Track 8: People's Park Complex: an Urban Soundbox in Singapore
Sonic City (Mutations: Hans Ulrich Olbrist, curator) Airplane Label (AP1014), 2001

On 4 May 2000, I brought along my MiniDisc recorder to People’s Park Complex, ostensibly to try out my new toy for conducting interviews. For several months up till then, its adjacent area had been undergoing “mutations”, as major road and construction works to build an underground train line along Eu Tong Sen Street caused massive traffic chaos (vehicular + pedestrian). As if that disruption was not enough, the building – one of the island’s earliest mixed-use of six storeys of shops, offices and restaurants etc. from 1972, as well as a 25-storey slab block of over 250 apartments, was undergoing renovations as well. I moved through the “labyrinthine” internal passages and bazaar-like atmosphere and captured voices, sounds, reverberations: sledgehamers, transactions, music, tourists, and merchandise. It registered a sort of testimony to the resilient, multi-dimensional sustenance of urban human activity in that area despite the circumstances. The 30 minute recording was eventually edited to 6’01” and included in a CD of experimental music that also formed the tracks for the “Sonic City” exhibition at TN Probe Gallery in Tokyo, Japan.