Thursday, 29 July 2010

Mai Won no2

There is something strange about noise. Spending a few days in the centre of
Hong Kong City is to experience noise on an all new level. Perhaps it is
because as a visitor I was acutely aware of the noise, different noises and
the more familiar, but I find myself coming back to the contrast that was
Mai Won and Hong Kong City, and the most noticeable contrast was noise. City
noise is fast noise, it is physically busy, overlapping and continual its
easy to get drawn along and you begin to miss things, numbed by its
presence. I find myself in city spaces working overtime to keep out the
noise. I seek out the quieter spots, the places where you can take a rest
from the relentless din and finding a quiet spot i can relax again,
reconnecting with myself instead of reacting to all the edges of sounds
around me. It might be the bookshop, or the cafe, or a little sidestreet,
anywhere that numbs the harshness of the city. Arriving in Mai Won this is
the biggest impression. Silence, or at least a recognisable form of noise. I
noticed birdsong, I noticed the water lapping against the harbour walls, I
noticed the sqeaky bicycle. The sounds intensify the possibility of other
sounds, you hear them more acutely.  That was it, noticing noise by being
selective, hearing sounds not as a cacophony but as individual pieces. I
begin to see a place I'd never seen before, a jungle place. The walk up the
hillside to Jenny's house is about a quarter of a mile, as you rise up the
hillside it gets progressively hotter and the air feels thicker, heavier.
Looking at the pictures of the day it reads like a sensory overload. In the
city the senses are working overtime to avoid the crushing force of sonic
overload, and then in the jungle a new sonic form, a new silence of natural
connections where silence asserts itself through the staccato of birds,
crickets and water and the breeze in the treetops. In finding a jungle I
found a piece of myself I had never found before, on the top of the mountain
looking down to the South China Sea I find myself thinking about the city,
can we build places which capture such silences and allow us to root
ourselves in urban spaces which generate an openness to our environment
instead of closing it out, ipods in our ears, deafened to our place, if we
lose that sense we are on the slippery slope to quietly lose them all and
succumb to hostile public spaces. Lets think about urban silences, spaces
for quiet, spaces to let silence assert itself once more. Mai Won was
responsible for these words, because it confronts you and asks you to
confront yourself. 

No comments:

Post a Comment