On Our Own Heterotopia - installation
If Brandon LaBelle stated that the echo in underground, as both a physical and imaginary place, represent the acts of transgression, what this theory has to do within local context? What underground has to do with Bandung in term of spatial and sound culture? Are transgressions physically or imaginarily, in sound, born on the underground?
Based on simple observation, LaBelle exploration and theory on underground sound culture feels irrelevant to what happened in contemporary Bandung. Beside historical place, underground or subterranean space is exclusively functioned as commercial place. Parking lot, cheap food court, or/and small business space. Through a series of research using field-recording method on subterranean place around Bandung, On Our Own Heterotopia investigates the role of sound phenomena in Bandung’s underground. The practice also tries to provide an excessive audio prove of what Underground meant and functioned in Bandung. Could spectator hear the sound of subversion on it? Or even transgression? Based on the audio collection taken from Bandung’s underground space, is it true that the echo sound of underground represents the notion of resistance? As LaBelle put that underground condition in his publication Acoustic Territories can be situated alongside Foucault’s heterotopia, will this phenomenon embedded to Bandung’s underground as well, considered it functioned as common commodified commercial space? These speculations raise a question on the knowledge development of sound culture, bring a broad discussion on the dichotomy of how sound comprehend within academic and traditional context.
In this piece, pointing laser alongside the phenomenon of standing wave is displayed in order to represent the audio culture that has been recorded around Bandung’s underground. In a way, laser functioned as a transcriber of sound. As a medium, laser could only travel in specific luminance unit. The level of darkness is essential in displaying laser visibility. The same idea and interpretation applied to the audio culture in underground where darkness consider determined the psychology of the space, hence the decision to use laser as a generative medium is coherent to the whole concept of exploring the culture behind Bandung’s underground.
On Our Own Heterotopia
Speakers, laser pointer, field recording of several Bandung's underground space.
Commission for 'Bandung New Emergence Volume 6: Listen!' at Selasar Sunaryo Art Space, 2016.