Ms Goldsmith's artistic mind will come together inside the acoustics of the 400 million years old Cathedral Cave, once she's pieced together the concept she's had in mind into an actual body of work ready for presentation to the public.
After a stint with ABC, Ms Goldsmith turned to creating soundscapes and has completed a series of projects among them an exhibition at the Western Plains Cultural Centre in 2019, Eye of the Corvus, on the sounds of ravens and crows captured in the region and at Iceland.
The exhibition features Ms Goldsmith's interview with Wiradjuri elder, Diane McNaboe and Iceland farmer Sigrun Larusdottir on why crows (Corvids) are "thriving and adapting" to their natural environment in Australia while they are extinct in Iceland.
She spent over two years between Australia and Iceland conducting research, collecting audio, and producing the exhibition that involved looking into a scientific understanding of these animal species while creating as an artist conscious of her environment.
"I might create a video to hang my soundscapes on but I am also a writer so I collect audio stories and create archives of audio stories, of people's connections to a landscape or questions about the future of our natural environments," Ms Goldsmith said.
"Things like wind turbines, I know there has been a lot of controversy around wind turbines because they generate noise, but most of the noise they generate is not loud and is not audible by the naked ear.
"I stuck a microphone at the base of one of the wind turbines [at Bodangora] and there are micro-vibrations happening beneath the soil and that was captured over a massive concrete pad."
She described her residency at Wellington Caves as a "fantastic opportunity because it gives a snapshot of harsh climates, the megaphone, the hydraulics, the landscape of those caves gives a real insight into the past climate. I can take that information and project that into the future."
Right now, her artistic lens is questioning what the future holds for Dubbo-Orana region, or perhaps the far west's ochre earth in the bigger picture of the ecosystem when electricity or power is generated from sun, wind and water.
On the back of Ms Goldsmith's concept is the role of the region's Renewable Energy Zone - covering Orana and Central West regions - projected to produce renewable energy from the sun, wind and water and power 1.5 million homes.
"Essentially I see the Orana and Central West not only the food bowl for Sydney and coastal Australia but it is also the power station of the future...REZ is going to be the power hubs or energy generation hubs that will actually keep the lights on in Sydney and the coastal areas."
And at the core of Ms Goldsmith's concept of the region's future with renewable energy is that life with people and crows won't be co-existing in an idyllic world just as how everyone craves it.
"A lot of people think that when we start using electric cars and using renewable energy and when we get rid of internal combustion engines, diesel, and fossil fuels we will have a quieter life.
"It might be for us but it doesn't necessarily mean it's quieter for other species. Every time we build something, we impact on our environment no matter how green we think that is."
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