05 Mar 2015 2013, 2015, Christina Li, editorial, Heman Chong, Hong Kong, Incidents of Travel, interview, latitudes, Moderations, Publication, residency, Spring Workshop, Witte de With
'End Note(s)' is finally out! The publication marks the conclusion of two years of residencies, discussions, editorial and exhibition projects within the framework of 'Moderation(s)', a multiform collaboration between Hong Kong's Spring Workshop and Rotterdam's Witte de With, steered by Singaporean artist and curator Heman Chong.
Latitudes participation took place in January 2013 with a month-long residency at Spring Workshop, Hong Kong, and with the production of "Incidents of Travel": an invitation extended to four Hong Kong-based artists – Nadim Abbas, Ho Sin Tung, Yuk King Tan and Samson Young – to develop day-long tours, thus retelling the city and each participant’s artistic concerns through personal itineraries and waypoints.
As announced a few months ago, Latitudes has contributed to the publication with a visual essay documenting each of the artists' itineraries accompanying them with a revised and reedited version of the May 2013 conversation with curator Christina Li (Moderation(s)' witness).
Section of the book (pp. 61–89) dedicated to Latitudes' "Incidents of Travel". Here the names of the artists and the locations visited during each of their tours.
Itinerary and photo-documentation of Nadim Abbas' tour on 19 January 2013.
(Above and below) Itinerary and photo-documentation of Yuk King Tan's tour on 24 January 2013.
Itinerary and photo-documentation of Ho Sin Tung's tour on 29 January 2013.
(Above and below) Itinerary and photo-documentation of Samson Young's tour, 7 February 2013.
Reedited version of a conversation with curator Christina Li – Moderation(s)' witness – originally published on Witte de With's blog dedicated to the project.
Here's an excerpt of our conversation with Christina:
Christina Li: The artists' tours were meant for you both to converse privately with each selected artist while getting to know their practices and the city. Did the public aspect of the Nadim Abbas' tour and your experience of the commercial tours suggest a different perspective of how the format could function from your initial perception? How has this attempt challenged your thinking in mediating and presenting the immediate experience and documentation of these tours to a larger audience?
Latitudes: Although the commercial tours were taking place regularly by prior arrangement, we happened to be the only participants on each of the days [Feng Shui tour and Tour of the Devil's Peak]. We tried to keep the artist tours casual and inconspicuous, and to respect the notion of hospitality and privacy in the same way that if we came to your house for dinner, you would not expect us to bring a group of strangers with us. In fact, the day with Yuk King Tan concluded with a household of Filipina domestic workers making food for us – women whose trust and friendship she had earned through her personal affiliations and the concerns of her art. In this case it would obviously have been completely inappropriate and something of a human safari to bring along an audience.
Visiting Waterfall Bay with Nadim Abbas was part of the public tour on 19 January 2013. Photo: Trevor Yeung.
But we had no desire to make the days exclusive or private as if they were some kind of bespoke tourist service. Other people sometimes joined for parts of the days if the artist had suggested it, yet the main point of emphasis was our commitment to the tour in lieu of the typically brief studio visit and a situation in which the artist has had ownership of planning the whole day. If there would be definitely something like an audience present throughout (that might expect to be engaged or come and go) the dynamics and the logistics would have changed.
The artist tours were conceived from the point of view of research, and we have been reluctant to burden the artists or overload the format to the degree that they become durational artworks or somehow theatrical. We are not particularly focused on tidying up whatever their ontological status as art might be and likewise we have deliberately not just invited artists whose work has a clear sympathy with performative, urban research or an obvious relation with sociability or place. We feel it is important that the format is quite malleable to the personality of each artist and that in the same way that you might browse a newspaper or share a car journey with somebody, the tours do not require a wider audience to legitimize them. In the same sense they have not necessarily required documentation to make them valid. However, we have been increasingly interested in the idea of reportage or live broadcast in terms of the ‘making of’ or ‘artist at work’ genre, while at the same time being really wary about our own positions as protagonists and photographs that might seem like they belong in a travel magazine.
