City of Sound | City of Dust was an installation at the 2019 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism from September to November 2019. The installation presented five stereo channels of field recordings I made at Burning Man in 2010. The recordings include bicycles, generators, fire organs, and the persistent drone of the party metropolis, layered with harmonics harvested from dust storms.

photo copyright hyosook Chin

The sounds are diffused through five acrylic panels organized on a radial grid, echoing the layout of Black Rock City. An aerial image of the festival is laminated onto a circular steel plate at the center of the installation, providing the visual reference for the city’s form and geographic context for the sound.

photo copyright hyosook Chin
photo copyright hyosook Chin

A city is a construction of sound. Following this logic, what the city is and how it affects us becomes a much more malleable thing. If a city is a construct of sound, then a city could be shut out with the right amount of noise cancellation. If a city is a construct of sound, then one might overlay a desired city on top of what is given. A city of sound can be oppressive, full of relentless traffic and unmitigated noise pollution, or it can be collectively generated from the bottom up as a space of inclusion with a balance of loud and quiet.

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