Social Tapes- Poyang Lake
Social Tapes- Poyang Lake
[Purchase includes all audio tracks in Mp3 format and PDF with track descriptions.]
To read the project diary:
Audio Track Listing:
29°10'43.52"N, 115°55'11.44"E (5:14) / 29° 8'16.64"N, 115°58'58.49"E (4:38) / 29° 8'45.31"N, 115°56'20.41"E (5:57) / 29° 9'7.89"N, 115°56'9.31"E (3:08) / 29°10'23.85"N, 116° 0'46.81"E (4:49) / 29°10'31.36"N, 116° 0'18.01"E (4:26) / 28°54'24.20"N, 116°15'34.32"E (9:17) / 28°54'44.40"N, 116°19'28.21"E (8:30)
Around the end of 2015, I was looking for organizations whom I could make a Social Tape release for to build awareness of their work. The International Crane Foundation (ICF) was one of the few who showed interest in this project. Headquartered in Wisconsin, the organization has a branch here in China in the Nanchang University Campus in Jiangxi province. The focus of their work in China is to survey the population of cranes in and around the Lake, most notably the Siberian White Crane. With around 4,000 Siberian White cranes in the world, it is classified as an endangered species. Every winter about 95% of the Siberian White Crane population, along with hundreds of thousands of other bird species, come from all over the world to winter at Poyang Lake.
Before this point I was quite ambitious with my expectations of specifically recording birds and wildlife, which is something I have never really done before. While the ICF office had video footage of the White Crane in the area, basically the crane just flies wherever and whenever it wants to which made sightings rare. I gave in to the fact that I would probably never see the Siberian White Crane but I decided that it didn’t matter. With all the environmental concerns surrounding the lake and the impact we have on migratory wildlife, the scope of this album was much bigger than a single species. I would document the wildlife and beauty of the area and if I see the White Crane then it would be a bonus for me. During my recordings, I experienced the beauty of the lake and was blessed with the best sunny weather that the lake had at that time of year.
We said hi to the local authorities in the adjacent fishing town and went down to the shore. The lower water level meant that the shore now was about 1 kilometer from where it usually is. Fishing boats were intentionally abandoned, scattered on the mud flats waiting for the rainy season to come during spring. I could see the water glistening in the distance as I picked up my gear and started trudging towards it. Then things started getting real sticky, real fast. The ground started to become real muddy and it was a struggle to carry my equipment and not to fall at the same time. I set my sights on a stranded boat and used that as my base to connect all my equipment.
After I was all connected, I jumped back in the mud and was only able to safely walk another 20 meters from the boat. The mud was already up to my knees and I almost fell a few times! I don’t remember if I could hear anything at that point with my own ears. I could see silhouettes of birds in the distance, probably another 100 meters from where I stood. What I could see was what I could hear. After I put on the headphones it was another world. The parabolic brought me right next to them. It was amazing. I recorded several takes (unreleased) and made my way back to the boat and to the car. I was filthy!
We went to Banghu (蚌湖) after lunch and drove along this beautiful grassland as far as we could go. We met some fisherman in their hut and asked if there were any white cranes at Banghu to which they said ‘no’. We went to another lake where I did another recording (unreleased) and Mr. Chen said that if we go back to Shahu at 4pm we might be able to see some White Cranes and even if we didn’t there would be a lot of birds eating their dinner there.
We went back and the winds had died down, the sun was setting, and there were more birds than the morning. Armed with my new rubber boots in the middle of knee deep mud I recorded Track #1.
Afterwards, we went back to the nearby town, ate dinner, and stayed at a local hotel for the night.
About Social Tapes:
Social Tapes is a collection of 'social phonography' projects from around the world. Our definition of 'Social Phonography' is the documentation of life with sound. Collections focus on any facet of life that make us human and that documents the present state of where we are today. Topics such as love, happiness, migration, religion, conflicts, nature, culture, preservation, are all encouraged. The purpose of these recordings are to build awareness to encourage action and participation with these issues.
Each 'Tape' is a digital release that will be featured on the Social Tapes website. The collection of recordings will be available in our store.
Social Tapes is an open project that anyone may apply to participate in. Organizations or individuals can request a Social Tape made for your cause. Please contact us for more information.