White Drummer Goes Under


Tina Havelock Stevens

White Drummer fathoms the depths and spontaneously plays a river. She plays with fragility and survival in the face of the ridiculous and the impossible. This is the first ever known performance on planet earth of playing a full drum kit underwater. Here is the sound she makes.

Artist/Performer: Tina Havelock Stevens is White Drummer Sound: Chris Townend

Tina Havelock Stevens is an interdisciplinary artist based in Sydney, whose work is rooted in rhythm and knowing. Her educational background is in film, sound, philosophy and cultural studies. With a sturdy start as drummer in seminal post punk band Plug Uglies she later moved to video art, installation, performance art, improvisation/composition and sound design and is currently the only known artist to play a spontaneous composition on a full drum kit whilst fully submerged underwater.

Tina performs in solo mode under the moniker of White Drummer. White Drummer creates spontaneous compositions as durational performance in site-specific locations. She taps into the frequencies, the electromagnetic pulses of places and times and the inexplicable. The performances are not framed by their location, but inhabit them visually and sonically. They are sometimes recorded for installation.

Tina has a band called The Mumps who play instrumental visual post -rock and was a founding member of art collective Alterbeast who work around unpleasant feelings. Recently she won the 2013 Fisher Ghost Prize for Contemporary Art and was the branding for the MONA FOMA Festival 2013 with a shot taken during a White Drummer durational performance on the river outside MONA.

Other selected work includes White Drummer Submerge, MONA FOMA 2013 commissioned live world-first performance and sonic event of underwater drumming, Funpark Sydney Festival, White Drummer Detroit Tin Sheds Gallery, Chicks on Speed Collaborations, Transmission at Campbelltown Arts Centre, Ghost Wash for Brisbane Festival, Retro Future Spective Festival at PS122 NYC, Alterbeast Penrith Regional Gallery, Gertrude Street Contemporary and Sydney Biennale 2010, Artspace.

Shortlist history




30 June at 04:45PM


Send White Drummer into outer space, can't wait to hear zero gravity rhythms. Lady drummers rule.

Tricky Walsh

02 July at 04:42PM

the woman played drums in the derwent river and it was amazing ffs send her into space.

Tricky Walsh

02 July at 04:43PM



Anthony Bautovich

02 July at 08:11PM


Definitely YES!! Amazing work needs to be launched! Just do it!

Lori E. Seid

03 July at 12:03AM


Tina H. Stevens is an amazing artist I have been following since meeting her while I was on tour in Australia in 1996. I work with a lot of artists and Tina has that soul spark, that glimmer in her eye, and I knew immediately she was one to watch. She has not disappointed me in anyway over all these years. Actually, just the opposite. Tina H. Stevens, constantly blows me away as she grows more sophisticated in her execution of her visions. From her short films, to her bands, to her art installations of extreme drumming including being submerged underwater , she is an incredible artist filled with the wonderment of life. This artwork should make it to space and beyond. The universe needs her.


03 July at 01:54AM


Tina plays a percussive message that needs to be heard in distant galaxies and in our lounge rooms. I think her work is honest and deeply optimistic. Send her to space!

Maggie Wrigley

23 July at 04:04AM


I’ve worked with Tina Havelock Stevens in New York and Detroit. She is an extraordinary artist – unique, constantly evolving, and tireless. This artwork pushed her physical self to the extreme in service to the idea. A human out of her element, almost out of her depth. These sounds are powerful, ephemeral, transporting - from below the surface of the wet planet – and belong out amongst the stars! These are sounds that speak to the mysteries of the universe.

John Willsteed

01 August at 07:57PM


There's something ludicrous and terribly serious about this work. Ms. Havelock Stevens' search for meaningful sound in such divergent, surprising locations is a pleasure to share. She uses a natural, intrinsic understanding of space and density and distance to craft energetic musical works that are both challenging and listenable. In this, she occupies a rare space, but she is nether precious nor difficult. She is, plainly, a natural communicator as a drummer, artist and filmmaker. We are lucky to have her. And I can't believe she made a kit sound like that underwater, and that she played with such confidence. The universe needs to hear this!!!

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