Bamboo Interventon

2004 / Electroacoustic composition

Public performance:

34th International Festival of Music and Electronic Art, Bourges, France (June 2004)

This piece explores the ideological space between the bamboo flute and the tape recorder, between the sound recordist and the performer, between truths and fictions, and between Western desires and Eastern traditions. The piece seeks to address issues of authenticity that have long been debated in relation to photography and filmmking, but which are rarely discussed in terms of sound recording.

Bamboo Intervention is structured around binaural soundscape recordings made in Taiwan. Field recordings stress authenticity of performance and the importance of location. But the techniques that aim to capture an ‘authentic’ sound also work to erase the creative intervention made by the sound recordist when choosing a location and a performer to record, where to place the microphone, and what equipment to use, and so on.

What also goes unaddressed in these projects to record ‘authentic’ folk art is the underlying Eurocentric and Orientalist positions they take: where is the ‘Far’ East far from ? In the sonic space between the tape recorder and the bamboo flute lies an ideological space in which the performer as other is constructed by the sound recordist. In this way field recordings reveal as much about the desires of the recorder as the music reveals about those cultures being recorded. Bamboo Intervention sounds this ideological space between West and East, between technology and tradition, and between observation and intervention

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