The Sound of Rain

I return to Japan during the rainy season in 2015, twenty years after the 1995 earthquake that had dislodged me. The visual landscape is somewhat unrecognisable to me now, no vestiges or cracks of this past can be seen in the shiny veneer of Japanese urbanism, so I set out to reconstruct the city where I was born and grew up as a foreigner through the sounds that are familiar to me. 

These sounds that linger across time and space, or perhaps even in the memory of the water or soil, become the matter of my own visual sound alphabet that I develop using an ancient Japanese technique of painting on water called suminagashi. As an apprentice of Fukuda-san himself, one of the last living masters of this technique, I learn the traditional way of Japanese marbling with ink, water and breath. I replace the movement from breath with the vibration from sound and project the spoken word into the inky water. From here I begin to play with creating my own pictograms or alphabet that have no geographical ties. 

The Sound of Rain is a selection of Japanese onomatopoeia that were donated to me for this project through the various encounters I made during this long awaited home-coming.