An interactive bamboo sound installation/instrument located in Qianyang, Fujian Province, China that invites local villagers and Qianyang Bamboo Museum visitors to realize the final completion of the work. The Bamboo Museum community gives the garden life and deeper meaning through the act of “play”– for without human interaction, the garden remains silent.
It was my hope to engage villagers in experiencing bamboo on an exciting and playful level, since bamboo is a common & abundant renewable resource normally used by them for day-to-day purposes. The sound garden invites everyone to experience bamboo on a sonic level, by exploring its possibilities for sound and music making.
On a site that was once the base of a mountain, twenty-eight bamboo pipes of different lengths and diameters are planted into Qianyang’s rich red soil, forming a curve. Hitting the holes of the pipes in consecutive order with your bare hands, provided rubber mallets, or even the bottom of a sandal plays an unevenly tempered scale that meanders between frequencies of 88.5 Hertz (F2) at the tallest end and 372 Hertz (F#4) at the shortest.
Two bamboo stands enclose the pipes, framing the garden. The stand on the north end supports five Balinese-style KulKul instruments ranging in size from 50-110cm; and a small set of roughly tuned chimes. The second stand supports an array of different objects: one Balinese-style KulKul measuring 100cm; seven experimental KulKuls ranging in size from 40-105cm with between 5-11 small, round holes; and a small rattle instrument. While hitting all KulKuls elicits a direct sound approximating a scale, on a windy day, visitors to the garden can also hear soft random sounds produced by the wind blowing through, into, and around them.