This piece is an audiovisual reflection on Steve Feld’s recent soundscape composition, “Hiroshima: the Last Sound.” In that work, Feld imaginatively evokes the last sounds heard by Hiroshima citizens, just before the 1945 atomic bomb attack. He does so by superimposing sounds of the Peace Bell from the annual Hiroshima Peace Festival onto a dense background chorus of cicadas, heard in the event’s ambient space.
Inspired by Feld’s notion of “acoustemic stratigraphies,” this piece aims to augment the audible spatial and temporal layers within his composition by juxtaposing the cicada and bell sounds with the ongoing acoustic politics on Henoko Beach, Okinawa. Henoko is a contested site where the plan to build a new offshore heliport for the U.S. military has brought on several years of debates and protests. The sonic juxtaposition on the beach — the quiet sounds of waves punctuated by military horns — manifests and highlights the contradiction of a Japanese government that is caught in the rhetoric of peace and its security treaty with the U.S. Compositionally expanding the time/space interface of the original peace, this work invites the audience’s ears and minds to dwell with the complex politics of “peace memorialization” in contemporary Japan.