8662 – The ALTITUDE Project

Contemporary visual art, sound art, a parkour performance, activities for kids and a sausage sizzle are just some of the elements that are included in The Altitude Project’s weekend of free community events, Altitude – The Aviators in Katoomba on February 17 and 18, 2018.

Held in two parks that were named after famous aviators, Charles Kingsford Smith and Jimmy Melrose, the weekend explores the themes of aviation and the history of the parks. Co-curator Miriam Williamson said that, with the current division in the community over aircraft noise from the proposed second Sydney airport, “it seemed timely to draw from this cultural legacy to engage the audience in both history and contemporary art”.

8662 is an interactive sound installation commemorating the life of the celebrated English female pilot Amy Johnson who, at the time of conferring memorial parks on other historic aviators in Katoomba was overlooked.

The work was commissioned by Miriam Williamson and Mahalya Middlemist for the Blue Mountains Altitude Project and was installed in the Kingsford Smith Park, Katoomba from 5 to 9pm on Saturday the 17th of February and Melrose Park, Katoomba on Sunday the 18th.

Soundtracks – ‘Just Plain Johnnie’ & ‘Johnnie, Our Aeroplane Girl’



This sound installation celebrates Amy’s life in the soundtracks composed from original music and sound design and archival recordings of Amy, including her talking about her England to Australia solo flight from the 5th to the 28th of May 1930. Two old time songs written and recorded about Amy and performed by Jack Lumsdaine and Bob Molyneux in 1930 titled “Johnnie, Our Aeroplane Girl” and “Just Plain Johnnie” have also inspired the tempo and melody of the work. 

The soundtracks are mounted on stands and placed into the ground standing upright in four separate locations along the embankment as you walk down the hill into the Kingsford Smith park from the south side. Passers by can trigger the individual soundtracks as they move within close proximity to each of the 8662 stands and have the option of listening to the work through outdoor speakers or headphones available on one of the stands. The title of the work comes from Amy Johnson’s Aviator’s certificate, No. 8662.

Technically, these stand-alone, battery powered, outdoor, sound modules use Maxbotix Ultrasonic Range Finders, Arduino Uno R3 Micro Controllers, 16 GB Micro SD Cards, Adafruit Wave Shields, Adafruit Lithium Ion Battery Packs, Adafruit Powerboost 500 Basic, Adafruit Mono 2.5W Class D Audio Amplifiers, ABS Waterproof Enclosures,  4” Active Outdoor Mono Speakers, Jumper Wires Premium 6” M/F, Mini Breadboards PCB,  SparkFun Breadboards – Mini Modular, and USB 2.0 Cables Transparent 0.2m

Project Partners & Sponsors

The Linden Observatory Trust, Katoomba Neighbourhood Centre, Blue Mountains City Council, and Friends of Melrose Park.

The Altitude Project is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW and the Blue Mountains City of the Arts Trust Cultural Grants Program 2017 – 2018.