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artist support programme (ASP) alumni: Fish Tsang Sin-yu

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Fish Tsang Sin-yu received her Master of Arts in Music at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Bachelor of Arts in Creative Media at the City University of Hong Kong. Fish’s cross media creation spans installation, video, performance, etc. She shares her discoveries and expressions of the seemingly mundane trivia by recreating daily occurrences.

Fish’s work has been featured in various events, including ‘Experimentica 2012: UNSEEN’ (Cardiff, United Kingdom, 2012), ‘Art HK 2012’ (Hong Kong, 2012), ‘Around Sound’ Art Festival (Kwun Tong Ferry Pier, Hong Kong, 2013), and ‘Sonic Anchor’ (Hong Kong, 2014, 2016). Supported by soundpocket, Fish was invited to present her first solo exhibition, ‘Unintentional Pause’ at Empty Gallery (Hong Kong, 2017).

Fish Tsang Sin-yu was supported by soundpocket’s Artist Support Programme 2011–12.

Personal website >>>

Interview excerpt:

21.5.2021 (Fri)|12pm
Online interview(Vancouver, Canada : Hong Kong)

Photo by Wong Ka-wing

◎ Recently and “work from home”

soundpocket: You’ve created a series of new works for ‘10 Years of ASP’, which seems to be related to your home. Could you tell us more about it?

Fish: I have been living in Vancouver since 2018. Recently, due to the pandemic, I’ve been spending a lot of time at home, teaching piano on a work-from-home basis. When I was in Hong Kong, I hadn’t lived with my husband yet. So, going to Canada does not only mean living in another country, but also means living with a new identity – that of “wife”. And since I haven’t worked for quite a while, my whole lifestyle has changed a lot.

soundpocket: So, this series of works is also a response to your change of identity, and perhaps living status?

Fish: Yes, compared to the past, I’m now spending a lot of time at home, so I want to note down my new daily experiences and discoveries. I am easily affected by a change of environment, and through this series of videoworks, I can present these feelings. Not only did it differ in terms of space and acoustics, but also the change of my daily routine.

Photo by Wong Ka-wing

soundpocket: Is the work also related to your current living environment, as the house you are currently living in is very different from your place in Hong Kong? For example, do they differ in construction materials and space?

Fish: Yes, when I was in Hong Kong, I was living in an apartment on a 40th- or 50th-ish floor. Our home was facing the hospital and next to a traffic road, so it’s quite noisy, you will hear lots of sounds from cars and the hospital machinery. But when I came to Canada, most of the houses are made of wood, their structure isn’t as solid as concrete, and therefore the vibration of the house will amplify the sounds, including the steps from upstairs to downstairs. The whole acoustic is very different. I realised that when you live in a concrete house, you don’t hear the sounds of your neighbours moving around that easily.

The similarity between these new videoworks and my previous works, is that they both need a space for associations or the imagination. I mainly recorded sounds with a large ambience in my previous works. You might not be able to hear what I heard, but only witness how I interacted with the surroundings. And the space of the imagination is that when you conduct an action or performance under such an ambience, what sort of sounds will be generated?

This time, I focused on recording sound sources that I found interesting. The sound sources might be invisible from the screen, so you have to imagine: what is the sound source? What was the person doing when he/she recorded this? When I make a work, I like to have a bit of interaction with the audience, and they will need to use their imagination to picture [the work].

The difference is that this time I tried to record from a first-person point of view. Through the work, the audience sees the images I’ve been seeing, and hears something close to what I heard.

soundpocket: Can you tell us why you chose these corners in the house?

Photo by Wong Ka-wing

Fish: I chose something refreshing for me to film. Like the dishwasher – I didn’t have one in Hong Kong. But here, when you have to do more housework, you’ll start to notice these sounds. When there’s something repetitive, or sounds a bit comforting acoustically, I’d want to record it.

soundpocket: You mentioned that you chose the sound because you find it refreshing, or something you’d like to listen to. Your videoworks are taken at home from your first-person point of view, and it is quite an intimate experience to some extent – it seems you are presenting your life, or a peek into your personal living space. Why would you choose this approach? Do you have certain messages that you want to communicate with the audience? Or were you trying to draw some connection by this?

Fish: I’ve been creating from my own experience, sharing my own experience. Thus, sometimes my record would be a bit rough, raw and doesn’t have much post-production involved. If someone saw my work, and then started to discover what they’ve also been listening to on a daily basis, what’s happening around them, that would be nice. Or else, if that just made them simply think, ‘Oh so the sound of a washing machine when it’s washing clothes is like that,’ that’ll just be fine too.