LAWRENCE C.y. choi, linda c.h. lai

Who is Singing? - Donald, can you hear me? - Lawrence C.Y. CHOI, Linda C.H. LAI

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Who is Singing? – Donald, can you hear me?

In the summer of 2005, when this work was first conceived, Donald Tsang was acting SAR Chief in place of Tung Chee-hwa. Opinion on whether he would do better than Tung was split. But for sure cleansing the SAR of her negative energies developed under Tung’s rule was a major burden on Tsang. I had already been a bit pessimistic, not sure whether Donald the SAR Chief could remain the same Donald. (The events of the past two years have spoken for us…) My intuitive response was to deploy the chant form – half-speaking and half-singing mode still in use in Anglican and Catholic services.

I grew up to like Medieval religious sounds, and chants for me retain that charm. Chants soothe, pacify, and calm one’s mind. That is precisely why, too, that chants are to me disquieting: for whatever words are inserted, a chant tames its content, moderates pulsating emotions, and in the end becomes the sure tool of conformity to authority. I wanted, in my “singing machine,” the subversion of the chant form: strict formal tailoring or fitting would turn words, originally loaded with meanings, into gibberish and non-sense. Somehow, I felt that views expressed to the government were often received like foreign tongues.

One and half years have gone by. Donald Tsang’s de-localizing initiatives are more than ever at odds with the growing awareness to affirm the core and complexity of a local culture of Hong Kong. The defense of the Star Ferry clock-tower opens up more profound issues on civil government and micro-level practices of democracy than just heritage conservation. How do I situate my “subversive chants” in the context of the latest events?

In this exhibition, Who is Singing?...Donald, can you hear me? consists of two parts, a sculpture-like installation for sound work, and a set of computer for interface, whereby visitors can sit down to review recent discussions of the Star Ferry events and to leave a message to Donald Tsang, be it warning, criticism, advice, plea, sharing, recommendation, command and so on.

INPUT: Writing: input text / leave a message
Visitors will supply text by using the pre-set opening in the following (in imperative form):
[English version] “Donald Tsang, please…” OR “Donald Tsang, please don’t…”
There is no restriction on how to punctuate a sentence. But the total number of words input should not exceed 30. Visitors can input as many entries as they like.
After writing, users need to press a button to submit his/her request…The chant will be played on the spot shortly.

PROCESSING: Sonification / Someone’s singing!
The “machine” will complete the following tasks:
(1) to translate text into audible speech;
(2) to count the number of words and syllables; and
(3) to vary the pitch and duration (length) of each syllable or word according to pre-set chants forms.

Criteria of sonification:
The text sonification process adapts from existing verbalization packages on the Mac. For programming the algorithm, MAX/MSP is used.

Samples of musical text to use:
[Source: Chinese Christian Literature Council, Hymns of Universal Praise (English ed., 1981)]
(1)

(2)

(text by Linda Lai)

《誰在唱歌?…曾特首,你聽見我嗎?》

2005年夏天構思這作品的時候曾蔭權剛替任香港行政特區特首一職。記得當時輿論對他的信任與質疑參半,較確切記得的,是港人一般對董建華時期的怨憤猶有餘悸。我的心中一片納悶,總覺當了特首的曾蔭權不可能再是從前的曾蔭權,於是想起從前在宗教禮儀中的吟誦…。

吟誦是似唱歌的念唱,或是吟唱般的說話,由於音律的波動微和,聽上去叫人怒氣平息,驟然間謙柔起來。也正因這些特色,我覺得吟誦的本身與變革、批判、顛覆是對立的。吟誦指涉的是向權威的確認。於是我想到如何把帶崇敬意味的吟誦變為亂音,表達我心中對民意難傳達至政府高官的憤懣。

時至今天,保護天星行動掀起民間廣泛的對本土文化政治的反思,曾蔭權的「去本土」大計成為自覺於本土文化的進步社會文化力量相對立。(見朱凱迪2006年12月26日《獨立媒體》的「本土行動 匯聚皇后今晚開始!」)我突然覺得這個一年半前開始的作品有點趕不上。

此時此地,於這個展覽中,它或許是一種諷刺,或許是另一種招引人注意的景觀。無論如何,亂音亂語的呼叫是我們的「念唱機器」從理性的陳詞所衍化的;能停下腳步來的訪者,可以靜心的讀一讀港人對曾特首的進言或者呐喊。

