Friday, September 09, 2005

Meeting Points

Chongqing city is at the meeting point of two large rivers: the river Jialing to the north and the Yangtze to the south. Where they meet is at Chaotianmen harbour - the most eastern tip of the Yuzhong district. This is also where one dis/embarks from/on the various cruise ships travelling the river.

Some of these vessels sleep 400 or more passengers as well staff, and so have a significant audible as well as visible presence as they contribute a range of sounds: from their funnel blasts as they leave or depart port to their continual engine noise, which resonates as a low D providing the harmonic context for everything else.... On the bigger ships there is sometimes a small military band to welcome the passengers to Chongqing. Surprisingly, the music sounds tinny and distant from the harbour’s edge, unlike the thick sounding funnel blasts which I can hear easily from my hotel apartment on the 27th floor in the city centre.

Overlooking the harbour is the soon-to-be completed 'Planning and Development Museum', which is where my installation is to open at the end of this month. It's a long way from being completed however, and so they are working on it 24 hours a day. This means that whatever time one visits, the harbour soundscape is punctuated by the sharp sounds of construction. lt's interesting to think that we are working to the same deadline, though thankfully not the same schedule (not yet anyway).