Translator

Collaborators:

Kornbongkoch Harnpinijsak

Weichen Tang

My Role:

Concept, sound design, coding and tech

Exhibition:

Here East, UCL

Publication:

IDEAT magazine

(No 064, Aug 2020, China)

Keywords:

Cross-modal perception, sonic memory, synaesthesia, foley art, Arduino, ambisonic system, MaxMSP

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How do I perceive the world?

How do I perceive as someone else?

“ I guess we are all affected by the weather, consciously or unconsciously. It is not just about the temperature and humidity, even more than being cheered by sunshine or gloomed by dark clouds. It reminds me of where I am, and tells stories beyond space and time.”

“An evening last November, while walking back from Shoreditch, it started raining. I stopped by the road listening to the sounds, and all the memories in Bangkok unfolded through the drips and drops. I recalled the dark lonely street where I was trapped when it poured…remembered some warm moments hearing the rain pelting on the metal roof with my
friend… thought of the times being sheltered in front of shops and stalls…


Fragments of different scenes and emotions all came together, I was overwhelmed by the downpour within me. This is the rain in my memory, and this is the feeling that I want to tell. But since no one can experience my experience, I would like to share my perception, allowing people to hear and feel it differently. After all, everyone has a different journey. Here, I recall my past perception of rain sounds and translate my personal experience through this instrument, and people will have their ways of decoding stories.”

Translator is an instrument using daily materials to translate the sound of the rain from Bangkok to London. Instead of reproducing the rain sound, this project focuses on representing an author’s sound perception of the rain in her homeland. The author, as a crucial role behind the scene, is the basis to study how people perceive and recall sounds. 

In March 2019, Translator was set up for live performance at UCL Here East, with the designers collaboratively performed a 2-minute Bangkok rain following a rainscript. The sounds are live capture, spatialized and broadcasted in the ambisonic chamber. Audiences were blindfolded and invited to experience the immersive sonic scenery of the Bangkok rain.

Only 'rain' sound is provided,

but some audiences:

...felt colder

...felt wind

...felt smoke

...heard thunder

...smelled wet concrete

...smelled mud

...smelled something sweet

...felt something tactile

Audience Feedback:

"I could hear like the puddles like splashing… I could almost like sort of smell the wet… thick wet grass…"

How do we perceive the world?

How does the world perceive us?

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Remarks:​

The Weather Project - Olafur Eliasson

Vatnajökull (the sound of) - Katie Paterson

© 2020 nonghua lim