The tours in Mexico City took place during five consecutive days right after our arrival, so the way we shared the photographic material was more direct via our Facebook page at the end of each day. The exhibition at Casa del Lago opened only two days after we concluded the last tour, so we had to come up with a straightforward display form. For each tour the photographer Eunice Adorno had accompanied us and in the end we projected a selection of 200 of her images as a slideshow, and displayed a few of them printed on the wall alongside a large map of the city with pins locating the sites we visited. We also had printed itineraries, written by the artists, so anyone could later follow the routes themselves if they so desired.
Visiting the Espacio Escultórico at U.N.A.M. with Jerónimo Hagerman, one of the five tours around Mexico City in September 2012. Photo: Eunice Adorno.
In Hong Kong we were using Twitter, Instagram, and Vine during the tours, so it was an experiment in documentation-on-the-fly and live journaling which was open to real-time responses. We also made a series of one-minute field recordings. The tweets were archived soon after alongside these recordings, as well as related Facebook posts. We also published blog posts about each of the tours which included many photographs (by us and others) alongside paragraphs from the artists’ itineraries. This might seem to highlight merely mundane technical aspects of the project but it also heightened our interest in further exploring the idea of the curatorial bandwidth beyond exhibition making, something we continued to investigate in following projects such as #OpenCurating.
'End Note(s)' Colophon:
Concept: Heman Chong
Editors: Defne Ayas, Mimi Brown, Heman Chong, Amira Gad, Samuel Saelemakers
Contributors: A Constructed World, Nadim Abbas, Defne Ayas, Oscar van den Boogaard, Mimi Brown, Heman Chong, Chris Fitzpatrick, Amira Gad, Travis Jeppesen, Latitudes, Christina Li, Guy Mannes-Abbott, Samuel Saelemakers, Aaron Schuster
Copy Editors: Janine Armin, Marnie Slater
Production: Amira Gad, Samuel Saelemakers, Heman Chong
Design: Kristin Metho
Printer: Koninglijke Van Gorcum
Publisher: Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art Rotterdam, the Netherlands ISBN: 978-94-9143-529-4
RELATED CONTENT: First week of the "Moderation(s)" residency at Spring Workshop, Hong Kong (17January 2013)
Nadim Abbas' "Incidents of Travel: Hong Kong" public tour (19 January 2013)
"Temple and Feng Shui Tour", a guided walk around Hong Kong Island & Kowloon (22 January 2013)
Ho Sin Tung "Incidents of Travel: Hong Kong" tour (30 January 2013)
Yuk King Tan's "Incidents of Travel: Hong Kong" tour (3 February 2013)
Tour of Devil's Peak and the Museum of Coastal Defence (6 February 2013)
Samson Young's "Incidents of Travel: Hong Kong" tour (7 February 2013)
Latitudes' Open Day at Spring Workshop on 2 February 2013 (9 February 2013)
"Archive as Method: An Interview with Chantal Wong, Hammad Nasar and Lydia Ngai" of the Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong. Concluding #OpenCurating interview (1 May 2013)
"Digression(s), Entry Point(s): An interview with Heman Chong", Singapore-based artist, curator and writer. Eighth in the #OpenCurating research series. (4 April 2013)
Archive of social media posts related to "Incidents of Travel" tours and photo-documentation.13 field recordings from 'Incidents of Travel: Hong Kong'
Witte de With opens the group show "The Part In The Story Where A Part Becomes A Part Of Something Else" on May 22, 2014 (21 April 2014)
Interview between Christina Li and Latitudes on 'Incidents of Travel' for Witte de With's 'Witness to Moderation(s)' blog (7 May 2013) – This is the blog of the independent curatorial office Latitudes. Follow us on Facebook and @LTTDS.
All photos: Latitudes | www.lttds.org (except when noted otherwise in the photo caption).
