As a sister project to Digital Luoyang, Luoyang Soundscape explores the acoustic fabric of the ancient cosmopolis, Luoyang—the world’s largest city during the sixth century. As the capital of the Northern Wei dynasty (494–534) and the center of Asia’s commercial and transportation network, Luoyang flourished as a global center, intersecting art, religion, and culture from across Asia. The city, however, quickly fell into ruins only half a century after its establishment due to wars and political turmoil.
The Luoyang Soundscape project recreates the cultural experience of this city through the medium of sound.
Using historical documents and archeological findings, the team examined the soundscape of daily life across Luoyang’s different zones—from the acoustic jubilance of urban festivals to the cacophonies of war and urban disasters.
Working hand in hand with soundscape scholars across the globe, the CAMLab team created a spatial audio installation, which recreates the sound environment of sixth-century Luoyang. The audio installation is designed to be an immersive sound theater. Its primary narrative centers upon the historical events around the Yongning Monastery, which stood as Luoyang’s political and cultural center. The Yongning Monastery, a Buddhist complex sponsored by the royal family, witnessed the grand Buddhist festivals in Luoyang’s heyday, as well as the wars and political turmoils that eradicated the city into ruins. Through sound, listeners are immersed in the cultural and historical events of the Yongning Monastery and experience the arc of Luoyang’s dramatic history.