1st large-scale sound installation in China?

A disclosure: the first-ever large-scale sound installation in the public domain of China is being realized in Guangzhou now.

I admit that I don’t have any statistical data to justify my use of the word “first-ever”, I hate what I call “No.1 Complex” of many Chinese curators: every time they try to organize a concert or festival, it’s always “first-ever”. However, I don’t see any evidence of large-scale sound installations’ existence in the public space of China before, and an architecture friend in Nanjing assured me that it’s reasonable to state that even without the adjective “large-scale”.

What I’m talking about is a project by the New York-based Chinese artist XU Bing(? 冰)and California musician/sound artist Hugh Livingston (who’s also a cellist of contemporary music), commissioned by the Times Group(时代集团)for a community they developed. Xu and Livingston have come to Guangzhou to examine the site in July and October, and are proposing a 24-channel sound system, to be built in the entrance aisle and garden. To be more precise, there are two museums/galleries (one designed by the almighty Rem Koolhaas) in the garden, and the landscape designer is going to build a bridge to link the two and a third one outside of the community, most of the speakers will be installed on the bridge, so when visitors are walking on it, the soundscape carefully designed by Livingston will be heard.

The installation was scheduled to be unveiled on Nov. 18, coincide with the opening of 2nd Guangzhou Triennial, of which it’s an off-site program. Now it seems very likely that all the construction/installation works won’t be done by then, and we may have to wait till the next year to see the work.


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