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
31 Jul 2013 This is the fifth consecutive year [see 2008-9, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12] we say goodbye to the season with an 'out of office' post with some unseen and 'behind the scenes' moments lived in the past months. Regretfully, we're not exactly off to a beach-and-palmtree holiday, just slowing down our inbox activity as well as our posts on this blog, Facebook and Twitter. #OpenCurating, 2013, Casa del Lago, conversations, Dublin, Heman Chong, Mariana Cánepa Luna, Max Andrews, Moderations, out of office, Spring Workshop, talk, Yasmil Raymond
So happy holidays/felices vacaciones dear readers!
3 September 2012: The season started with the exciting publication of the first #OpenCurating interview with the web team of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, which became content partners of the interview series. "Beyond Interface: An Interview with Robin Dowden, Nate Solas and Paul Schmelzer" was the first of a series of ten publications which were released between September and April 2013. The compilation, gathers an array of voices and approaches around the challenges, expectations, and new possibilities that digital culture and social media present to contemporary art institutions. To what degree are curators, media teams, publishers and archivists concerned with a dialogue with their audiences? #OpenCurating has investigated these questions through how new forms of culture, participation and connectivity are being developed both on site and on line.
In 'Beyond Interface' Robin Dowden (Director of New Media Initiatives), Nate Solas (Senior New Media Developer) and Paul Schmelzer (Web Editor) of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, discuss the museum's new website, relaunched in December 2011 following a two-year conceptual reboot and complete redesign.
9 September 2012: Soon after publishing the first #OpenCurating interview, we participated in dOCUMENTA (13) series of readings based on their publications programme Readers' Circle: 100 Notes—100 Thoughts, for which we decided to read 'Lawrence Weiner IF IN FACT THERE IS A CONTEXT' (2011, Hatje Cantz). On the door steps of Fridericianum, we read Lawrence's book and played his voice reading some of the passages too. See our post on dOCUMENTA (13).
Board announcing the 19h 'Readers Circle' event.
On the steps of the Fridericianum reading Lawrence Weiner.
11–15 September 2012: During the last week of dOCUMENTA (13) Latitudes facilitated the Nature Addicts Fund Travelling Academy, organised within the framework of the 100-days-long exhibition in Kassel, Germany. Here you can watch a summary of the week-long workshop that had 15 participants (Ackroyd & Harvey, Frédérique Aït‐Touati, Geir Backe Altern, Linus Ersson, Aurélien Gamboni, Fernando García‐Dory, Mustafa Kaplan, Zissis Kotionis, Julia Mandle, Clare Patey, Érik Samakh, Åsa Sonjasdotter, Elisa Strinna, and was punctuated by the partcipation of dOCUMENTA (13) artists Maria Thereza Alves, Toril Johannessen and Claire Pentecost.
Visiting Jimmie Durham's piece at the Karlsaue Park. Photo: Nature Addicts Fund.
Group discussion with Chus Martínez, Core Agent, dOCUMENTA (13) at the Import/Export boat.
Photo: Nature Addicts Fund.
17 September–5 October: Installation and opening (27 September) of the two-part exhibition 'Latitudes Projects 2005–2012' and 'Incidents of Travel: Mexico City' as part of Casa del Lago's 'Sucursal' programme, for which self-organised, self-funded or non-profit organisations temporarily move their offices to Casa del Lago in order to expose the cultural strategies of such forms of organisation. 'Incidents of Travel: Mexico City', consisted of the invitation to Minerva Cuevas (19 September), Tania Pérez Córdova (20 September), Diego Berruecos (21 September), Terence Gower (23 September) and Jerónimo Hagerman (24 September), and to devise one-day-long tours throughout the city. More info and photos of the five tours.
E-invite to the opening of the exhibition "Latitudes. Proyectos 2005–2012 & Incidentes de viaje" at Casa del Lago.
Around Lagunilla with Minerva Cuevas. Photo: Eunice Adorno.
