Indian artist captures city soundscapes

Sound gives you an idea of other realities…

Budhaditya Chattopadhyay is an example of an Indian artist who mixes Danish and Indian heritage in his work. He is currently working in Denmark while using his Indian heritage as a source of inspiration in his artistic expressions. His work is used in live performances and recordings.

Budhaditya Chattopadhyay has studied at the national film school in India and he has a Master of Arts degree from Aarhus University in Denmark. He has recently finished his PhD at the University of Copenhagen. At the same time he is working on several art projects, including Decomposing Landscape.

During 2014 he was a member of the panel at the International ESSA Conference 2014, which took place in Copenhagen. In Denmark he has performed at Nikolaj Kunsthal, at Leth & Gori and in collaboration with Copenhagen Film Festival, CPH PIX.

The Sound Performance Festival ‘Lyttelandskaber(e)’

At the sound performance festival Lyttelandskaber(e) at Nikolaj Kunsthal, Budhaditya Chattopadhyay performed three times. Anne Julie Arnfred, curator at Nikolaj Kunsthal, explains Nikolaj Kunsthal’s involvement with sound art by saying, we wanted to create an awareness towards the soundscape that surrounds us at all times as modern human beings, and that consciously or unconsciously gives us a stream of stories and informations, of which we are often not consciously aware.

Likewise, the theme of Budhaditya Chattopadhyay’s lineup was the development of cities. His main focus was on cities undergoing construction as he puts the question of modern city development up for debate. During his performances he captured the essence of this development by mimicking the cities’ soundscapes.

At his first performance he played Elegy for Bangalore. The work is based on the ongoing constructions in Bangalore. In the work he captured the soundscape in Bangalore under construction and, through that, the atmosphere in the city. This makes see Bangalore through different eyes and it offers other cultures an insight into the city life of Bangalore.

At his second performance he played The Well Tempered City. This work pinpoints how the city’s soundscape interact with people’s everyday life. With this work, he tries to get even closer to how cities’ soundscapes affect people’s lives and how people perceive it in their daily activities.

His third and last performance featured Decomposing Landscape. This work mimics the soundscape of the industrial development taking over the natural landscape. With this work he puts focus on the industrial development and it will make you question whether it is right or wrong to put nature at risk in order to reconstruct cities.

Cross-cultural Collaborations

Budhaditya Chattopadhyay believes that we can gain a lot from co-creation within the world of sound art, and he uses his own Indian heritage in some of his work. This includes the pieces Elergy for Bangalore and Decomposing Landscape. Both pieces give us an insight into places in India, that are significant to Chattopadhyay.

As mentioned, Elergy of Bangalore gives the listener an insight into Indian city life. Likewise, Decomposing Landscape lets the listener understand the Indian view on sustainability.

“It’s about a place that was a picturesque landscape for many thousands of years – Aboriginal people used to live there – but then around the 1950s major industries started to develop there and that completely changed a picturesque landscape (…) In my piece I try to portray that  transformation from being a very picturesque landscape to an industrial site,” says Chattopadhyay about Decomposing Landscape.

Thus, Budhaditya Chattopadhyay gives us an idea of the Indian way of life through sound.

“This kind of cross-cultural inspiration can develop into collaboration and co-creation between, for example, Denmark and India. The longer I stay in Denmark, the more I exchange me ideas with fellow artists or work in collaboration with Danish sound artists the more this cultural mixing will develop in a fruitful way,” Budhaditya Chattopadhyay explains.

Sound artists can inspire each other and develop a sustainable cross-cultural collaboration that can result in sound art with a cultural mix over time. Since we are living in a more and more globalized world, the sounds of the cityscapes increasingly become the same. Still, however, there are also sounds that differ from one place to another. Budhadutya’s work presents a mixed bowl of sounds put together in a wonderful artistic compilation, so that we can travel from place to place, from mind to mind and from reality to reality trough sound, Anne Julie Arnfred from Nicolaj Kunsthal explains after having worked with Budhaditya Chattopadhyay.

Contemplative Listening

Thus, Budhaditya Chattopadhyay’s work makes us able to interpret the world through a combination of sound and images.

“Budhaditya Chattopadhyay believes that we experience life differently if we use our ears as one of our primary senses. Through his artistic compilations he takes us on a trip to other soundscapes and possibilities within the sound field – a sound travel within the mind to another place,” Anne Julie Arnfred comments.

If we stop, listen and contemplate what we hear, we can see the world from a different perspective.

“When you relax and go into a contemplative mood, then you can hear more. If we concentrate only on this discussion we might be missing a lot of sound around us and miss the different layers,” Budhaditya explains. With that, Chattopadhyay invites you to stop and listen to the world around you. Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired. What, for example, do you hear right now?

Video: Budhaditya’s Thoughts on Sound Art

Learn more:

» Video: Budhaditya’s Thoughts on Sound Art

» Nikolaj Kunsthal

» Budhaditya Chattopadhyay


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