All aboard for 5 Short Blasts


5 Short Blasts
5 Short Blasts

5 Short Blasts is an intricate audio based project focusing on the complex orchestrations of weather, industry, vessels and habitation in and around Melbourne’s docks.

From Water Plaza in Victoria Harbour and Collins Landing at the Docklands, audience members will board one of five boats to embark on a choreographed listening journey. Those aboard will have their attention shift from the land to the water – ports, jetties, harbors and the people that use them every day.

Floating on a large body of water in a quiet electric boat, collaborating sound-music artists Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey invite audiences to navigate Melbourne’s waterways in a whole new way.

Councillor Rohan Leppert, Chair of the City of Melbourne Arts and Culture portfolio, said 5 Short Blasts allows us to embrace and engage with the city from a totally different perspective.

“This unique production shows us that Melbourne really is a waterfront city,” said Cr Leppert. “5 Short Blasts expands our view of Melbourne and reveals an almost hidden world on the water.”

Skippers on board will steer the boats through the Port of Melbourne and along the Yarra River, recounting water tales through recorded interviews of those who work and play on the water. Each boat is fitted with a custom “sound esky” featuring a VHF marine radio that monitors weather broadcasts and vessel traffic from the Melbourne Vessel Traffic Service.

“In maritime operations, communicating via a signal of five short blasts means ‘I am unsure of your intentions – I am concerned we are going to collide.’ As a title, 5 Short Blasts evokes a sense of mystery and unknown about Melbourne's water culture,” said Flynn and Humphrey.

Over the past 18 months, the artists researched many aspects of maritime life and conducted over 40 interviews with people connected to Melbourne’s waterways. These interviews make up the soundtrack to the work.

During the voyage, the waterway communities will play out their usual waterside activities (including fishing, rowing, semaphore and paddling) choreographed to complement the sound work.

5 Short Blasts can be experienced in three ways:

• Jump on board the flotilla – book your spot on one of five small battery operated boats on the water throughout the Docklands

• Tower Radio 89.5FM - sound installation will be broadcast over a 30 kilometre radius from the Old Harbour Master Tower on the North Wharf in the Docklands, during the performance time

• Web-Boat - a live online experience via a camera connected to one of the flotilla vessels, will be available during the performance times. Experience 5 Short Blasts online via

Visit the City of Melbourne's Online Media Centre:

5 Short Blasts is produced by the City of Melbourne’s Arts Participation Program, with support from Port of Melbourne Corporation.

Season: Friday, 22 November – Sunday, 15 December 2013

Times: Fri 6am & 7.30am / Sat 8am & 9.30am / Sun 9am & 10.30am

Duration: 60 minutes

Location: Flotilla 1 Departing Water Plaza in Victoria Harbour

Location: Flotilla 2 Departing Collins Landing at the Docklands

Tickets FREE – but bookings are essential as spaces are limited.


Please note Bookings are essential!


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Docklands Yacht Club overlooks Victoria Harbour with sweeping views of the Melbourne City skyline and the ever changing Docklands precinct.  From January 2016, sailing will take place from the 60 metre pontoon at our new premises - the Community Boating Hub, 912 Collins Street, adacent to the Library at Dock Square.  Community Sailing days are normally the second and fourth Sunday of each month year round from 11am but are subject to change (check Calendar page for more details). Everyone is welcome. We supply the boats, lifejackets and instruction.

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