Visiting the Hemeroteca at the UNAM with Diego Berruecos. Photo: Eunice Adorno.
Lunch with Terence Gower at Sólo Veracruz es Bello!, Tlalnepantla Centro. Photo: Eunice Adorno.
Observing an overgrown ivy and an ash in Polanco. Photo: Eunice Adorno.
Visiting the Espacio Escultórico in the UNAM with Jerónimo Hagerman. Photo: Eunice Adorno.
Installing one of the 200+ poster pannels that composed the exhibition 'Latitudes. Proyectos 2005–2012' gathering information on +30 projects presented over the last seven years. More on Latitudes' projects here. Post-opening chelas with artists Jerónimo Hagerman and Jorge Satorre at the social cathedral of the artworld in Mexico DF: the cantina Covadonga.
8 October 2012: Release of the second #OpenCurating interview. 'Alguien dijo 'Adhocracy'?' with Barcelona-based architect, co-founder of the publishing project dpr-barcelona and blogger Ethel Baraona Pohl. Ethel was a member of the curatorial team of 'Adhocracy', the exhibition of the first Istanbul Design Biennial (13 octubre–12 diciembre 2012) which later toured to the New Museum's 'Ideas City' Festival (1–4 May 2013). Read here (in Spanish) or here (in English).
17 October 2012: Mariana Cánepa of Latitudes participates in the season of talks Cultural Professions: the Curator, at the Aula de Cultura CAM, in Murcia. An initiative of the curatorial collective 1er Escalón.
Foto: Obra Social Caja Mediterráneo.
19–21 October 2012: Following on, we participated in a two-day meeting in Witte de With, Rotterdam, in preparation for Moderation(s), a year-long programme of residencies, performances, exhibitions, workshops and research initiated by Witte de With’s director Defne Ayas and Spring Workshop founder Mimi Brown, and presided over by artist, writer and curator Heman Chong.
Photos: Witte de With.
6–9 November 2012: Trip to Munich, to see Haus der Kunst's 'Ends of the Earth – Land Art to 1974' exhibition and attend the opening of Haegue Yang's "Der Öffentlichkeit" commission.
Façade of Haus der Kunst in Munich.
Haegue Yang with Max Andrews discussing the installation process.
28 November 2012: Third #OpenCurating interview online. 'Itinerarios transversales' is the interview with Sònia López and Anna Ramos of the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA). The new web of the museum, was launched at the beginning of 2012 and includes new features such as 'Recorridos' (Itineraries), a tool that allows visitors to create their own transversal itineraries selecting amongst the five thousand works that compose the MACBA Collection, besides videos, artist entries, podcasts, publications, amongst others. Read here (in Spanish) or here (in English).
Testing the navigation on the iPad. Looking good.
5 December 2012: Fourth #OpenCurating interview up. 'Democratizando la sociedad informacional' analyses the practice of visual artist, art theorist and web activist Daniel G. Andújar. Though the use of irony, his work has questioned the use of new communicative technologies, the democratic and egalitarian promises these media prophesy, critisising their real yet hidden intentions to control users. Read here (in Spanish).
17 December 2013: Reached the equator with #OpenCurating. Five out of ten interviews are up and running. The fifth, 'books_expanded_field' is the interview with Badlands Unlimited, a New York-based publishing house whose motto is “books in an expanded field”. Its publications and editions in paper or digital forms (e-books for iPad or Kindle) acknowledge that “historical distinctions between books, files, and artworks are dissolving rapidly”. Read here (in English).
The Walker Art Center's web continues to support the project re-publishing the interviews on their site. Read 'books_expanded_field'.
2 January 2013: Happy New Year and happy reading. Seventh #OpenCurating interview with Steven ten Thije, Research Curator at the Van Abbemuseum, in Eindhoven. In 'From One History to A Plurality of Histories', Latitudes conversed with the researcher from one the first public museums for contemporary art to be established in Europe. Under the directorship of Charles Esche since 2004, the museum has defined itself through “an experimental approach towards art’s role in society”, where “openness, hospitality and knowledge exchange are important”. Read here (in English).
