After clean-up, slight return

Concept by Cao Thanh Lan and Gregor Siedl

Audio piece/sound walk, duration: 13’03

Mai Dich is a fast-changing neighbourhood and has, unlike many other neighbourhoods in Hanoi, an unusual high concentration of artists from different genres – ranging from traditional music to military music, from folk art to stage drama to circus.

It is where Cao Thanh Lan grew up, so some sounds in this composition are also the sounds of her childhood memory, seen or re-listened from a different perspective and put in a different context. Complimentary to Lan’s approach, Gregor Siedl sees Mai Dich with different eyes and ears. He sees and hears many things that are usually ignored or taken for granted.

Mai Dich used to be a green suburb of Hanoi, where paddle fields and flower fields and lots of trees were rampant. With the rapid urbanization, sounds of birds, insects and trees are gone or submerged by traffic noise.

With the “clean-up” organized by state-run institutes located in the neighborhood, many street-shops and street-hairdressers had to disappear, some of them have spent 20 or even 30 years of their life in these corners.

This sound piece is a lively non-narrative collage where the listeners experience the long forgotten sound of nature like cicadas, frogs, etc., the close-up sounds from the daily activities of the two protagonists – a street hair-dresser and a street innkeeper – sounds of people practicing and performing “tuồng”, “nhạc đỏ”, “xiếc”,  “chèo”, etc. and sporadically the usual traffic noise.

What you see along the walk is „the After Clean-up“ and what you hear is „the slight Return“.

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