“Passage”: a site-specific listening experience with recorded oral history from Hong Kong’s ethnic minority communities, music based on the recorded speech, and geolocation technology.

Project: Research project

Project Details


The current conversations regarding Hong Kong’s immigrant population, including many migratory workers and domestic helpers, often remain focused on their identity as nonethnic Chinese individuals. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has further deepened the marginalization of Hong Kong’s ethnic minority, and there is an urgent need to foster a deeper understanding of these communities as an integral part of Hong Kong, a city that boasts a rich history as a destination for immigrants who left home to start anew in a foreign land.

While one of the most effective ways to hear from community members is to record and disseminate their first-hand accounts as recorded oral history, such recordings also tend to become forgotten within vast online archives. Furthermore, recorded testimony often contains very personal details and recollections, and thus the listener may not be able to readily relate to and viscerally connect with personal accounts of these individuals who
are already perceived as outsiders.

In response, this proposed practice-as-research project seeks to expand our understanding of the intersection between music, recorded testimony, and place through the process of building a new, open oral history archive that focuses on under-documented communities in Hong Kong, as well as developing geolocation-based technology to embed these individuals’ stories within the familiarity of the city’s geographic location. As a result, I investigate how music can be combined with technology to highlight the stories of the underrepresented ethnic minority communities in Hong Kong.

The project includes three main objectives: 1) to create and disseminate a new collection of oral history recordings with individuals who identify as being part of the ethnic minority immigrant communities in Hong Kong; 2) to create an instrumental music score based on the sounds and musical qualities of the recorded speech; and 3) to create a site-specific and immersive listening experience where both the oral history and the music inspired by the interviews are heard as part of a ferry journey from the Central Piers to one of the outlying islands, thereby creating a physical and location-based connection between the interviewees’ stories and the listener’s real-time experience in Hong Kong, recalling the sea journeys that characterized the experience of immigrating to Hong Kong in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Effective start/end date1/01/2431/12/25


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