“Dopplehanger” Research 1

My focus has been on collecting sounds and exploring the deeper relationships between me – as a migrant and multimedia artist – and the physicality in the city of  Rotterdam through frequencies derived from sound and data. During my sound collection period, I have broken down different sound materials into two types: virtual sounds and visceral sounds. The virtual sounds represent sounds/waves from the internet and sounds I do not experience in my locality, such as news clips, social media rumors and folk dialect from my hometown Chengdu. The visceral sounds are sounds I recorded in different corners of Rotterdam: on the streets, on public transportation, and along the canals. In the next stage, I continue to investigate whether our body belongs to the physical world or virtual world in a decentralized way.

I organized virtual sound and researched how to transform it into digital values. In my early research, I gathered the sounds from online channels (Youtube, BBC), that mention keywords of mental health issues, Public policy, and travel restrictions. Meantime,  I sorted out “hometown” sound collections, which I recorded in the city of Chengdu and its surrounding area.   later I recorded the emotions of every single sound piece, and represent it as the velocity, that not only controls my virtual body languages, but also the way of visually constructing the virtual space. Notably, the velocity which represents the sound of “hometown” is used in making soundscape.

In June and till now, I have researched how sounds from different cultural backgrounds come together into one city and how the frequency generated by speech can be a medium for expressing phenomena without the limitation of language. During those months I roamed across the city and collected sounds specifically from neighborhoods with a multicultural background. As I walked I also recorded my physical states, such as walking speed and heart rate. This process of roaming and collecting sounds from multicultural localities has helped me process my situation as foreign individual and informed me about connecting bodily, perceptive and virtual experiences.

Through collecting sounds in Rotterdam, I have also discovered particularities of different sounds, which gives me new ideas about the next stages of my experiments. For example, I have visualized the sounds as frequency data, contrasting the pandemic and post-pandemic differences. During the pandemic, the underlying sounds from Rotterdam streets were static, with punctuating sounds of public transportation, ambulances, police cars, ferries, and other machines. The post-epidemic era, in comparison, produces frequencies that are more complex and nuanced.