7 January–11 February 2013: Curators-in-residency at Spring Workshop, Hong Kong, as part of the above mentioned 'Moderation(s)' programme. Our residency continued the artist-led tour format we initiated in Mexico City a few months earlier. Hong Kong-based artists Nadim Abbas, Yuk King Tan, Ho Sin Tung and Samson Young were invited to develop day-long itineraries, thus retelling the city and each participant’s artistic concerns through personal references and waypoints. More info and more photos of the four artist tours.
Navigating Tai Po with Ho Sing Tung, 29 January. Photo: Spring Workshop.
The residency included participating in the workshop "A Day at the Asia Art Archive" organised in collaboration with Spring Workshop and Witte de With, Rotterdam, on 31 January and concluded on February 2, with an Open Studios during which Latitudes and Heman Chong mantained a conversation about their experience in Hong Kong and their curatorial practice. [Related posts: Read the May 2013 interview between Christina Li and Latitudes here.]
2 February: Open Day at Spring. Conversation between Heman Chong and Latitudes. Photo: Spring Workshop.
During an interview and photo session for Ming Pao Weekly. Photo: Athena Wu.
19 February 2013: Public event of the #OpenCurating research at the Auditorium of MACBA, Barcelona. Latitudes in conversation with Yasmil Raymond, Curator of the Dia Art Foundation in New York. The conversation was later transcribed and published at the #7 of the series.
Yasmil Raymond during the conversation at MACBA's Auditorium. Photo: Joan Morey.
8–14 March 2013: Research trip in Dublin. Invited by Dublin City Council: The Arts Office, Latitudes visited art spaces, artists' studios and galleries in Dublin and Derry-Londonderry throughout the week. The diary included participating in the round table 'Within the public realm', alongside artist Sean Lynch and curator Aisling Prior at the Hugh Lane Dublin City Gallery [video of the talk here]; and a Curatorial talk at CCA Derry-Londonderry. During the week we were hosted by artists, curators and studio managers who took us around the Red Stables Studios; Temple Bar Gallery + Studios; Fire Station Artists' Studios; Green On Red Gallery; Kevin Kavanagh Gallery and the Project Arts Centre - Visual Arts.
Walk with our hosts Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh, co-directors of CCA Derry–Londonderry, around Kinnagoe Bay in Donegal, site of 1588 shipwreck of one of the Spanish Armada ships. Gathered plenty of material during studio visits, lunches and dinners. How do we deal with this, Ryanair? 20 March 2013: Mariana Cánepa of Latitudes visits A*Desk's HQ and talks to A*Study's partipants about some of the practical challenges that came up in recent projects, how they were negotiated and ultimately, presented.
Photo: Oriol Fondevila.
As far as press coverage, Stephanie Cardon of Boston's Big Red & Shiny featured a profile in September 2012 titled 'Meanwhile in Barcelona: Latitudes and #OpenCurating'. In the Autumn issue of D'ARS, Italian writer Saul Marcadent mentioned the (out of print, unfortunately) publication "LAND, ART: A Cultural Ecology Handbook", Latitudes edited in 2006 in the context of other ecological-oriented projects. During our March visit to Dublin, we chatted with Anne Mullee about the (then ongoing) #OpenCurating research, the conversation was soon after published in the International section of the May-June 2013 issue of The Visual Artists' News Sheet. Also in May, writer and curator Christina Li, interviewed us for the Moderation(s) blog Witness to Moderation(s), an opportunity to look back at our January residency in Hong Kong.
In the past months, Max Andrews of Latitudes has published the following texts in frieze: 'Utopia is possible' (October 2012 issue); review of Julia Montilla's exhibition "El «cuadro» de la Calleja" at Espai 13, Fundació Miró; and forthcoming, an interview with Rotterdam-based artists Klaas van Gorkum and Iratxe Jaio also for frieze, as well as two texts on the 1979 documentary film 'The Secret Life of Plants' for the final issue of the Dutch journal Club Donny!
