Architectures of Sound Mixing

“GAP+” explores the mixing mechanism of soundscape. By translating “on-going” aural space of Kulangsu, it re-defined how digital architecture and media intervenes our daily life in various ways. A new perspective of aural space and digital museum is proposed in a real-time and remote manner, in response to urban renovation in digital era.

Image work detail

While history and individual experience of city became marginalized into gaps of in digital era, the huge sounds by consumption colonized everywhere. It becomes critical to bring the rights back to individual, to intervene the city. Kulangsu is a typical example in this condition. Kulangsu - "the Island of Piano" in southeast China, was announced as “World Cultural Heritage” in 2017, but it’s controversial between preservation and commerce. Colonial legacies replaced local culture in 20th century, became its symbol. Now fast iterating internet brands dominates the island – it is an ambiguous island colonized by “elsewheres”. What is the real Kulangsu? Who owns Kulangsu? What is our role to Kulangsu?

Kulangsu, is an island of labyrinthine GAPs. While walking through Kulangsu, I noticed extremely narrow gaps behind crowded streets. In GAPs we can experience the informal Kulangsu. As we walk through GAPs, sounds fade in and out. I abstract GAP as a basic aural element that divides different soundscapes. It filters and compresses sounds from both sides. As a medium of sound mixing, what can be generated by re-composition of GAPs? How? Kulangsu, is a live set for everyone - our experience of the happening Kulangsu is also memorable. I introduced the notion of “scene” in live set music performance –a real-time framework of ambience and sound collage. While walking through on-going scenes on Kulangsu, everyone is the player of their own Live Set - GAP is the key part of mixing. With digital method, the mechanism is transformed into architectures of sound mixing – “GAP+” on Kulangsu and “GAP-“ at exhibition. “GAP+” is a space consists of GAPs, a microcosm of Kulangsu generated by a type of Binary system algorithm - K-D Tree. By overlapping the twisted grid with the original grid, a complex system of holes and tunnels is generated. From bottom to the top, spaces are gradually open and mixed together, the community is mixed and bridged. “GAP+” is an real-time experiential space at the dock before people entering Kulangsu. It records “now”s of Kulangsu through samplers above local GAPs, and stored in museum. As a mixture of community and museum that everybody can take part in, sounds of Kulangsu are triggered by visitors, and never stop. By simply walking, sounds are mixed, we experience a live set in different ambiences. “GAP-“ is another derivative wandering out of Kulangsu - an installation of sound. With sounds collected on Kulangsu, I designed a visual system and live set controller. It is connected to the sound machine of Kulangsu. By waving our hands, sounds are instantly mixed. We can experience Kulangsu through GAPs - Kulangsu is played by everyone. “GAP-“ is a real-time and remote museum, a perfect interface between audiences and Kulangsu. Thus, an experiential space is transformed, to link “here” and “there”.