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Zai Tang

zai-tang
Sonorous City
fuze02@yahoo.co.uk
zaitang.wordpress.com

“ …How do we listen to sounds never before noticed, sounds long vanished, or sounds that are not sounds, exactly, but more like the fluctuations of light, weather and the peculiar feeling that can arise when there is a strong sense of place?” (Toop. 112: 2007)

My work explores the dialogue between sound and space. More specifically, it focuses on the relationship between the soundscape and our perception of the urban environment.

I undertook this project to investigate this in relation to my own experience of London. I felt my interaction with the city was becoming increasingly dislocated and often dictated by routines of work and necessity. Inspired by Situationist ideas of urban exploration, I embarked on a series of journeys stemming from the River Thames. I didn’t plan any routes, I simply let the allure of the landscape and the sounds I experienced lead me towards my next location.

These soundwalks through London’s urban terrain were the initial steps I took towards freely recreating my experience of the city. It gave me the opportunity to examine how my perception of the spaces encountered was being shaped by the sounds present and vice versa. En route I collected and recorded the material I’ve used to create my final piece Sonorous City.

My methodologies and aesthetic decisions have been strongly influenced by experimental music and sound-based artistic practice; in particular Acoustic Ecology, defined by R M Schafer as “…the study of the effects of the acoustic environment or SOUNDSCAPE on the physical responses or behavioural characteristics of creatures living within it…” (Schafer. 271: 1977)

The final work I am presenting has been realised as an immersive sound installation, which invites the audience to use their ears to engage their minds eye, and experience London in a new sonorous light.

References
Schafer, R. M. (1977) The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment & the Tuning of the World, Vermont: Destiny Books
Toop, D. (2007) To Move Within Sound, In: Carlyle, A. Autumn Leaves: Sound and the Environment in Artistic Practise, Paris: Double Entendre

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