Saturday night on Shukumvit road in Asok district was really a symphony of machines, as written by a futurism componist from Italia, Luigi Russolo in his manifesto “The Art of Noise” in 1913. This night, 19 January 2019, this main street of Bangkok city was packed, loud with the sounds of vehicles passing by. Like an orchestra, cars, motorcycles, tuk-tuk, songthaew, trucks, buses were the music instrument.
When I was recording for about one hour (around 8 to 9 pm), I felt the intensity from the rumbling of the vehicles machines especially on low frequency had exhausted my ears and mental state. Was it maybe because I was really ‘paying attention’, and not just hearing? On one hand I imagined that in big cities the people are used to be exposed to sounds from vehicle engines with an average volume intensity of 90 dB – 110 dB. Even though we could try not to pay much attention to it, biologically, a humans eardrums are not meant to be continuously exposed with that level of noise. If you think about it these sounds could also make the mind go through stressful situations, compare to the serenity in villages or mountains. What else can be said, since the revolution of industry, and then to the rapid development of automotive industry, cities are filled with these machine orchestra. The Shukumvit highway is one of the craziest spot in Bangkok, especially on a Saturday night like this.
I went home to the lodge around 11pm. Until one o’clock in the morning, the rumbling of vehicle machines passing by the Shukumvit highway could still be heard, like ghosts passing through the walls and windows of my lodge which was located right next to the road. I spent my Saturday night lacking sleep haunted by the concert of the machines at the side of the road.