invisible cities

In August of 2002, I was asked by Fällt curator Christopher Murphy to compose a soundscape as part of Invisible Cities, a project commissioned by Queen's University, Belfast, for Belfast Festival at Queen's 2002. The festival took place from October 24 to November 9.

The project as a whole comprises sound-portraits of twenty cities around the world; the creators describe it thusly:

"Invisible Cities offers the opportunity to experience an intimate series of portraits of the world's cities painted with sound.

Through the interface of a gallery wall, each city, represented by an audio work of five minutes duration, is accessible through headphones. Participants in the gallery can transcend distance - moving from Moscow to Montreal, from Berlin to Beijing — in the time it takes to plug a pair of headphones into an alternative location.

Twenty artists were invited to contribute a five minute audio work inspired by and utilising the sounds of the cities they inhabit... "

Or, in my case, the cities they have visited.


the other rooms
gauntánamo express

desert sun

the other side
on top of the world
what the thunder said

san francisco sauvignon
would you, would you?
invisible cities
deep creatures
vincent fecteau
monkey pod

Invisible Cities
Photo courtesy Fällt

For the project catalog, my work was described as follows:

Hanoi | The Quiet American

Location 21° 01' N, 105° 53' E
Time Zone G | – | UTC/GMT +7 hours
Airports 1
Inhabitants 1,372,800 (Hanoi City), 2,503,000 (including agglomeration)

Hanoi Roundabout

A spin through Hanoi in 1998: the sounds of traffic from the back of a cyclo; of hand-cranked machines in a storefront workshop; of musicians at the Temple of Literature; of a back-alley courtyard with ducks and video games...

This is an impressionist portrait of Hanoi, rather than a literal one. It was painted through the application of a few specific studio processes, most involving the manipulation of time. Time is stretched, reversed, stuttered through: and events are juxtaposed and woven, now approaching, now receding.

The goal: to render Hanoi not as it is, not as it was, but as I remember it now.

hanoi roundabout6.9 MB

My contribution to Invisible Cities, a remniscence in sound of my visit to Hanoi in 1998.