By Soyoung Park and DIgiCue (aka Seung-wan Rhyu)
I did a sound art performance in an underground space, which used to be a giant water tank, in the north of Seoul, South Korea, in October 2017. It was part of the sound art workshop taught by British sound artist Ray Lee, at Seoul Street Arts Creation Centre, South Korea.
For this sound mapping project, we picked a deep underground space at a water treatment station, which ceased operations in 2011, after 40 years of serving the residents of Seoul in South Korea. The station was ready to be reconstructed to provide a space for producing street art as part of the Seoul Street Art Center, which was opened in 2015.
We chose the site because its massive size seemed to make people forget the world outside, and the dark internal space was filled with subtle sounds of the old machines inside that echoed in the penetrating layers of the fragile sounds from outside. The space created another world that was inhabited by those old machines chocking out their last breaths, rundown grey walls, and bits and pieces of unidentifiable industrial objects. It was being stroked by the shafts of sunlight that briefly sneaked in through the narrow windows at the top in the afternoon. It was surreal, remote from the world outside. The space felt like it was a living organism with all of its internal organs groaning and murmuring, as if it had known it would soon be demolished and turned into dust.
Since it was fully alive as it was, the space did not need much of our interruption. Being in the space was an experience of its own. A bit of lingering and titillating was enough to awake the latent dormant residents from their sleep. We tried to find the maximum point at which we could fully awake them without disturbing them.