SOUND WALK IN CENTRAL PARK


SEPTEMBER 10, 2019


Have you ever been with someone and had a feeling you are not in the same space? And have you ever met a complete stranger and felt like you have known this person for a long time? What does it mean to be present for you?

I sometimes wonder, if life is made out of bits of moments, rather than a consecutive memory of life time. And these moments stay in a place without time and space.



My very first time to Central park, and the first sound walk started on Sunday afternoon. I had a chai latte in my hand. The warmth of a drink gave me a comfort. It was a sunny day with some clouds up in the sky. I arrived in front of the statue on the 59th street. The tour started with a picture from decades ago, from the same spot where I stood.

As we were walking though the same place, and as she explained what was happening around her, I was seeing the same thing, at the very same spot- even though she passed by here probably long time ago. People taking pictures of each other on the stairs, a man reading a newspaper on a bench next to the lake, a newly married couple taking their wedding photos on the arch… As if that slice of a space holds a collective memory that we all share. And that’s what makes a space a ‘place’. I was already in the mind of hers. 



I let go of myself for a while, listening to her direction. As if I give my hands to someone and they can take me to wherever they want.
She told me to talk very slowly. This way, you feel like you are alone in another time zone where everything is happening in slow motion.
She tells me, “Time is an invention.”



It felt like I was seeing the world with a sheer layer of the collective memory. I was sure I was seeing things correctly in my reality, but it was layered and portrayed with other images that were implanted in my mind.

Now I come to think that being present is rather a transcendent experience. It has less to do with where your physical body is, but where you place your mind is. And this mind – is where you keep your memories of sounds, images, feelings and store it as a moment, in a place- and that moment is your life.

“Walking is very calming. One step after another, One foot moving into the future and one foot in the past.. Did you ever think about that? Your body is caught in the middle. The hard part is staying in the present, really being here, really feeling alive… “

.                   

Epilogue:

During the 2 hr walk, I was never bored. And it was a walk where I didn’t carry any of my worries with me. Following someone’s footsteps, but also giving myself some space to observe my surroundings allowed me to experience the present differently. The coolest was in the tunnel: The multi-channel sounds of someone sining under in the tunnel broadened my cognition of the space and pushed my imagination further. The seemingly empty tunnel with a ghost jazz singer.. And of course, I resonated with the voice because I found some of the talks personally interesting. But either way, the narrative, technique, sound worked out well all together.


© ymchoi 2019