THE WAY I HEAR, Lake Towada 2013

About the Project@ Performance/Composition

towada lake, excursion boat
photo: Kuniya Oyamada

"a composition for the lake and its excursion boat"
cruising/performance, a part of the Towada Oirase Art Festival, Aomori, Japan, 2013.Sep.21st-Nov.24th

The project began as a commisioned by the Towada Oirase Art Festival, and the idea for the composition was conceived while researching on site, being on the excursion boat for several times; a cruise that the audience can encounter the silence, and what makes the silence of the lake.

It is an hour cruise on the Lake Towada, the third largest volcanic lake in Japan. The score for the performance was created with the captains and crews of the excursion boat, detailing the operations in minuets or even to seconds although leaving space to improvise and make adjustment according to the changing weather and other condition of the lake.

During the cruise, the audience is mostly left in silence with the breathtaking views of the lake. Only 4 brief announcements, including the introduction and the farewell greeting and 2 very short written texts are introduced, which gradually tune the audience into layers of "listening" experience both auditory and imaginary.
The imaginary soundscapes are introduced by the pre-recorded announcements and a series of printed texts on a folded paper given as a program, both to be heard/read with specific scenery of the lake. These short narratives are based on the listening research on and around the lake, myth, historical accounts of the region, and interviews with the local historian, fisherman, tour-guides, meteorologist, and others. For example, the volcanic explosion that took place in 915.Aug.7th that shaped the deepest bottom/crater of the lake was transcribed into a soundscape-poetry, and it was introduced as an announcement through loud speakers while the boat floats over the site.
The engine gear operation plays a central role to frame the composition; not only speeding up, down or floating the boat in order to follow the designated route, but also to highlight the ambience of the lake, and to play/introduce the texts and/or scenery with certain level of noise of the engine at the specific locations. Other sound source such as the live announcement with a microphone by the crew, and a ship horn are also inquired as a means of punctuation as well.
The last page of the program is sealed with a sticker, has a longer text titled "silence on the lake"; it is suggested to be read after the cruise around the lake as an afterwards. The piece ends when the audience put the stamp, prepared specially for this cruising, on the back of the program.

The piece was performed 17 times, and 423 passengers had been on board.

Please click HERE for the related blog articles more details.

collaboration view

image: collaboration with Captain Yuze, making a route and the score for the cruising

(c) 2014 a few notes production