• Alistair Smith

Totems Wallace Chan

World renowned artist, Mr Wallace Chan invited me to include my therapeutic soundscapes at his 2022 Venice Biennale exhibition Totems, curated by James Putnam.

I installed 5 speakers above and around the exhibition space, playing 5 soundscapes designed to work together. Each was composed above a common frequency, that of one Earth orbit around the Sun - the frequency of 1 Earth year! Pure harmonic ratios combine with traditional sound healing instruments - gongs, bells, singing bowls, chimes - to create textures that represent both the eternal and ephemeral. Continuous, cyclical harmonies become ethereal settings for the emergence and decay of the gongs, bowls and chimes which drift back into the ceaseless stream of Earth overtones.


In the first place, the totem is the common ancestor of the clan; at the same time it is their guardian spirit and helper, which sends them oracles. — Sigmund Freud


Totem is a large-scale installation of the unassembled parts of Wallace Chan’s 10-metre-high sculpture made of iron beams and carefully modelled titanium heads of various sizes. The installation presents an interactive relationship between the work and the exhibition space, encouraging viewers to approach the parts closely and to view them from various angles. Chan invites visitors to experience these different perspectives as they wander among the sculptural elements, transforming their static completeness into an expansive ‘universe’ composed of many parts.


Image © Wallace Chan



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Ascomposer| Production Music | Soundscapes | Classical Guitar & Harp Music | England