這個作品需要關心香港的觀眾來參與,寫下你對我們的政府的要求、勸諭。

製作概念∶
作品由兩部分組成 – 一個會發聲的裝置,和可供到訪者輸入文字的電腦介面。
輸入的文字(英語或中文)依據以下的句式起頭∶
“曾特首,請…” 或 “曾特首,請不要…”
字數在30字以下,分句無特別限制。
預先編好的程式,會依照輸入法所按過的鍵「翻譯」為音節,再調配至預先選定的吟唱曲的定調音高以及音長,即時播放。訪者亦可於電腦屏幕上讀到所有訪者的留言,也可以選播之前訪者留言化成的亂音呼叫。

(黎肖嫻)

 

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Lawrence C.Y. CHOI: Graduated in 2005 from the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong, with a BA (Hons) in Creative Media (majoring in digital video and interactive installation), Lawrence is now Multimedia Designer at “don’t believe in style”. Recently, he has participated in the video design for “Princess Chang Ping “, “Faust auf dem Klosett”, “L'empereur du Chant”, “Joey Yung, Jue Yao, Moravian Philharmonic Concert”, “1587 a Year of No Significance”, “HKPO vs Anthony Wong Live” and “Pong Nan in Concert: the Individualism Experience”.

蔡智揚: 2005年畢業於香港城市大學創意媒體學院,主修數碼錄像和互動裝置。現於 “don’t believe in style” 任多媒體設計師。曾為「帝女花」、「廁客浮士德」、「萬世歌王」、「容祖兒 ﹣姚王玉 ﹣莫拉維亞交響樂團音樂會」、「萬曆十五年 」、「港樂 VS 黃耀明 ﹣電幻狂想曲」及「藍奕邦獨立思考音樂會」創作錄像。

Linda C.H. LAI is an inter-disciplinary artist, writer and curator for contemporary media art. She is Her digital work first appeared at the Hong Kong Art Biennial 2003. Her various experimental video works, I Told Them My Camera Was On (2004), Door Game (2005) and Trespassing World Cities (2005), have been shown at the 51st International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany, the Berlin-Paris Rencontre 2005, the Barcelona Alternative Film Festival 2005, the Women Make Waves Film Festival 2006 in Taipei, and Hong Kong Arts Centre (2005). Her photo-text dialogues with Theresa Mikuriya resulted in Crypto-glyph: Dialogues in Many Tongues in the Hidden Crevices of an Open City (2004), which documents their 8-round play with the two media. She has curated numerous research-based media art exhibitions such as “Take a ST/Roll” (2005), “Micro-Narratives: Invented Time and Space” (2006) and “[Re-]Fabrication” (2006). New media works include “the Writing Machine Collective” (2004), and I See Where You Are in Central (Microwave International Media Art Festival 2005). She is also a member of the Board of Directors for Para/Site Art Space, Hong Kong, and has edited the book A Matter of Ownership: an exchange between Para/Site Art Space and The Substation (December 2005). Linda is a Ph.D. in Cinema Studies (NYU), currently Assistant Professor at the City University of Hong Kong’s School of Creative Media since 1998, also Studio Leader for the School’s Critical Intermedia Laboratory. Her scholarly and creative research includes cultural studies, film theory/history, historiography and narrative experimentation.

黎肖嫻為跨學科的藝術創作者。紐約大學電影研究哲學博士,現為香港城市大學創意媒體學院全職助理教授,主理院內的跨媒體批判實驗室;專注於數碼藝術、錄像、文化研究、文化史學方法、電影史及理論。曾策展多個以研究為基礎的藝術計劃和媒體藝術放映系列,曾任三屆的香港獨立短片及錄像比賽和2003年香港國際電影節「國際影評人聯盟獎」大獎的評審。由她構思、與陳超敏合著的攝影與文字對話的專書《象文· 文象:大街上兩張嘴巴在絮絮叨叨兩雙眼睛在找月光光》於2004初出版。同樣與陳超敏合作的《推∶探索嗓音、搜尋身體》(數碼互動裝置作品)曾獲選香港藝術雙年展(2003年)參展作品。實驗性紀錄片《六度分離、準備好未?》以參賽作品資格於德國Oberhausen第51屆國際短片節(2005年)作世界首映,亦於巴黎和巴薩隆拿的媒體藝術和另類電影節放映。實驗性錄像作品《搖擺過路人》(2005)及《戲門》(2005)曾於香港及臺北的錄像節目和影展中發表。新媒體創作包括《文字機器創作集》(2004)、第二集(2007年1月),以及《咁・點・去》(微波國際媒體藝術節2005)。現為Para/Site 藝術空間的執行董事成員之一,曾為藝術空間編輯《我城我城∶重塑空間,演說歷史,Para/Site(香港)與電力站(新加坡)藝術空間的雙向交流對話》(2005年12月出版)及《又,物聚∶蔡仞姿跨界創作煉歷的三十年》(2006年12月)。



 

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