2006 “谁的乌托邦”项目 – Whose Utopia
1. 城市梦 (City Dreaming) 18：58
2. 工厂奏鸣曲（Factory’s Sonata）21：34
3. 关于产品的想象 （Product’s Imagination）14：40
Osram China: Whose Utopia? by Zafka
I went to Osram several times in the weekends to do field recording during the past six months. The trip from Guangzhou to Foshan is not very long: get off at Keng Kou metro station in the suburb of Guangzhou, drive along the Guangzhou – Foshan Expressway, and you’ll see Osram besides the spiral highway in 20 minutes.
The whole trip is quite psychedelic for me. But what’s more psychedelic than the trip itself is the sonic environment of Osram: a fascinating blend of pre-industrial and industrial sounds. The factory is not huge, but the contrast and mixture of sounds in different spaces are very interesting: outside of the factory are vast, quiet farming land and the roaring railway and expressway besides the walls. Inside of it, there are also grassland and densely organized courtyards in addition to the standardized production line workshops, as well as dormitories and dining halls which stay empty regularly because of the working schedule. All these spaces are inter-embedded into a big complex space in which the workers work and live, results in what I call the “aural Osram”. The warble of the birds on the grassland, mixed with the mumbling noise from the workshops in the distance, form a psychedelic soundscape of pre-industrial and industrial sounds.
Such a sonic environment feels radically unreal. Even when dealing with the workers, I can still touch this unrealness and the omnipresent alienation. It’s like a giant black hole – the workers’ dream and their torporific life happens in the factory area at the same time. The leftist hatred that I prepared for modern industry didn’t work, my planned critique or sympathy, together with others’ pain and joy, vanished in the factory before even a sparkle of idea.
In another word, in the sample of Osram, the criticism of me as an outsider has turned into a 100% utopia. And the workers’ utopia – the imagination that they have on modern industry and their aspiration towards modern life – is also present at Osram. What’s cruel is the fact that the situation is but the two sides of the same coin of modernity, after all, their utopia is nothing different from mine. In the seemingly misplaced imagination are the paralleled utopias about the ultimate situation of human beings. Such utopias, examined nowadays, more or less sank into the swamp of diluteness.
Yes, as Slavoj Žižek puts it, we must reinvent a new utopia – it’s neither the imagination of future nor the reminiscence of the past. The new utopia is now. The very practice of turning the impossible into the possible is utopia.
Therefore, the arrangement of sound structure in this album is based not on critical reasoning. I tried to paint my imagination, feelings and memory about Osram in an impressionistic fashion by using both concrete and abstract materials, thus creating an aural utopia in an attempt to present the above issue: their utopia is also our utopia.
All materials were collected on the way to Osram and in the Osram factory. The three tracks are arranged in the sequence of “City – Factory – Product”. City’s Dream is about my listening and imagination when traveling between the two cities; Factory Sonata is my attempt to recreate my feelings when strolling between different spaces of the factory; the third track is an imagination of product, which aims at a state of meditation during the field recording work in the workshops and the “Playing with light bulbs” session.
Track titles / Durations:
1. City’s Dream 18:58
2. Factory Sonata 21:34
3. An Imagination of Product 14:40
Original text by ZHANG Anding (Zafka)
Translated by Lawrence Li