January 18th, 2005


A new school of sound gardening!

Citizens of Hakodate, Hokkaido! Students of the Future University! Please listen for a few minutes!

In fact, please listen for six weeks! Starting now and lasting for six weeks, we are making a listening project in Hakodate. It's called Lost Radio, Found Sound and it's happening at the Art Harbour and the Future University, as well as on the internet and all over town. My name is Momasu, pleased to meet you! Normally I'm a musician, but here in Hakodate I am a kikushi or 'head listener'. I want to listen to sounds, raw sounds. The sounds of nature, the sounds of work, the sounds of trains, the sounds of people. Your sounds, my sounds. I want to listen to everything. Everything except music! And I need your help.

Have you ever listened to random sounds just for pleasure? For instance, have you listened to the sound of cars passing on the street and tried to imagine it as waves on the sea? Has the sound of your footsteps in the icy snow sometimes reminded you of the sound of a bear snapping its mouth open and shut? Have you ever listened to the sounds made by the man fixing your computer – he goes 'um?' and 'ah!' – and thought of it as a kind of song? What if you could record that sound and play it back to people in another place, people who didn't know the real origin of that sound? You would make them use their imagination, right?

You know the back door, the place where people go to smoke? It's cold out there in the ice and snow, right? Well, what if we hid some tiny speakers there and played the sound of summer insects to those smokers? Maybe it would make them feel a little warmer in winter. Maybe it would bring summer images to their minds as they looked out over the snowy landscape.

If you ever had ideas like these, our project Lost Radio, Found Sound is the perfect excuse to carry them out. This is your chance to play with sound! We are interested in listening to sound recordings you've made – anything, as long as it's not music! With your recordings and our recordings we want to make a big bowl of 'sound soup', or perhaps – yeah, that's better – a 'sound garden'.

Let's be gardeners of sound! Let's take natural sounds and make something artificial out of them! Let's found the Hakodate otoniwashi-ryu, a new school of sound gardening! Let's make 'sound arrangements' and put them on a website and on speakers hidden here, hidden there, hidden around town. For six weeks, let's make Hakodate a place of surprising sounds, sounds that can make people dream. Let's take the normal sounds of one room and put them into another room where they are less normal. What's normal in one room is surprising and exotic in another. Let's take practical sounds and make them artistic. Let's take summer sounds and play them in winter. Ne?

So bring us your sounds! Bring them to our sound collection points at the Art Harbour and at the Future University. Record sounds with your keitai, with your digital camera, with your video camera, and bring them to us. We'll download them from your devices and upload them to the web, to the 24 hour streaming Lost Radio, Found Sound website.

We'll give your sounds a place in our sound garden. We are people who love all sounds, any sounds. (But not music. I mean, of course we really love music, but not now. Just now we are giving the other sounds their chance.) We love simple sounds, boring sounds, repetitive sounds, stupid sounds, sounds which are almost silence. It's fine to play our sounds in the background, just let them colour the air. We don't expect you to give them 100% of your attention. Our sounds are quite empty, but when you play them they fill the room subtly and give it a new feeling. They are humble sounds, but for six weeks they are the stars of Hakodate. They are sound weeds, but for six weeks we will make them sound flowers, found sound flowers. Let's wander through them, pleasantly lost!