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  • Writer's pictureKJ Ha

Sound Walk: Her Long Black Hair by Janet Cardiff

Out of four options, I chose to follow Janet Cardiff's path in Central Park. There were probably several reasons behind my choice but first of all, Central Park has always been a place of admiration to me, a person from outside of New York, and second, presence of a woman trapped in faded pictures evoked some kind of nostalgia in me.

The path begins in front of the Jose Julian Marti Statue. Standing in front it for the first time, honestly speaking, I was suddenly hit by all the negative feelings and thoughts. I am that kind of a person who habitually relies on GPS whenever heading to unfamiliar places. Therefore, having her voice as sole guidance, the experience turned me helpless and anxious.

But soon, as her voice started to whisper in my ears, and asked me to match my footsteps with her, all the negative feelings slowly diminished. Eventually, near the end of the journey, I discovered myself fully immersed in the reality she presented to me. Along the path across the park, I carefully followed each of her words as if she was telling me the truth of life or her deepest secrets. Even her face was unknown to me at the moment, I felt a profound intimacy with her.

My journey, unfortunately, was hindered by some occasions: loud music performance heard near the zoo, people occupying the bench before me, and the lovely couple taking wedding pictures on the bridge. Those occasions presented there as if reality sometimes does not proceed as we expected. Besides pondering big concepts, concepts like reality, time, and the fleeting nature of life, the experience allowed me to revisit the meanings behind simple acts such as walking, hearing, taking pictures, and more importantly, it reminded me how hard it is to be fully and truly present in the moment.

Below are some of the pictures from my walk. Although, as she spoke, it might be impossible to capture what has already passed, I hope those pictures would at least help me remember and cherish the memories of the day.

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