This is the blog of the independent curatorial office Latitudes. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter. All photos: Latitudes (except when noted otherwise in the photo caption) 02 Apr 2013 #OpenCurating, 2013, BCN Producció, collaboration, exhibition-making, Heman Chong, Hong Kong, interacción, interview, Moderations, negotiation, OpenJournalism, Singapore, Spring Workshop, Witte de With
Cover of the interview. Photo: Joan Kee.
Heman Chong’s art practice is comprised of “an investigation into the philosophies, reasons and methods of individuals and communities imagining the future”. His ongoing project, The Lonely Ones, looks at the representation of solitude and the “last man on earth” genre in art, film and literature, and is the basis for a forthcoming novel entitled Prospectus. Chong’s recent solo exhibitions include LEM 1, Rossi & Rossi, London (2012), Calendars (2020–2096), NUSMuseum, Singapore (2011) and The Sole Proprietor and other Stories, Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou (2007). He has participated in numerous group exhibitions including the Asia Pacific Triennale 7 (2012), Performa 11 (2011), Momentum 6 (2011), Manifesta 8 (2010), Busan Biennale (2004), and the 50th Venice Biennale (2003) representing Singapore. Amonograph of his work entitled "The Part In The Story Where We Lost Count Of The Days", edited by Pauline J. Yao, will be published in June 2013 by ArtAsiaPacific.
The interview was initiated at Spring Workshop, Hong Kong, in the context of Chong’s invitation to Latitudes to make a curatorial residency as part of Moderation(s), a year-long series of programming between Spring and Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam. "Digression(s), Entry Point(s): An interview with Heman Chong" also includes a guest spot with Gotherburg-based artist and writer Anthony Marcellini.
Follow:@LTTDS #OpenCurating @HemanChong#Moderations
Drawing on the emerging practices of so-called 'Open Journalism' – which seek to better collaborate with and use the ability of anyone to publish and share – #OpenCurating is a research project that investigates how contemporary art projects may function beyond the traditional format of exhibition-and-catalogue. #OpenCurating is concerned with new forms of interaction between publics – whether online followers or physical visitors – with artworks and their production, display and discursive context.
The project is articulated around a series of ten new interviews with curators, artists, writers and online strategists published as a free digital edition [read here the published ones so far], a Twitter discussion moderated around the hashtag #OpenCurating and an public conversation with Dia Art Foundation curator which took place at MACBA on the 19 February.
#OpenCurating is a research project by Latitudes produced through La Capella. BCN Producció 2012 of the Institut de Cultura de Barcelona.
Content partners: Walker Art Center
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
09 Feb 2013 2013, Ho Sin Tung, Hong Kong, Incidents of Travel, latitudes, Moderations, Nadim Abbas, Samson Young, Spring Workshop, talk, Yuk King Tan
The evening began tracing "Incidents of Travel"'s origins with itineraries and tours organised in previous projects such as the seminar-on-wheels for the 8th Sharjah Biennial (2007) as well as during Portscapes (2009) in the Port of Rotterdam. After introducing "Incidents of Travel" in Mexico City and the four tours in Hong Kong, we fielded questions from the audience and discussed the ongoing research project #OpenCurating and its origins with the editorial project realised for The Last Newspaper (2010) exhibition at the New Museum in New York.
Food time! Thai food from the neighbouring Cooked food Market on Nam Long Shan Road, Aberdeen.Related contents:Soundscapes of "Incidents of Travel" Hong Kong;Storify "Incidents of Travel";Flickr album of the four tours of "Incidents of Travel".All photos: Spring Workshop.
