The starting point for Around sound art festival 2015 comes from a contemporary, yet non-linear approach. We thought about the various art historical lineages of ‘sound art’ in which the basis of our curatorial approach could have echoed. At the very beginning of the conversation we were interested in fundamental questions such as what defines ‘sound art’ in artistic practice, and within the contemporary art context? How is sound as an art form perceived by audiences in Hong Kong? We were interested to look at the broader category of sound, to present artistic ideas and works that are open-ended, engaging and exciting in the moment.
If we consider the present conditions of media art and performance, the foundations have undeniably been laid, shaped, shifted and categorized within the institution. As we look at this new generation of artists that choose to work with sound, we realize that they regard sound not merely as a by-product of an artistic idea, or conducting experimentations with technology, but have also created a unique set of language or codes that are influenced by materials, the environment and their distinct backgrounds. One can argue that the environment becomes just as important as the material itself. Though the language of sound can be broad, its vocabulary has yet to be defined. At the same time, as this medium is becoming more sophisticated, works are manifested in multiple disciplines such as video, sculpture, installation, performance, photography, drawing, composition, etc.
With this in mind, we decided that presenting the works in a gallery context would be ideal to showcase the diversity of artistic backgrounds, in proximity to points of reference – given that the artists have all established complex narratives, we want to bring a sort of pedagogy to the audience. The specific artworks that were selected are meant to be seen as open-ended dialogues to larger bodies of works.
The exhibitions in Around 2015 feature artists Chelpa Ferro, Eli Keszler, Feng Hao, Jacob Kirkegaard, Rie Nakajima, Phoebe Hui, and Sergei Tcherepnin. Experimental interventions are at the core of these artists’ practices. One can see influences from movements such as Dada, Fluxus, Post-Modern and Relational Art, where individual expression is informed by conceptual strategies. Media and technology merely act as a palette of tools and materials that directly reflects or dissects our culture, identities, social and domestic concerns. Labour, craft, and form come after concept. While maintaining active relationships between disciplines, these artists focus on sound as concept and medium, as well as manifesting materiality through the sonic presence. The works are a snapshot of exploratory ideas, which we hope will bring a sensitivity to our relationship with each other, our identities, the environment, or simply overlooked moments of our everyday life.
Aki Onda and Helen Homan Wu
「聽在」2015的展覽展示Chelpa Ferro、Eli Keszler、馮昊、Jacob Kirkegaard、中島吏英、許方華及Sergei Tcherepnin具實驗性的作品。觀眾可從中看到達達主義 （Dada）、激浪派（Fluxus）、後現代（Post-Modern）和關係藝術（Relational Art）運動的影響，使個人的表達方式透過不同的概念策略得以實踐。媒體和科技只是各式各樣直接反映或剖析我們文化、身份、社會和家庭問題的工具和物料。勞動力、工藝及形式建基於概念；藝術家們在努力維持各種媒介之間的活躍關係的同時，更集中地研究聲音作爲概念和媒介，可以如何被運用以顯示當中的物質性。展出作品為各種探索性的意念提供一個簡明印象，我們希望透過是次展覽喚起一種對人與人之間的相互關係、身份、環境或日常被忽略的時刻之感性。
Around sound art festival 2015
Examining the contemporary phenomena of sound art, the fifth edition of the Around sound art festival, Around sound art festival 2015 seeks to uncover the multi-layered range of perspectives by showcasing the artistic process behind concepts dealing with sound. The exhibitions bring together local and international artists, each with a very distinct set of language, tools and techniques used in resonating their ideas. Aside from the exhibition, through performances, workshops and talks, we attempt to break down assumptions that audiences might have on the definition of sound art.
This year, the festival is curated by Aki Onda (JP / US) and Helen Homan Wu (US/ HK) in which they explore how a new generation of sound and visual artists use sound as an artistic medium or conceptual art form. Artists Feng Hao (PRC), Chelpa Ferro (Brazil), Phoebe Hui (HK), Eli Keszler (US), Jacob Kirkegaard (Denmark/ Germany), Rie Nakajima (JP/UK) and Sergei Tcherepnin (US) are invited to exhibit their works at Osage Gallery and Karin Weber Gallery. Talks and performances will be presented together with Dennis Wong (HK) at School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong and McAulay Studio, Hong Kong Arts Centre.
