With my sound installation now complete and waiting for tomorrow’s launch I thought I would relax this evening in the People’s Square. As this is accessed by ascending steps from road level and then descending again the place is one of the few areas in the city relatively free from the sound of traffic.
In early evening the People’s Square lies almost empty, but as darkness descends the place transforms from a place built for the people to a place used by the people. The whole area is about the size of three football pitches and is tiled in marble and granite stone, and so as the place fills up sounds from one end can be heard from the other.
At around seven o’ clock a giant television screen comes to life and plays distorted sounds to its many viewers who sit on the ground to enjoy an evening’s viewing. Elsewhere, children train for Kung Fu and people gradually enter the square and walk around limbering up for the next event….
Slowly the crowds form into groups and at 8pm, dramatically, the space is filled with recorded music piped from giant loudspeakers located around the square. These groups then expand into huge line dancing or Tai Chi classes who either work with the music supplied or use their own which they play through portable PA systems. These all work together to produce a rather bizarre musical backdrop with the western influenced piped dance music mixing with the more traditional choices of the other classes.
As the evening progresses, the various group activities come to a finish and others such as ballroom dancing take their place until at the end of the evening the majority are watching the few left going. Just after 9.30pm the piped music stops with a rendition of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and suddenly it’s the sound of goodbyes and crickets whilst the remaining few finish their dancing in ‘silence’.