07 Feb 2013 As part of Moderation(s), the year-long collaboration in 2013 between Witte de With, Rotterdam, and Spring Workshop, Hong Kong, curators-in-residence Latitudes have invited artist Samson Young to develop a day-long tour of Hong Kong retelling the city and artistic concerns through personal itineraries and waypoints. 2013, Heman Chong, Hong Kong, Incidents of Travel, Moderations, Samson Young, Spring Workshop, tour, Witte de With
To complement the tour, please check the archive of twitter and facebook and SoundCloud posts.
"Incidents of Travel: Hong Kong"
by Samson Young
7 February 2013 I am very envious of artists who are able to describe their practices in a manner that is concise, succinct, and consistent. To tell one’s life story is also to confess. I purge my catalogue of works and rebuild my identity (as told by images, sounds, and self-descriptions) every couple of years. Moderation(s)asks that I create a tour that “articulates the city and (my) artistic practice through routes and waypoints.” Are routes and waypoints more authentic than a studio visit? Are the vernacular, the eccentric and the marginal more “real,” in the same way that punk is real and techno apparently isn’t? The pressure to define the unique and the authentic is perhaps growing more urgent with globalization, but behind each assiduous defence of the authentic lies what Regina Bendix calls “unarticulated anxiety of losing the subject” (Bendix 1997).
During this tour, I eavesdrop on my own works in the presence of six others. We take an early morning sound-walk around the Kwun Tong industrial district, visit a site near the City Hall in Central where the now-demolished Queen's Pier was once located, and trespass the frontier closed area near the Hong Kong-China border. In between locations, we listen to recordings of music and/or read texts that have informed my work one way or another.
The sound walk begins at 75 Hung To Road in the industrial district of Kwun Tong.
Sound-walk: 75 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong
We begin the tour at 75 Hung To Road. I will conduct again a sound walk that I created back in 2009. Participants of the sound-walk follow me on a route through the Kwun Tong industrial district. To create this work I walked the same route a number of times at different dates and times, generating one full recording in each walkthrough. I then edited these recordings into a single soundtrack, to which the participants listen during the sound-walk. During the sound-walk, I follow my own footstep by listening to the sound marks in the soundtrack, to ensure that I am in sync with my recorded presence.
Samson Young leads us while listening to the 44 min. soundtrack "Kwun Tong Soundwalk" on mp3 players.
Young takes us through the bus station.
Photo: Spring Workshop.
Condemned industrial buildings around Kwun Tong.
Around Kwun Tong's shops and markets. Photo: Spring Workshop.
|More condemned buildings. When Young recorded the soundtrack in 2009 these places were still open, a proof of the swift gentrification of Kwun Tong.|
A short pause at Yue Man Square Rest Garden. Photo: Spring Workshop.
Soundwalk-ing in a bus terminus. Photo: Spring Workshop.
Tsim Bei Tsui, Frontier Closed Area
I was born in Hong Kong but mostly educated in Australia. I’ve always felt that children of Mainland Chinese parents had an easier time answering the question, “Where are you from?” They simply say, “I’m Chinese.” I always feel more natural saying I’m from Hong Kong, rather than plainly stating that I’m Chinese. Or, if I say I’m Chinese, I feel the need to add the footnote that I was born in Hong Kong. I am frankly confused by all of this. For the longest time, I avoided identity politics in my work, but the national education saga in 2012 prompted me to revisit this issue.
Hong Kong and Mainland China are physically separated by the ShenzhenRiver and a great wall of wired fencing, and south to the border are restricted zones known as the Frontier Closed Area. Entry into the Frontier Closed Area without an official permit is strictly forbidden. In October 2005, the then chief executive Donald Tsang announced a proposal to drastically reduce the Frontier Closed Area. In February 2012, 740 hectares of land were initially opened up for public access. The proposal will be implemented in phases, and other areas will soon follow suit. Since July 2012, I had been systemically collecting the sound of places and/or objects that separate the two regions. I recorded the vibration of the wired fencing with contact microphones and the water sounds of the Shenzhen River with hydrophones. I rearranged these recordings into sound compositions. I then re-transcribed these sound collages into graphical notations.
