Performative soundwalk for two people for the Saitama Triennale 2017.
Created w/ Sarah Anderson
“Songs For a Thousand Duets is an experiential soundinstallation, in which two people walk through the city listeningto the sound, music, and voices in their headphones. Basedon the research on the city of Omiya, Duncan SPEAKMANand Sarah ANDERSON created music and sound sourcesthat are linked to the landscapes of the city. SPEAKMANdescribes the work as “a musical composition andchoreography for a city called Omiya.” The sounds heardfrom headphones intercepting the external world are music,poetic text, and simple instructions for walking the city.The music is lyrical and melancholic. A certain scene within alandscape is cut away from its context, making the linebetween reality and fiction ambiguous. At the end of thescene, there is a sequence when the listeners are instructedto make certain hand gestures in turns while the otherwatches. This can be described as a choreography made for thetwo participants, while at the same time, the pair walking fromEast to West starting at Omiya Station are like streetperformers. Based on this experience, when the participantslook at the city around them while keeping the “observer”perspective, they will feel as if the “normal, everyday people”walking by are characters in a story.Given the framework of walking the city while listening tosounds, participants are forced to look carefully at what ishappening in an ordinary scene. Moreover, depending on therelationship with their partner, the weather and the time of theday, and other physical factors, the appearance of the cityaround them will change significantly, and so will theiremotions. SPEAKMAN and ANDERSON’s deliberatelywoven sequence of sounds is a device that swiftly transformsthe city into a dissimilated place.” – Mariko Mori
Originally commissioned by Saitama Triennale 2017.
With support from Arts Council England and British Council.