(2022) FRAGILE GLIM “SEEING SOUND. HEARING TIME.”
Working with the artist and architect Andrea Shin Ling, the 43rd edition of the Rhubarb Festival centers on the concepts of decay and biology as a media for cultural expression. From February 9-13, the Buddies in Bad Times Theatre will be transformed into a large scale art installation.
FRAGILE GLIM is a sound installation concert project that uses a degenerative Yamaha upright piano tampered by nature to examine impermanence and imperfection as tangible forms of musical expression. By undergoing many months of decay, the piano becomes an instrument divorced from human intervention which allows for temporal and restorative interplays in sound. Oftentimes, when a piano is not tuned to equal temperament, one often describes this phenomenon as “falling out of tune.” However, one does not realize that nature is in fact reclaiming the instrument back to its original and unadorned state. The degenerative piano pushes against the preconceived notions that an instrument must be governed by anthropocentric ideals to be deemed “beautiful.”
Drawing on my creative practice as a concert pianist, intermedia poet, and sound artist, FRAGILE GLIM seeks the unification of multiple artistic mediums. The degenerative piano will improvise over a pre-recorded soundscape comprising of field recordings extracted directly from the instrument. The concert will also feature improvisation on found objects such as stones, wood chips, and sand which are amplified with microphones placed on stage. In collaboration with the Toronto author Alvin Wong, FRAGILE GLIM will include an additional literary component. An epic poem written by Wong will be read and interspersed throughout the concert. The poem will function as narratives for audiences to reflect on how degeneration can be viewed as concrete and speculative prompts in our ever-changing environments.
FRAGILE GLIM will debut at the 40th Rhubarb Festival from February 9-13th 2022.
(2021—) THE YUHA ARCHIVE: SONICFOLIO SCORES. INTERMEDIA IN SOUND
An artist is plunderphonics. Living in the surreal but grasping the environment by the neck to what exists. Idealistically, I am an artist standing between the intersections of music, sound, and poetry. My life as a concert pianist revolves around the values of structure, consistency, and discipline. In contrast, my life as an intermedia poet and sound artist is centered around freedom, spontaneity, and experimentation. At present, all three mediums inform the person that I am today; a human being guided by curiosity, and a person never satisfied with the status quo. The unbounding curiosity that goes hand in hand between discipline vs freedom, structure vs experimentation, and consistency vs spontaneity imbues my creative personality with a temperament that is readily in flux and open to change.
I started The Yuha Archive as an ongoing collaborative soundscape project that documents the stripping of gestures, radical experimentation, and conceptual co-existence of multiple creative mediums; to investigate the movement of an idea of one form, continuing, and morphing into a newly changed form. Through immersing all senses and mediums, change through sonic expression can imitate reality, and bring forth an onward, holistic, and adaptable discernment of different realities beyond imperative gesture. The word Yuha -. 夢 means “dream”. 羽 means “wing.”
Most recently, the documentation of soundscapes as metaphysical and physical objects has interested me; soundscape as an archeological function beyond the physical and acousmatic conditions of a given space and location. Should two people decide to open the box and pick out the nuances of a soundscape, no two individuals can fully deliver their thoughts and sentiments synchronously. Likewise, the paradox additionally lies in questioning where a soundscape paints its canvas with. Perhaps, one can speak of soundscapes as what scientists call the state of qualia: “the internal and subjective component of sense perceptions, arising from stimulation of the senses by phenomena.”
A number of questions arise when speaking of soundscapes as objects. 1) Does one construct a soundscape with time, or without time? 2) Just as humans invented numbers, time is also congruous to social invention. Should soundscape alternatively, then, simply be a translation of nature divorced from logic and time- thus asynchronous ramifications? 3) Do plants and animals, and non-anthropocentric happenstances experience sound in the same way intervals and duration are experienced by humans? 4) Is there then, more than one way in intonating sound through affect/agency devoid of gestural fine-tuning? These are the many sentiments and questions that I wish to explore further in my endeavors as a fluxing artist. As a fluxing artist, the theoretical position through which a listener can approach the specificities of affective relations in objects is what defines my love for sound as a teleologically integral medium.
In SONICFOLIO SCORES, my journey to answer the proposed questions will be explored in the form of soundscapes and visual-sonic scores in collaboration with the Belgian sound artist, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Alain Lefebvre. These documentations will be archived on The Yuha Archive and will be updated on a monthly basis on the The Operating System’s Field Notes Series over the span of a year. As part of contributing to an active dialogue in my shared creative process with Alain, the monthly OS Field Notes Series will be accompanied with interviews explaining the methodologies in composing our respective sonic works. Over the course of 12 months, 12 soundscapes and sonicscores will be realized.
SONICFOLIO’s everchanging ecosystem, in its growth, and evolution throughout the year’s ongoing series, will find its eventual outcome in the form of a physical score publication, a USB component, and graphic novel edition; resulting in an intervallic archival intonating as a simultaneous instructional timestamp, an other-referential underlying architecture tailored towards possibility-driven installations within the myriad performance disciplinary spectrums, and sonic geographies governing multi-modal expression.
To stay up to date on the SONICSCORE Series: https://medium.com/the-operating-system/tagged/field-notes
About The Operating System & Liminal Lab: https://www.facebook.com/thisistheoperatingsystem/
(2020—) OUTSIDE THE BOX: WABI-SABI BEHIND THE SCENES IN SAKAMOTO’S ASYNC
Wabi-sabi (侘寂) is a Japanese aesthetic for the appreciation of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. Combine wabi-sabi with the Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and what results are refreshing and ontological perspectives reflected in his music. With a career spanning five decades, Sakamoto’s creative philosophy: “to deconstruct the past, and to embrace the present in order to lead music towards the greater scope of the future,” is defined through his role as a musicologist, pianist, film scorer, electronic artist, sound artist and environmental activist.
Such ontological perspectives are particularly illuminated in his recent album Async composed in 2017. Conceived after a year-long battle with cancer, Async employs innovative compositional processes to convey imperfection and impermanence as tangible forms of musical expression. From field recordings, poetry readings to electro-acoustic embellishments, Async’s compositional inquiries additionally investigate metaphysical and philosophical domains from which the wabi-sabi aesthetic finds ample congruencies towards. These domains are illuminated further through three integral characteristics that wabi-sabi nuances: 1) Over the millennium, wabi-sabi solicits an intimate dynamic between two forces: artist and nature. 2) Wabi-sabi focuses on the individual’s sensory expansions to redefine beauty, in contrast to demanding for beauty. 3) Deriving from Zen Buddhist roots, Wabi-sabi endeavors expression and meaning through the spiritual notion of emptiness(間).
This research project will embrace multidisciplinary approaches to facilitate an in-depth understanding of wabi-sabi’s relationship with Ryuichi Sakamoto creative process of Async. Presently, I am in touch with the Canadian Japan Cultural Centre to propose a one-year partnership project where my research will be showcased as public workshops, podcasts, art installations, and collaborative performances. An extensive survey of literature, proposed fieldwork in Japan will further provide additional insights on wabi-sabi’s connection with today’s culture, the performing arts, architecture, and music. A survey into Sakamoto’s extensively documented interviews, collaborative projects, performances, and radio broadcasts will additionally broaden my understanding of Sakamoto’s creative approach.