Moving Cultures

Three week excursion from Guangzhou, China to Lhasa, Tibet upon the recently re-instated train service in the month of July, 2009. Undertaken in colloboratin with a group of western Artists (Uk, USA and Austrilia) and a group of English Language post graduates from the Unversity of Guangzhou. Two Art exhibtions where held with in the three week term, one in Guangzhou and one in Lhasa, displaying work created in response to the trip. The original proposal of this project outlined it as follows:

Moving Cultures is a multicultural, cross-disciplinary, collaborative research project based primarily within the ‘civic space’ of the moving train. The project will begin and conclude in the urban centre of Guangzhou, China. The trip occurs over 19-days, including a 10 day stay in Lhasa, in July 2009. The project is devised through equal organisational input from the Australian and Chinese contingent and is undertaken by invited participants.

My contribution was the aural documentation of the trip. I collated a very large catalogue of sound from all the places we visited. I also recorded discussions between the group members on the journey’s themes of cultural distinction, appreciation and amalgamation. In both gallery shows, Tibet and Guangzhou, a twenty minute edit of some the recordings i had made were projected into the space. In addition to this, in both shows a recording of an improvised performance in a Tibetan bar that Hugh Makin and myself conducted with ‘Son of Black’, the bar manager and local musician, was available upon headphones. In the Guangzhou i also presented an installation with Sarah Duyhart which consisted of many tibetan bells hanging between an arch in the space. Across this, a recording of these bells was projected. This was captured upon train between Lhasa and Guangzhou a few days prior. Within our carriage, Sarah and i had strung the bells up in a similar fashion to the gallery installation. I described the recording as follows:

A web of bells was strung up throughout a sleeper carriage within a train traveling between Tibet to Guangzhou, China. The presented recording is the sound of these bells striking one and other. The stimulus for these collisions was afforded by both the vibration of the train and fluctuations in the inclination of the land over which the train passed. Hence, the recording presents a primitive, aural, and therefore temporal, mapping of the terrain that was traversed between the mountain regions of Tibet and lowland Guangzhou.

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