Sonic Anchor #24 Interfacing dynamics
Sep 29, 2015 8 PM-9 PM
Hong Kong Arts Centre
Hsin-jen Wang (Taiwan)
Andio Lai (Hong Kong)
The 24th edition of Sonic Anchor brings you a double-bill that blurs the division between instrument-builder and instrument-player. We feature two artists for whom the tools and the crafts are one.
Taiwanese multimedia artist and interactive designer Hsin-jen Wang (Aluan) create an interactive system that allows bi-directional mapping of aural and visual parameters. His composition ‘Dynamized Center’ depicts light-like structure radiating from the center that synchronises with sound. Home-grown sound artists and instrument-builder Andio Lai will show off his inventions. In a new composition ‘Alter again’ Andio will perform with his toy-inspired DIY instruments, generating with them a multilayered and playful soundscape of harsh and constantly modulating signals.
(中文版請往下看 Please scroll down to read the Chinese version.)
Sonic Anchor #24 Review– Interfacing Dynamics
The programme of the 24th edition of Sonic Anchor presented two artists that were both instrument-inventors and instrument-players. The first part of the programme featured Hong Kong born and raised sound artist and instrument-builder Andio Lai, who played his new composition “Alter Again” with his toy-inspired instruments. In the second part, Taiwanese multimedia artist and interactive designer Hsin-jen Wang (Aluan) played his computer-generated composition Dynamized Center, in which light-like images are created and synchronised with sound. Wang’s performance at Sonic Anchor is the continuation of his participation in the exchange programme co-presented by Contemporary Musiking, Hong Kong, and Lacking Sound Festival, Taiwan.
When the audience entered the McAulay Studio of the Hong Kong Arts Centre, on stage was a meticulously organised jumble of electric wires and objects. Among those objects one could see a guitar lying down and identify several plastic toys including a dinosaur and a Buzz Lightyear figurine. At the centre of this display and standing behind a long working table, Andio Lai had his eyes glued to his intriguing installation. He did not look up at the audience once during the whole performance. He was absorbed. He first grabbed an object that looked like an octopus made of Lego bricks and approached the plastic dinosaur. The development of the sound suggested he was taming the prehistoric creature.
Moving from one toy-instrument to another, Lai created a soundscape that was an uninterrupted suite of modulating signals, noises, and sounds, including insistent crackles, robotic bells, a brief melody reminding traditional Indian music, Buzz Lightyear’s voice, strident whines, and the harsh noise of a plane taking off. The well-calculated moments of respite and the unexpected transitions from one sound to another kept the audience surprised and engaged all along the multi-layered and playful piece.
The Hong Kong sound artist is interested in “hacking” ready-made toys and objects, as if he is giving the audience access to some hidden and forbidden dimension of the objects. It is tempting to imagine Andio the DIY-magician building improbable objects all night long in his garage.
While the artist takes his research very seriously and keeps pushing his inventions further and further, he does not take himself seriously. There is a great deal of humour and irony in his work and performing style.
After the intermission, the look and feel of McAulay Studio was radically different. Sitting in the dark, with his face just illuminated by the glare of his computer screen, Hsin-jen Wang started playing his composition: he was creating digital images projected on a large screen behind him, which were paired with rhythmic electronic sounds.
Interested in the possibilities of interrelating sounds and images, the Taiwanese artist designed a software to allow a bi-directional mapping of sound and visual parameters.
The visuals started with a ball growing from the centre of the screen, evolving into shapes evoking space, firings, explosions, or 3-D simulations of cells, including geometric data and measurements. The dancing lines, curves, and shapes developed in a movement seemingly oscillating between infinitesimal and infinitely great scales. Wang was building digital creatures and pushing them to the extreme until they burst.
Interestingly, Hsin-jen Wang explained during the post-performance Q&A session that he was primarily preoccupied with the creation of images. The interactive system he designed subordinates the sound to the images. The loud and repetitive sounds produced in his composition are at times entrancing, yet at some points they approach the limits of endurability. It resulted in a strongly immersive experience, violent and choreographic.
Both performances involved elements of physical participation from the audience: Andio Lai invited members of the audience to join him on stage at the end of his performance, and play with his toys. Making an apropos transition with his own imminent performance, Wang himself joined the group and played the Buzz Lightyear toy-instrument. Then during his performance, Wang asked the audience to go down to the stage and sit on the floor in order to feel the vibrations of the subwoofer in their bodies. Therefore the images he was creating with his programme were both generating sounds and pulsations.
Wang was sitting between the projector and the screen so that a section of the image was formed on his own body. Like Lai in the first part of the programme, Wang was in his own way absorbed into the performance.
Because they are “players” as much as they are “performers”, both Andio Lai and Hsin-jen Wang played a game in which this particular moment became their reality, and their art a recreation.
Text: Amandine Hervey
Born in France and based in Asia since 2002, Amandine Hervey is a curator and the founder of the art space “Mur Nomade” in Hong Kong.
聲音下寨 #24 後感– 身聲控動
演出的兩位藝術家均是樂器發明家，亦是演奏者。第一部份由本地藝術家及樂器發明家Andio Lai利用他的玩具樂器演出新作《Alter Again》。第二部份由台灣多媒體藝術家和互助設計師王新仁 （阿亂）擔綱，他的電腦運算作品《Dynamized Center》由光般的影像同步引發預設聲音。阿亂的作品是早前在現在音樂「聲音傳輸藝術家交流計劃」及台北失聲祭演出的延續。