deTour 2021


Marketplace, G/F, PMQ

Like music, language has an underlying rhythm. Different languages have different prosodic patterns. For example, English is stress-timed, which means some syllables are longer, others shorter; whereas Cantonese is syllable-timed, with syllables of equal length. Therefore, the act of speaking itself invariably creates interesting rhythms.

This sound installation is a device, like an interpreter between speech and music. It records the dialogue of two persons, but rather than translating it to another language, an algorithm converts it into rhythm and tone, which is then played by a series of music instruments. Thus by simply speaking to each other, the two interlocutors generate a new piece of music.

Dr. Jackie Jia Lou


Dr. Jackie Jia Lou is a sociolinguist based in Birkbeck, University of London. Her research focuses on language and the city, often through the lens of linguistic landscape, and she has written extensively on the topic since 2007. She is also interested in language, art and creative research processes, and always welcomes opportunities to collaborate outside academia.

Chaklam Ng | Oblik Soundwork

Musical Instrument Designer

Oblik Soundwork is a sound project collective founded by Chaklam Ng. They specialise in designing and engineering one-of-a-kind, fun musical instruments for artists, musicians, or for any scenario where exciting sound is needed.

Chaklam Ng was previously an electric guitar luthier and the owner of local luthier shop Fretsmith Guitar Lab. For the past 14 years, he has been the go-to person for next-level tunes among Hong Kong musicians. The results have been featured in music festivals and performances such as Clockenflap and Sonar.