Monday, 6 May 2013

Theatre Street | Soundscaping the Past

"Drive is an exhibition on wheels that coincides with The Substation’s 3rd Experimental Film Forum. With the proliferation of portable media players, smart phones and tablets, there is a growing trend of mobile viewership. Drive brings the gallery out onto the road and extends this mobility onto exhibition making. Investigating this new form of mobile viewership, in relation to a transitional and mobile space within the cityscape." Kent Chan // Curator Statement

My contribution to Drive took the form of a soundscape composition inspired by a particular street in China Town where Chinese Opera in Singapore originated from...

Wayang, a form of Chinese musical theatre, was brought to Singapore by Chinese immigrants arriving in the late 1800's. With its growth in popularity during this period many theatres were built centred around Chinatown. One such theatre was Lai Chun Yuen which existed from 1887 - 1927, at 36 Smith Street, also known as Theatre Street to the older generation.


The composition you hear sources material from an old Chinese opera record I discovered at Thieves' Market (Sungei Road), combined with various personal recordings of Singapore's soundscape from more recent times. To me the piece functions as a wormhole into the past; transporting the listener through the ambient remnants of a Wayang performance captured on vinyl, to a fleeting scene from the aural memory of Smith Street, re-imagined through sound.

Curated by Kent Chan and featuring the works of 9 artists: Tan Pin Pin, Jeremy Hiah, Debbie Ding, Perception3, Zai Tang, Ayano Hattori, Yuzuru Maeda, Mike HJ Chang, this exhibition ran on 9-10th & 16-17th June 2012.

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