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Listening to Music Played Backwards: Hazelwood


Jan Nelson’s Listening to Music Played Backwards (Hazelwood) meshes together two areas of concern: youth culture and environmental politics, with the idea of perpetual forward and backward motion as its point of departure. The tree trunk refers to the hotly debated and outdated coal-fired power station, Hazelwood, that produced 2.8% of Australia’s carbon emissions. Likewise, the LP record consists of rock n roll songs that were accused by the conservative right of containing hidden satanic messages when played backwards. As is often the case with Nelson’s work it stands as a meticulous handmade replica of the original, a cast of a tree that stood near the industrial site and a single edition compilation record. As the artist states, I imagined standing at the edge of a forest, throwing the record like a saw blade into the woods, at which point a bird called out ricocheting sound in a perpetual to and fro motion.


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