Chimera - An Exploration of Diaspora Suzanne Farkas

This piece was composed in support of the Tibetan cause, in memory of the 20 th anniversary of the student uprising of Tiananmen Square China, and as an exploration of the nature Diaspora. I composed, edited, modified, layered and overdubbed more than 36 tracks of found, sampled and instrumental sounds. I collected my samples while following a route of Tibetan Diaspora starting in Toronto and tracing back the path through New York City, Katmandu Nepal, Lhasa and Mt Kailash Tibet and lastly China.

Sound sources included segments of street sounds by Tibetan restaurants and shops in Toronto and New York, video/cd samples from karaoke bars and radio in Lhasa, footsteps of pilgrims on frozen grasslands, chomping Yaks herded by nomads, wind sweeps and streams on top of Mt Kailash, squeaking prayer wheels turned by devotees, chanting nuns, conversations and market day in the capital.

I also performed and documented on video, a healing intervention and circle of sound in Tiananmen Square. Here I played my Tibetan singing bowl (or Buddhist prayer bowl) to a crowd of Chinese tourists visiting Mao’s tomb, while the Chinese soldiers looked on. . I used the bowl as a common thread, and a base tone to build harmony and to riff with bells and ringing of other sound sources . The bowl represents Tibetan strength/strong voice even from a distance, a common intuitive language and spiritual past for the Chinese people.

Lastly I composed songs by stretching, isolating or modifying within the samples, interwove and compiled them strategically ie Chinese voices,Toronto traffic blended into Tibetan fragments, rural and urban, crossing contintants and then lined the tracks up on a grid. Influenced by the Chinese landscape painters of the ming and nanking periods, I then painted a landscape of sound by building from the corners of the grid and randomly pasting cut segments into overlapping tracks like ink washes to build unity,weight and depth of perspective.

Source: 2009

  • Duration of the submitted work: 1:04

Linked project

Also part of 60x60.