Online Archive: Sonic Anchor #24 Interfacing dynamics

August 26, 2015

Sonic Anchor #24 Interfacing dynamics
Sep 29, 2015 8 PM-9 PM
McAulay Studio
Hong Kong Arts Centre

Artists

Hsin-jen Wang (Taiwan)
Andio Lai (Hong Kong)

Program

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.

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Sonic Anchor #24 Interfacing dynamics


(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。

當觀眾踏進麥高利小劇場,第一眼看到的是在舞台上一束束井井有條的電線和物件,再看便是平放在桌上的結他和一些塑膠玩具如恐龍和電影卡通人物巴斯光年。Andio站在這張長桌後面的中央,入神地盯著他的裝置。整個表演過程沒有抬頭看過觀眾一眼,完全融入演出當中。他抓住了一個看上去像樂高積木砌成的章魚,走向在另一端的塑膠恐龍,隔空產生出來的聲音暗示他正在馴服這隻史前生物。

其他玩具逐一加入「演奏」行列,Andio建立的音景是由嘈音、調變聲音、持續的劈啪聲、飛機升降的噪音、巴斯光年的言語、電子鈴聲等組成,偶然還聽出一段印度傳統音樂旋律。每種聲音的出現都經過精心計算,當中又不乏意想不到的過渡,是一件多層次、俏皮的作品。

這位香港聲音藝術家喜歡「入侵」現成玩具和物品作為發聲體,發掘各個自製發聲體的可能性並呈現觀眾眼前。我禁不住想像Andio化身DIY魔術師整夜在車房裡組裝這些難以想像的樂器。雖然這位藝術家十分認真及重視他的研究,不斷把發明品演變,但他本人是非常隨和,表演風格輕鬆幽默卻不乏諷刺。

中場休息後,劇場的氛圍與裝置截然不同。坐在黑暗中,觀眾只能憑電腦屏幕的眩光看到阿亂的面龐。影像投射在大屏幕,富節奏感的電子音樂演奏隨即展開。這位台灣藝術家擅長發掘聲音和影像連結的可能性,他設計了一個程式讓聲音和視覺參數雙向對照而產生相應畫面和音效。

影像開始時是一個球體在畫面的中心慢慢變大,後來變成其他形狀擴散至不同空間,模擬細胞分裂和爆破。彈動的直線、弧線和形狀不斷發展,游走於微小與浩大之間。阿亂慣於把這些數碼生物組織推到極致,直至終結。

在演出後的問答環節,阿亂說他的演出以影像主導,設計的交互系統以影像先行,聲量很大而音階重複,時而令人著迷,時而彷彿挑戰觀眾的聽覺極限,營造了一個強烈的臨境體驗,有點暴力卻感覺優雅。

兩位藝術家的演出都包涵觀眾參與的元素: Andio在演出後段邀請觀眾加入演奏他的玩具,阿亂也參與其中,把玩著巴斯光年,為他容後的演出作個恰當的轉接。到阿亂的部份,他建議觀眾坐在台前地上,用身體感受超低音的振動。然而,他的作品不只透過聲音,還透過影像製造脈動。

阿亂坐在投影和電腦中間,所以一部份投影也投射在他身上,讓自己融入作品之中。兩位藝術家寓玩樂於表演的風格,恍如遊戲的瞬間成為現實,藝術創作也就成為娛樂。

文:阿芒・迪娜赫維
生於法國,自2002年居住亞洲,阿芒迪娜赫維是策展人及香港一藝術空間Mur Nomade的創始人。

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