It is a strange and bitter irony that the US naval bombardment which launched the Battle of Okinawa in 1945 was called the ‘typhoon of steel’, invoking the turbulent winds that annually buffet this small island. Okinawans sought shelter from the battle in natural features of the environment such as caves and within sugar cane fields, creating memories that reside in the sounds of these places today. This film, the result of a ten-year collaboration between a landscape artist, an acoustic scientist and an anthropologist attempts to listen in on and make sense of these sounds through the stories of individuals and the recordings of these sounds. Their words, solidified as text and witness to the history of the US occupation of the island and expressed through the mixing of images and sounds of natural elements, military machinery and ritual practices convey the experience of many Okinawan lives, suspended between the American wars of the past, present and future.
Professor Angus Carlyle is a researcher at CRiSAP at the University of the Arts, London, where he is Professor of Sound and Landscape. The title of his Professorship indicates the broad terrain that he is curious about exploring; he is also interested in how sound operates with other media, and how different media forms relate to questions of memory and the potentially productive tensions between the ‘artistic’ and the ‘documentary’. His creative work frequently involves collaboration
Rupert Cox works at the University of Manchester as an anthropologist and filmmaker with a long-standing interest in Japan. His research has been on varied topics including the Zen Arts, the idea of Japan as a copying culture and the environmental politics of US military bases. He has developed interests in the intersections between art and science and anthropology that draw on practices from sound art, documentary and landscape film and are directed towards forms of public engagement. His art-works are part of a long term collaboration with the sound artist Angus Carlyle. Currently he is writing a book for Bloomsbury Press – ‘The Sound of the Sky Being Torn’, which is an ethnography and cultural history of military aircraft noise.