Walking through the fields that border China.
Nearby Kaw Liu Village.
Pig farm guarded by angry dogs.
New development to house relocated villagers following highway construction.
|En route. Photo: Spring Workshop|
Self-build constructions/storage along the way.
Young introducing the making of the soundtrack "Liquid Borders" we are about to listen to.
Since early 2012, 740 hectares of land have been opened up for public access, and buildings have been constructed nearer the fence which runs along the Shenzhen River.
Bordering the fence while listening to the "Liquid Border" soundtrack.
Sound recording. Photo: Spring WorkshopQueen’s Pier in Edinburgh Place.
Queen's Pier was a public pier in central in front of the City Hall. For decades it served not only as a public pier but also as a major ceremonial arrival and departure point. The pier witnessed the official arrival in Hong Kong of all of Hong Kong's governors since 1925; Elizabeth II landed there in 1975, as did the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1989. On 26 April 2007, the pier officially ceased operation. The government’s plan to demolish the pier to make way for a new highway was met with fierce opposition by conservationists. Despite the public outcry, Queen's Pier was demolished in the February of 2008.
I was living in New York when all of this happened. In 2009 I composed and directed a music theatre work entitled “God Save the Queen.” The work started out as a requiem for the Queen’s Pier. It evolved into a hymn to the structures, both physical and symbolic, of my teenage days – which were also the last of the colony’s. The performance was accompanied by a mixture of live footage from five theatre-based CCTV cameras, and pre-recorded clips of screen icon Helena Law Lan (who often played royalty for TV), dressed as the Queen.
1956 City Hall building that connected with the now-demolished Queen's Pier in Edinburgh Place.
|Photo: Spring Workshop|
The lotus pond, University of Hong Kong
I was what you might call a “straight-down-the-center” composer to begin with. For over a decade I operated only in the concert in the capacity of a composer of the Western classical tradition. Now I do all kinds of weird things in all sorts of weird places. Chan Hing-yan, my mentor during my years at HKU, had a looming influence on me. I think a lot of what I do today is a reaction against what (I imagine that) I’d learnt during those formative years – a sort of a “creative misreading” as Harold Bloom would put it.
To end the tour Samson reads a passage of his dissertation about his approach to music composition and cultural politics.
Talking nearby the lotus pond at "Hong Kong U". Photo: Spring Workshop
Samson Young (1979) is a composer, sound artist and media artist. Young received training in computer music and composition at Princeton University under the supervision of computer music pioneer Paul Lansky. He is currently an assistant professor in sonic art and physical computing at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong. Young is also the principle investigator at the Laboratory for Ubiquitous Musical Expression (L.U.M.E), and artistic director of the experimental sound advocacy organization Contemporary Musiking.
In 2007, he became the first from Hong Kong to receive the Bloomberg Emerging Artist Award for his audio-visual project “The Happiest Hour”. His brainwave non-performance “I am thinking in a room, different from the one you are hearing in now” received a Jury Selection award at the Japan Media Art Festival, and an honorary mention at the digital music and sound art category of Prix Ars Electronica.
Festival presentations and honours include Prix Ars Electronica (Austria 2012); Japan Media Art Festival (Japan 2012); Sydney Springs International New Music Festival (Australia 2001), the Canberra International Music Festival (Australia 2008), ISCM World Music Days (Australia 2010), MONA FOMA Festival of Music and Art (2011); the Bowdoin International Music Festival (US 2004), Bang on a Can Music Summer Music Festival (US 2005), Perspectives International Festival of Media Art (US 2009); Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt (Germany 2006); Dark Music Days (Iceland 2008); Kuala Lumpur Contemporary Music Festival (Malaysia 2009); amongst others. His music received performances by Hong Kong Sinfonietta, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, London NASH Ensemble, City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, Bang on a Can and summer institute fellows, Network for New Music, New Millennium Ensemble, SO Percussion, Sydney Song Company, Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, MIVOS Quartet, among others.
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