Bo Seo is a writer and editor. He is Korean and Australian.

We asked Bo to share some thoughts on the text he wrote for a new work in collaboration with composer Rachel C. Walker, In passing. Come hear the premiere by Lauren McAllister and percussionist Carlos Camacho on April 7th at Rohs Street Café in Clifton as part of Solo Soundbox: Lauren McAllister, Mezzo-Soprano.

I got the idea for this piece on a slow train from Nuwara Eliya to Ella in Sri Lanka, on which the only escape from the heat of the carriage and its travellers were the windows. The street was at eye level, and I saw farmers, makers, builders, drivers and merchants tracking our progress along the tracks. On a few occasions, I found myself waving to them and saw them, barely seconds after, waving back. It felt like the most private of acts.

To see and to be seen in return, and to have this exchange confirmed into knowledge by physical gesture, is for us an essentially human want. In our time in China, the composer and I have seen the extraordinary growth of High-Speed Rail networks, or gāotiě (高铁), and with it, the retirement of old tracks in favor of those supporting greater speeds. It made us wonder what would happen to that gesture, the wave, and to the mind that reaches for it. And it made us think that passing has a familiar, if uneasy, interior.

– Bo Seo, March 2018