由 恩田晃 (日本/ 美國) 、胡可敏 (美國/ 香港)策展，今年的藝術節旨在探索新一代的聲音和視覺藝術家如何運用聲音作爲一個創作媒介或概念藝術形體。參與藝術家馮昊 (中國)、Chelpa Ferro (巴西) 、許方華 (香港)、Eli Keszler (美國)、Jacob Kirkegaard (丹麥/德國) 、中島吏英 (日本/英國) 、Sergei Tcherepnin (美國)的作品將會於奧沙畫廊及凱倫偉伯畫廊展出；而藝術家講座和演出亦會連同黃仲輝 (香港)假香港城市大學創意媒體學院和在香港藝術中心麥高利小劇場舉行。
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Festival Zine 節目小冊子
SOUNDPOCKET, PRESENTER OF AROUND
soundpocket is a registered charitable organization in Hong Kong, founded in 2008 as a direct response to the increasing interest of sound art in Hong Kong, the demand for public awareness and education in the sense of hearing and deep listening, and the need for cultural sensitivity in creative practices. As a promoter, educator, facilitator, and gatherer, soundpocket is committed to the long-term nurturing of active listeners. Since its inception, soundpocket has collaborated with non-profit organizations, small enterprises, independent voiceworkers and musicians, and curators of contemporary art on various art and cultural projects. soundpocket positions itself in the fields of sound, art and culture by initiating interdisciplinary projects that bring multiple art forms and a variety of cultural contexts into the focus of sound and listening. In this sense, soundpocket supports not just an art form, but ideas and possibilities that engage with aesthetically meaningful, culturally-grounded and publicly relevant sonic practices, which have a lot to teach about how we understand the world and the experiences yet to be valued.
Bustling Declaration is a sound art project about lost.
People from here and there came to big city for good reason. After years of struggling, most of them still remain an outlier to the city, in the meantime; they become a stranger to their mother town as rapidly progressed it. The only thing for them to grasp probably is the accent that showed a root.
In the recordings, six pairs of volunteers, gathered by the artist Feng Hao through social network, in each includes one male and one female from the same hometown outside Beijing, were reading the LAW OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA ON THE PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF ENVIRONMENTAL NOISE POLLUTION synchronously with their endemic accent in six most bustling places in Beijing.
When the law of protecting the environment met noisy surroundings, it has no power to protect itself from its opposite.
In the artist’s opinion, there were six historic periods of Beijing, which were Yuan dynasty, Ming dynasty, Qing dynasty, Republic of China, the Culture Revolution, the Reform and Opening-up, showing tremendous changings and impulsive expanding of it.
Recordings were separately uploaded to bandcamp.com and the QR codes covered and peered with the map of the 6 historic periods of Beijing
喧言 是一個表述迷失主題的社會聲音項目。藝術家通過網絡徵集6 組志願者，每組志願者必須是兩個來自同一家鄉使用同樣方言的男性和女性。志願者分別被安排在北京六處最為吵鬧的地點，用自己家鄉的方言同時朗讀《中華人民共和國環境噪聲污染防治法》並由藝術家現場錄製。錄音完成後上傳至網絡，將錄音地點在北京不同的歷史時期的地圖上標明，並重疊在由聲音鏈接生成的二維碼上。
wood, graphite, motor, electronics, speakers, conductive tape, wires, glass
48” x 20” x 20” (kinetic), 16” x 19” x 11” (print)
Vexation is a musical instrument built especially to play Erik Satie’s composition “Vexation”. Satie apparently instructed that the same music should be played 840 times. I wanted to make a work that demands a longer attention span and cannot be produced and consumed immediately. I am interested in the experience of duration involved in the act of listening to repeated sounds. Repetition is difference, since the same sounds take on a different significance as they are replayed.
Inspired by Samuel Biderman’s octave spinet, which is a small and special type of harpsichord that combined keyboard with chess and backgammon board or jewel box, “Vexation” is an electronic instrument that builds upon traditional drawing pencils and woodwork together with modern electronics. I made a moving wooden cylinder wherein I drew marks using pencils of different lead sizes. These pencil marks function as a score. I also designed my own electrical circuit. The contact between the sound circuit and the pencil marks produces audible music. The cylinder can also be seen as a sculptural piece. Its cylinder shape evokes my understanding of vexation - an endless circulation.
In “vexation”, I tried to collapse score and performance: The drawing in itself is the physical material that generates the tone without any human intermediary. The functional circuit is no longer split from the body in which it is embedded. The structure of the music is made clear to the visitor, since the score is displayed as an integral element of the sculpture.
I am interested in transforming existing artworks, presenting them using new forms of notation or mechanical instruments, in order to raise the question: is this the same artwork? When does something become a different work of art? Who defines the identity of the artwork? Is this work a new manifestation of the same composition? My main purpose is to raise the question concerning the identity of the artwork across its various physical forms, not to give a final answer to this question.
wood, graphite, motor, electronics, speakers, conductive tape, wires, glass
48” x 20” x 20” (kinetic), 16” x 19” x 11” (print)
Graphite Piano is a wooden sound instrument, shaped to resemble a piano. It is built with 3 sets of 8 pencils, each with a different darkness ranging from B to 8B. The instrument also has 24 keys, one per pencil. Each pencil is placed above one key. The keys have been drawn on the wood with various shades of pencils. The shade of each key is the same as the shade of the pencil that corresponds to it. The pencils in each set are all placed at three different distances from the keys. Therefore, the same pencil shade will generate different tones, depending on its distance to the key.
