Deptford High Street from the North, taken on 13 June, 2015
On the 13th of June 2015, I did a soundwalk in Deptford High Street, starting from the north and ending at the south end of the street. During the soundwalk, I also recorded the sound through the binaural microphone, which allows me to walk around the street without revealing the actual microphone to be noticed by the public. Instead of being totally isolated in the soundwalk, I decided 1to do some shopping during the soundwalk, by acquiring some objects. These objects are turned into a series of sound installation, which I stuck a small speaker on, and let it play the field recording I have done on the street. The section of the sound is selected according to the place and moment where I have acquired these objects. The name of this work is called I am living in Deptford, which is a direct statement of how I experienced my living around the street and area, and how the objects encapsulate all these experience in the medium of sound and its objecthood.
Soundwalking as an ecological practice is first proposed by R. Murray Schafer in his World Soundscape Project. Schafer took students to do a soundwalk around the places and asked them to respond with certain connotation to the sounds they had heard during the walk. While Schafer suggested that there are two kinds of walks, one is the listening walk and the another one is the soundwalk. A listening walk is a walk which dedicates to total concentration of listening, while a soundwalk explores the soundscape of a given area. “a soundwalk is any excursion whose main purpose is listening to the environment” As Hildegard Westerkamp mentioned, a soundwalk composition is an aesthetic realisation rather than the practical one. In my work, I take soundwalk as the core of the process. In particular, the Deptford High Street is famous for its street market, history, and its diversity. The soundwalk swept in between the street and the shops, sometimes I walk into a shop, and look for a particular object which I find the most interesting and representative to the shop’s character. At the end, I purchased 8 objects, which includes an incense pot from a Vietnamese grocery store, a necklace made with seashell from a charity store, a cup of coffee from an independent coffee shop, a mat from an Indian grocery store, a counterfeit watches in the street market, a bamboo wind chime with green pentacle in the street market again, a pie dish and a dish with willow pattern from a local British grocery store.