Dim sum restaurant and factory are two places that have little association; one is related to the enjoyment of food, while another is associated to hard work. Intrigued, I wanted to re-create the environment of the restaurant using the sound samples I recorded previously to create a contrast between the "satisfying" sound and the surrounding of the factory.
In a damp, concrete room, I set up independent speakers in each corner of the room to create the panoramic effect. Volunteers were ushered into the room, blindfolded, and asked to listen intently to the various sounds being played in concert: clattering dishes, indistinct chatter, chairs scaping the floor, food orders shouted in the kitchen… After, I interviewed each listener about the mental imagery the sound experience prompted in their minds; none guessed correctly. However, when I next asked about the emotional response, many reported “a sense of familiarity” and “delight”.
A young woman, not much older than me, explained she was a migrant from a nearby province who worked 12-hour shifts to support herself. She admitted her work was repetitive and exhausting, so she was grateful to detach herself from the monotony and participate. Staying in the room the participants, we chatted, they were intrigued by my project and pestered me with questions about why I had come to put on an experimental art installation for them. I responded, “Art belongs to all people, and I believe everyone, especially factory workers, should have the opportunity to experience its power”.
Art typically represents beauty and perfection but means much more to me. From calligraphic practice to the sonic re-creation of a Dim Sum restaurant, such artistic endeavors stimulate my mind to break routines and step away from convention. I hope to use future projects to connect with unlikely audiences and inspire them to slip away from their stressful worlds, if only just for a moment.