Ambient drones, the staccato crack of rivets and bolts, distant conversations, and the thunder of sheet metal populate this intriguing and inventive record by Hong Kong sound artist Edwin Lo.
“Doumen” is the story of a tanker’s construction in a dockyard in the district of Doumen, China, from the point of view of the tanker. It is in part a sonic investigation of the shipbuilding industry in China as well as a rumination on Lo’s relationship with the sea that surrounds Hong Kong.
Lo’s family history has long been tied to Hong Kong’s surrounding waters. This record places us within his father’s working environment onboard the ship in the midst of the industry, revealing to us the inner-life of the vessel.
Lo explains that this record is a component of a larger body of work focusing on the seascape. His father and team were told to station themselves in Doumen, Zhuhai for several months in order to monitor the tanker building process. - “So, I went to Zhuhai with my father in October 2013 to collect sonic and visual materials from the shipbuilding process”.
For “Doumen”, Lo collected a wide scope of recordings ranging from the differing textures of machinery to the tanker’s launching ceremony. These recordings are edited, mutated, manipulated and layered into a work that presents itself as a blurring of documentary and fiction.
"Doumen" is a fascinating artefact arriving via the audio adventures of the Futurists and Musique Concrète: extending the vocabulary of documentary into what Lo describes as Auditory Scenes.
Through his explorations, Lo is attempting to develop an idiosyncratic philosophy and language of sound and listening. He conceives sound as an “object of desire”, capable of invoking place and memory – even if these places and memories are not our own.
Joshua WF Thomson - 2016