Laboratory of New York Life Assignment 2: Meditations

July 18, 2009

For our second assignment, we were supposed to create a podcast or sound experiment that the entire class could listen to simultaneously. I recorded the interview of a Buddhist Zen teacher and his translator in a Chinese tea lounge in the basement of a Sheraton. One channel consisted of the teacher and his translator talking and I went through and meticulously removed all of the interviewer's questions and reactions so all you heard was the teacher and translator. The other channel was picking up ambient noise from nearby tables which included smatterings of Chinese and talk of tea, some of which was fifteen years old and very funky.

I then reduced the recordings to a few key passages and did some overlapping of different conversations so it sounded like a smattering of voices nearly impossible to distinguish easily. I also looped over a couple key phrases, like when the teacher says that we are looking at everything backwards. My goal for this piece was to convey the difficulty of true meditation and inner wisdom amongst the volume of advice givers and other voices in the world.