Sea City Clam Tower


Sea City Clam Tower is a sound installation that takes its inspiration from the Chinese phrase for mirage, 海市蜃樓 “Hoi Si San Lau.” The breath of clam-like creatures was once believed to create visions of Penglai, the mythical island home of the immortals. In the installation, an ambient soundscape links underwater acoustics with sounds reflecting Macao’s relationship with the sea and its traditional fishing industry. Physical materials from Macao’s Inner Harbor, wet markets and local seafood restaurants are contrasted with dreamy mirages created through the projection of 3d animated fish and other local seafood. An aeration system brings a further layer of play between the virtual projected images, the movement of the water and bubbles that evoke the breath of clams.

The installation creates an otherworldly ambiance and opportunity to consider Macao’s history and its future development. It hints at environmental changes on the horizon, such as those arising from land reclamation, commercial fishing and other forces impacting the marine environment.

This installation is included in the Art Macao: Macao International Art Biennale 2021.

Artists: Crystal W. M. Chan and Benjamin Kidder Hodges
Material: Fish tank, air pump, tubes, Styrofoam containers, barrels, wood flats, audio devices, projected 3D animation

Dimentions: variable
Year: 2021
Venue: Macao Contemporary Art Center - Navy Yard No.1

Supporting article:

Mirages, methane seeps and ‘clam-monsters’ in the Yellow Sea

- by Benjamin Kidder Hodges (

© crystal w. m. chan