Artist Lulu Ngie’s creative response to Sound Scoop worksheets collected in Tsunan and So Wai-lam’s Sound Translator

Listen 來聽 /

I looked through the Sound Scoop worksheets that soundpocket collected in Tsunan while sitting beside a window looking out into greenery, and tried to imagine myself at the Hong Kong House, walking around the art works on show. As I struggled to understand the words (which were in Japanese) and images on the page, it struck me that my engagement with nature is based on direct experience rather than thinking. Words and the meanings they convey may not be the most important elements here. I was reminded of the bird songs of two species of birds that I recently recorded around my home in the village. The birds seemed to be having a conversation, perched on a tree – an apt metaphor for my engagement with the worksheets.

Coincidentally, Yang Yeung had also shared with me So Wai-lam’s work, Sound Translator. When I listened to someone imitating the sound of another animal, I imagined myself as the animal, and in that moment the distance between us and the natural has been narrowed. I thought, as long as we have a wish to communicate with other animals, with nature, we don’t need high technology to do so. We make sounds guided by our beautiful motivation to connect. That’s how we’ll connect, and that’s all we need.

Later, the passion fruit vine I planted withered. Although it was a pity, after I cut back its branches I found them shaped in such a way that they seemed to be talking to me, which inspired me to imagine what that would sound like. So, using light from different angles, I captured their shadows projected onto paper, using ink to trace their dancing lines.

我坐在面向一片綠蔭的窗邊,翻看聲音掏腰包從津南收集回來的「細聲公活動卡」,試圖幻想自己正身處香港部屋,細賞展覽中的展品;當我正為著想要理解活動卡上的日文及圖畫而苦惱之際,卻頓覺我跟自然的相遇是基於直接的經驗而非理性思考,文字與其承載的意義都不是最重要的。這樣的經驗也提醒我 —— 曾經在家住的村落裏採集兩種鳥兒的歌聲,鳥兒們彷彿在樹椏上對話 — 這恰巧提示了我該如何閱讀這些活動卡。