Epoch - Soundscape Fossil

2022 - 2023


40 × 40 × 20 cm

Chang Meng

Work Description

Epoch explores the profound changes occurring in coral reefs during the Anthropocene era, heavily impacted by climate change. It achieves this by blending immersive performances and experiential sculptures. The project recognises the scientific community's use of soundscapes to monitor ocean health. Coral reefs provide shelter for underwater creatures and maintain biodiversity, while bleached and dead reefs lack nutrition and consequently lose their soundscape. These disappearing soundscapes, akin to fossils, exist only in our memories. Drawing from empirical evidence, the project uses audio recordings from British marine biologists' research in Indonesia's Sulawesi. Employing Python programming, it translates acoustic data into visuals. The deliberate choice of 3D ceramic printing mimics the gradual layering process of fossil formation, with a unique dynamic emerging from collaboration between the artist and the printing machine. Each layer combines precise data translation with manual adjustments, resulting in sculptures that are distinctive and irreplaceable. The ultimate presentation comprises experiential sculptures, each of which carries its own elegy. These digital monuments transport audiences to the Indonesian ocean while symbolising grief and remembrance. Each sculpture signifies the passage of time and the vulnerability of once-thriving acoustic ecosystems. The Dance Theatre of Listening immerses spectators in an ethereal underwater world. Dancers, equipped with wearable mini speakers, gracefully move among the sculptures and the audience, evoking a stark contrast between the thriving coral reef soundscape and the reality of its decline. Through digital media and immersive performance, Epoch infuses tension and vividness into its sculptures. It employs a multi-sensory approach to recreate the vanishing coral reef soundscape, aiming to deeply engage the audience and foster an emotional connection with the consequences of climate change.