Two channel video projections with stereo sound, 3 minutes
In collaboration with Lemon Guo
“Ten thousand things are heard when born,
But the highest heaven’s always still.
Yet everything must begin in silence,
And into silence it vanishes.”
-Wei Yingwu, On Sound (咏声)
In Taoist macroscopic ideology, the richest sound cannot be heard, but felt. Human hearing is limited to a narrow frequency range between 20Hz and 20kHz, which split the sound not only from the maker but also from its nature. The sound exceeding this range would not be heard by the ear, but felt by the body. In this universe, infinite things are producing ultrasonic and subsonic waves around us all the time. While it has been an ancient source of poetic inspiration, the inaudible world is far from being innocent, having been exploited for its physical potential as weaponry and for surveillance since World War I. Then, what is this inaudible world really like?
Driven by this question, “>19980” starts as a series of auditory and visual exploration following the idea of inaudible soundscape. This work starts with field recordings in Alaska and the urban spaces(New York, Shenzhen), the sound including ocean, orcas, subways, water pipes, electrical appliances, and everyday ambience. The subsonic and ultrasonic waves under 20Hz and over 20kHz are filtered from the original recordings, and sped up or slowed down into audible ranges to generate musical materials. The visual projection employs algorithmically generated imagery, utilizing techniques such as fractal noise, geometric distortion, and particle systems. The work extends the Taoist ideas on music, reimagining sound unheard, that transcends human experience, transforming with time and space.