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Professor Stephan Feuchtwang
s.feuchtwang@lse.ac.uk|

On the Way Home: Taipei sojourners' sonic constellations in London

With Dr Tsai-Wei Chen (Goldsmiths College) and Dr Konstantinos Melachroinos (Queen Mary)

Series:  London Taiwan Seminar|

Date: Thursday 9 November 2006, 6pm-8pm

Venue: Room 116, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

Chair: Mr Stuart Thompson (Taiwan Culture Research Programme)

Abstract

The proposed conference paper focuses on the emotional and cultural impacts of foreigners' listening experiences in London. London is a multi-cultural global city that attracts thousands of sojourners each year. Taking Taipei sojourners as a case study, the research employs the notion of sonic constellations in an attempt to investigate the sounds that Taipei sojourners listen, recollect and imagine when they are in London. Their on-the-way-home journeys in London, in particular, are the departing point for this study. Several issues, including the recognitions of home and belonging and the changes in their cultural identities are raised, as the auditory experiences of Taipei sojourners are analysed using methods and techniques from various disciplines. Apart from art practice that has a prominent role in this research, soundscape, cultural and ethnographical studies provide the analytical framework to approach this topic.

Although Taipei sojourners are bodily situated in London's urban environment, the research argues that their listening experiences are more than what they can physically hear in their city of temporal residence. Being influenced by the auditory memories of homeland, their spatial, temporal and cross-cultural movements and interactions are perceived and negotiated through sounds. The sonic constellations that have formed from the past auditory experiences provide the necessary compass for navigating through London's soundscape.

The basis for this presentation will be interviews with ten Taipei sojourners that have participated in the study. The paper will report on the interviewing process in an attempt to highlight the insights that this way of investigation can offer for art practice. The interview methodology and structure will be opened to discussion with the audience. Similarly, a plan of artworks will be also offered to demonstrate the usage of the collected audio materials for artistic purposes.

About the speakers

Dr Tsai-Wei Chen, Music Department, Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK; Dr Konstantinos Melachroinos, Department of Geography, Queen Mary, University of London, UK

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