Musicians can play the instrument by pressing the keys. This action facilitates the contact of the pencil and the key, which will complete the sound oscillator circuit and generate the tone. The pencil and its marks thus work as a sound switch. This idea is related to other instruments or sound generating devices, including Louis Bertrand Castel's 18th century Clavecin pour les yeux (Ocular Harpsichord) (Hankin 1995, 73), as well as Theremin created by Leon Theremin and the Moog synthesizer by Robert Arthur Moog (and others), both made in the 20th century. The main mechanism of playing the Moog synthesizer is based on flipping on/off switches, so as “Graphite Piano” by pressing the keys to turn on/off of the sound circuit. Besides, musicians can play “Graphite Piano” by waving their hands above the keys. Similarly, sound generation in the Theremin is based on the player’s interaction with an electromagnetic field.
Using the pencil as one of the electronic components for generating sounds seems absurd yet completely makes sense because of its physical properties. The pencil core is made of graphite, which enables the pencil to serve as an electrical conductor. It is also a tool traditionally associated with writing and drawing. The physicality and the function of pencil make it an ideal element to be used in my sound sculpture. This work expresses my interest in the physical aspects of sound and language.
Ink, plastic and enamel ink mounted to wood panel
Filtrations is a series that began as a composition and performance commissioned by The Kitchen in New York City in February of 2015. As part of the body of work, this group of drawings is created through the mediation of printed patterns; more specially, through their distortion and fragmentation during the production process. Using simple grids and a pen plotter, these works are printed with water based inks on moistened plastic sheets. Chaotic marks occur and build up as the ink interacts with the non-porous surface, producing mediated digital productions. The process turns machine marks into what could be perceived as expressive and organic gestures, calling into question the meaning of such marks in the context of mechanical reproduction. As the ink attempts to adhere to the plastic through an over application of enamel paint, it becomes encapsulated. This encases the temporality of a normally fleeting moment into a material state of elapsed time.
Filtrations 起始於2015年2月，是一個在紐約被The Kitchen委託創作之作曲和表演而成的系列。 作爲作品中心的一部分，這組畫作透過轉化印製圖案創作而成；最特別的是在創作過程中對圖案的扭曲和分裂。運用簡單的方格及筆式繪圖機，這些作品運用水墨印刷在濕潤的塑膠紙張上。當墨水與無孔的表面接觸時，雜亂的斑痕便開始出現並形成，演變出另類的數碼生產。機械的痕跡在這過程中轉化為可以被看作表達的、自然的表示，並提出這些痕跡於現今機械複製時代的意義。當墨水因過量的瓷釉而黏附在塑膠上，墨水因而被封進裏層；這時，物質包住了那轉瞬間的暫時性、包住了那流逝的時間。
Piano wire, wood, enamel paint, motors, microcontroller, speakers, transducers, electrical wire
In Filtrations (piano wire), an expanding structure is built up from the center of the gallery. The work is bolted to the floor, with piano wire torqued around the space, expanding out to the ceiling. The work sounds piano wire through motors, transducers and speakers that strike the wire through various mechanical means. This generates endlessly refigured phrases built from generative code and recordings of piano mixed with industrial sounds recorded in the studio of the artist. These works regard the piano as an instrument which is an idea to be deconstructed, using installation as a model for expanding the language and possibilities of the instrument outside of normal formation. Through its regenerating form and filtrations, the work functions as an in-between medium of installation, sculpture, instrument and composition.
在過濾 - 琴弦，一個伸延的結構在畫廊中心築起。作品在地板上被閂住、琴弦在空間被扭曲，並一路伸延到天花板。透過機械如馬達、變換器、揚聲器，琴弦被擊打而發出聲音；加上藝術家在錄音室混錄的鋼琴和工業聲音，衍生出聲音那無數再被塑造的過程。這些作品把鋼琴這樂器視爲一個可被解構的意念，並運用裝置作爲樂器在平常姿態以外，其語言及可能的延伸。透過再被塑造的形態及過濾，作品運轉在裝置、雕塑、樂器、作曲的媒介之間。
Leave is a site specific installation which consists of kinetic movement, found objects, paper etc. There will be sound and non-sound, visual and non-visual. They could be traces of the past events or triggers towards the future. The mass has no weight, the shape has no form. Time assimilates into space. It is a sculpture to be experienced.
NAGARAS (“drum” or “kettle drum”) is the title of a series of photographs shot on an expedition into the deserts of Oman in December 2008. These particular desert sounds have been witnessed for many centuries by various travelers, including Marco Polo. “Nagaras” is one of the words used in early tales and rumors to describe the phenomenon.
The question of whether there is a (visible) connection between sound, vibration and physical matter that was explored more scientifically by Ernst Chladni (1756-1827), a German musician and physicist who is often referred to as the “father of acoustics”.
The photographic work can be understood, in a number of ways, as an artistic reference to the “Chladni plates”. NAGARAS is a series of attempts to look more closely at sound through the traces of movement in sand. However, in contrast to Chladni’s symmetrical, documentary and predictable representations of “frozen” patterns, Kirkegaard’s still images of momentary patterns were shot while the sand was in rapid motion, actively emitting sound from within itself. They attempt to visualize the rare and fleeting process of natural sound production known as “The Singing Sands”.