The In-Between

lost in the Middle
now we are the In-Between
never could choose Sides

“The In-Between” (2019) is a performance-installation that seeks to reunite identities that may seem far apart from each other. For me, it is growing up as an Asian-American.

The performance-installation features guzheng (a traditional Chinese instrument) and harp, which represent the “East” and “West,” respectively. The players are interpreting a graphic score that wraps around the gallery by freely improvising on Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, and Korean folk songs. Their sound is also being live-processed.

In the background, a soft, generative soundscape plays. The soundscape is being generated by using search term data from Google Trends. This installation used the data of three search terms: “China,” “Chinese Adoption,” and “Sichuan.” The data of each controlled probability-based parameters such as sound selection, volume, and sound spatialization, respectively.

The sound mobile in the middle of the space is made of broken mirrors, which symbolize how identity is never cut and dry. An accelerometer attached to the mobile wirelessly transmits data to a Max patch, which controls the manipulation of sound in real-time.

Ultimately, the space invites you to interact with the sound mobile and reflect on what your identity means to you.

Rachel Gibson, guzheng
Kelsey Sham, harp
Special thanks to the student members of Oberlin College and Conservatory’s Asian American Alliance for helping me paint the score.

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