‘Crowd Cloud’

Sound Design

A voice-based sound art installation welcoming visitors to Haneda Airport.

Yuri Suzuki has collaborated with musical artist and composer Miyu Hosoi to create Crowd Cloud, a long-term installation at Haneda Airport, Japan. 

Crowd Cloud forms part of the Culture Gate exhibition, which is curated by Paola Antonelli and sees contemporary artists and creatives offer fresh interpretations of Japan’s diverse culture in airports across the country. Culture Gate is sponsored by the Government of Japan’s Agency For Cultural Affairs, and its mission was to look at how to welcome people into the country. 

The new installation embraces and enhances the unique sonic character of Haneda Airport’s Arrival Hall, with its incredible mixture of words, noises, tones and tempos. The airport is usually a neutral filter between worlds, but Miyu Hosoi and Yuri Suzuki’s installation opens the doors to Japan. Keeping the human voice at its core, Crowd Cloud distils the vowels of the Japanese language, creating a unique composition that emanates from a choir of dozens of standing horns that converse with each other like people waiting for friends and relatives.  

The installation constantly emits selections of Japanese vowel and consonant sounds which are beautifully curated and sung by collaborator Miyu Hosoi. It does not recite any specific Japanese words, but instead recites words that sound Japanese. Visitors coming from outside of Japan can hear the similarities to their own language—mixing the familiar and the unfamiliar to beautiful effect.

The installation takes its name from both its configuration and the environment it sits in. Around 100 speaker horns clustered together, these represent the idea of a ‘Crowd’ which is not something most of us have experienced during the global pandemic. The ‘Cloud’ references the voices which fill the space as well as the magical aspect of air travel. All of the speaker horns are beautifully anodized and plated by craftsmen in a traditional Japanese and very cloud-like gold colour.

Paola Antonelli explains “The Japanese language contains a strong vowel sound which is unique to Japan and gives it an exotic, curious feel. The sounds of the installation will never repeat, so each visit to and experience of Crowd Cloud will bring a new sound and atmosphere.” 

Crowd Cloud is designed to provide a welcoming experience in what is often a soulless public space, momentarily turning visitors into audience members as they pass by en route to the next part of their journey.

Yuri Suzuki
Project team
Gabriel Vergara II
Maxwell Sterling
Miyu Hosoi
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