In 2013, I created a 12” dubplate record with a selection of field recordings from Bukit Brown Cemetery. This dub was made as a test cut / prototype for a work I made in response to the Bukit Brown’s fate, entitled Respect (Bukit Brown Cemetery I).
In the years that followed I utilised this test cut for most of my improvisational sound (and sometimes drawing) performances, the first being Untitled (Bukit Brown Cemetery III) for SOUND: Latitudes & Attitudes at ICAS (2014). When using this dubplate, I’d often experiment with contact mics attached to various implements (like a Stanley knife, for instance) to augment and distort the original soundscape recordings. Accumulating traces of my performative actions over time has left the dubplate in a heavily degraded state – the original animal calls and songs gradually disappear amidst the surface noise of the worn out plate, and occasionally get caught in an endless loop of a damaged groove.
For "Untitled terrain" I created a new recording of each side of the dubplate to document its current state. This recording has been separated out into individual sections and mapped out across a 3D landscape in Unreal, taking as reference the date, time and location of original field recording, as well as my personal recollections of the topographies, ambiences and affects when I listened back to the recordings in the present.
In reinterpreting my recordings and their associated memories as 3D terrain, I hope to give the audience a chance to experience the turbulent soundscape of the dub as a kind of world in itself.
Zai Tang is a multidisciplinary artist based in Singapore. His solo work responds to the question:
What does it mean to listen to nature in a time of ecological crisis and mass extinction? Influenced
by acoustic ecology, phenomenology and electronic & experimental music, he explores a variety
of approaches towards the abstraction and visualisation of sounds recorded in wildlife-rich
habitats under threat in Singapore. Transformed from their original state these sonorities are
combined with other elements – drawing, animation, projection, performance – to create
immersive and reflexive experiences that explore notions of awareness and connectivity between
the human and the nonhuman.
His recent works have been presented at the Busan Biennale, South Korea (2020), NTT InterCommunication Center, Tokyo (2020), London International Animation Festival (2020), Singapore Biennale (2019), Singapore International Film Festival (2019), 2nd Yinchuan Biennale, China (2018), Kuala Lumpur Experimental Film and Video Festival, Malaysia (2018), and the Singapore International Festival of the Arts – The O.P.E.N (2017).
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