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Experimental Design

Jiuming Duan

Jiuming Duan is a designer and artist from Beijing, now based in London. He studies MA Information Experience Design at the Royal College of Art. Before that, he completed his Bachelor's degree at the Communication University of China in Art and Design for Film and Theatre, and he focused on theatre design. Currently, his practices are across artistic research, installation and theatre work. His work often offers a poetic focus. He looks at ways of engaging the audience with complicated problems simply and tangibly. 

Upcoming Exhibition

Leave No Trace - RCA Sound Design 21 Festival, IKLECTIK. 30 June - 1 July 2021.

BEEP BEEP - IED Satellite Event. Menier Gallery. 23 July - 25 July 2021. 

Wind/Memory is practice-based artistic research about the ecological relationship between human perception and the natural environment. From the perspective of sound, I investigate how people perceive, process, and recall the experience with the wind and how the wind impacts people's perception geologically and culturally.

Since the Lockdown, I have been particularly obsessed with the relationship between nature and human. One day when I was working on my pendulum speaker in the studio at the college, my friend Susan said that the sound reminded her of the wind from North that could be heard in her grandma’s house. That inspired me to dig into the wind and think about these questions. What information does the wind carry? Can it remind people of a certain place and experience?

With these questions. I had a field trip in Dover to investigate the sound of the wind. I interviewed people who have impressive experience with the wind.  According to their memories and descriptions of the wind, I recreated the abstract sound of the wind for each of the stories. In the end, I designed an installation that the audience can experience the stories and the sound interactively. 


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Field Recording in Dover
Field Recording in Dover
Hougham Battery — Hougham Battery is a World War II coastal defence battery built in 1941 between Dover and Folkestone in southeast England.
Hougham Battery — I recorded the sound of wind blowing through the bricks and metals. The holes of the battery provided a good condition for the wind to go through, making interesting sounds of airflow.
Field Recording in Dover
Acoustic Mirror in Dover — Between the World Wars, before the invention of radar, parabolic sound mirrors were used experimentally as early-warning devices by military air defence forces to detect incoming enemy aircraft by listening for the sound of their engines. There were a few of them built along the South coast. However, when I was recording in front of it, it was extremely quiet. Perhaps it blocks most of the noise and wind.
Video
Field Recording in Dover
Field Recording in Dover

Inspired by the documentary that Tim Dee was seeking the pure sound of the wind, I did a field trip to record the sound of the wind as well. I went to Dover. Not only objectively the condition of the environment on the cliffs is very suitable for recording the pure sound of the wind, but also Dover itself contains the profound meaning historically and geologically. This field trip was an experience for me to go inside the wind and experience how the wind impacted me with the connection of the place and history. 

Medium:

Field recording
Wind Memory of Leonardo Eddé
Wind Memory of Nirit Ben Meir
Leonardo's Wind
Nirit's Wind
Interview of Leonardo
Interview of Nirit
Interview of Miko
Wind Memory of Cheng Tian
Miko's Wind
Cheng Tian's Wind
Interview of Miko
Interview of Cheng Tian
Wind Memory of Yawen Xi
Yawen's Wind
Interview of Yawen

What is the sound of the wind? Is there a sound that belongs to the wind itself? What left when we eliminate all the sound produced by the objects impacted by the wind? When the wind is shaping the world invisibly, our subjective feeling is also giving the wind a shape simultaneously. I explore the sound that happens when these two things encounter.

Therefore, I interviewed people who have a strong impression of the wind, collecting their stories. According to their description of the wind, I recreate the sound of the wind in their mind for each of the stories.

There are a few ways to experience this section:

  1. Read the text of the interview and listen to the wind sound at the same time.
  2. Listen to the wind sound and the audio of the interview at the same time. You can also listen to only one of them at one time.
  3. Any other ways as you like.


Thank Leonardo, Nirit, Miko, Cheng, Yawen, Yiwen, Carina and my mom for sharing their stories. And thank Xi Chen for narrating the English translation.

Medium:

Text, Audio, Breath, Sound of Air
Video
Detail of Installation
Detail of Installation
Audience Experiencing
Audience Experiencing
Detail of Installation
Detail of Installation

How can we share our experience with others livelier? I archived the stories and the wind sounds and introduced the audience to experience them through an installation. A hanging speaker is equipped with an accelerometer sensor in the box. The audience can push the speakers. When the speaker is swigging, the data of the accelerometer sensor will affect the sound instantly. The audience can get a real-time wind sound. The sound is the wind sound that I recreated from the story. And the audience can read the documents at the same time. 

Medium:

Paper, Acrylic, Speaker, Bela, Arduino, Respberry Pi, Accelerometer Sensor, Wires