Songs For A Thousand Duets

Created in collaboration with Sarah Anderson, guest vocals by Akai Hirume.

Audio walk and choreography for two participants travelling through centre of Saitama. Created for Saitama Triennale 2016.


“Songs For a Thousand Duets is an experiential sound installation, in which two people walk around the city listening to the sound, music, and voices on their headphones. Based on research in the city of Omiya, Duncan Speakman and Sarah Anderson created music and sound sources that are linked to the landscapes of the city. Speakman describes the work as “a musical composition and choreography for a city called Omiya.” The sounds heard from 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 a landscape is cut away from its context, making the line between reality and fiction ambiguous. At the end of the scene, there is a sequence when the listeners are instructed to make certain hand gestures in turns while the other watches. This can be described a choreography made for the two participants, while at the same time, the pair walking from East to West starting at Omiya Station are like street performers. Based on this experience, when the participants look 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 to sounds, participants are forced to look carefully at what is happening in an ordinary scene. Moreover, depending on the relationship with their partner, the weather and the time of the day, and other physical factors, the appearance of the city around them will change significantly, and so will their emotions. Speakman and Anderson’s deliberately woven sequence of sounds is a device that swiftly transforms the city into a dissimilated place." - Mariko Mori, curator Saitama Triennale 2016.

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