Today, we bring you sound art, in our second guest-curated segment with Contemporary Musiking Hong Kong. CMHK is an incubator for cross-disciplinary practices in music, sound, and technology. In July 2018, composer and sound artist Samson Young introduced the first Hong Kong Mixtape, a set of nine sound art compositions. One year later, musician Him Cheung takes us back to the former British colony to share Hong Kong Mixtape II, five sonic responses to volatile current events.
Let’s set the stage with a few facts. In 1997, Britain handed Hong Kong back to China. Now run under a “one country, two systems” agreement that guarantees it a level of autonomy, Hong Kong has its own judiciary and a separate legal system from mainland China. Rights including freedom of assembly and freedom of speech are protected. Those freedoms – known as the Basic Law – expire in 2047.
Our first Hong Kong Mixtape took us to the heart of 2017 student-led pro-democracy demonstrations, when the famed mass protests of the 2014 Umbrella Movement returned to the streets. The city’s uncertain future has sparked years of political protests. In June 2019, thousands of Hong Kong’s citizens began to gather again, protesting against a proposed law to allow extradition to mainland China. Critics feared this could undermine the city’s judicial independence and endanger dissidents. Clashes between police and activists became increasingly violent, with police using tear gas and protesters storming parliament. The bill was withdrawn in September 2019. Demonstrations continue.
In this mixtape, we share excerpts from five sound encounters by artists based in Hong Kong. The first sound work expresses feelings of anxiety and hopelessness that persist with regard to the 1997 handover to Mainland China. The following three field recording projects bear witness to months of escalating demonstrations this year—from mass marches in the streets, to the declarations of individual protesters, to Hong Kong residents’ nightly ritual of shouting slogans from the windows of their homes. The final segment conveys a desire to leave all the unrest behind—taking us on a supernatural sound walk to a temple in the woods.
Fresh Art International joins U.S. based Montez Press Radio and Co-op Radio Vancouver to present Hong Kong Mixtape II.
Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Guest Producer: Him Cheung | Photography courtesy Contemporary Musiking Hong Kong
Featured sound works, in order of appearance: So Ho Chi, Take 2 (ver. 2) | Jantzen Tse, So Ho Chi | RC Team, Voices of Hong Kong “Rioters” | Alex Yu, 10pm shouting _Free Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time_ Beverly Garden, Tseung Kwan O 2-9-2019 | Alex Yu, Temple
Fresh Art International
Beginning with research, networking, and field recordings, independent curator Cathy Byrd works with a team of creatives to script, direct, produce, publish, and promote a range of perspectives on contemporary art. Fresh Art International models the fresh thinking and positivity essential to building a sustainable professional practice in the field. With her supporters, Byrd has effectively invented a vital new art media platform that offers a globally-informed assessment and a virtual archive of contemporary art and culture.
For more than 20 years, Byrd has engaged in extensive field work, traveling across the U.S., and to Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal and Turkey. To capture the voices you hear in our Fresh Art International podcast series, she records in-person, via Skype and by mobile phone. Fresh Art International features the voices of Claire Tancons, Tania Bruguera, Theaster Gates, Joan Jonas, Jason Moran, Franklin Sirmans, Marinella Senatore, Cesar Cornejo, Antoni Muntadas, Janet Biggs, Valerie Cassel Oliver, Trenton Doyle Hancock, William Pope.L, and many more. Select sounds and photographs illustrate Fresh News and Fresh VUE features on Miami Art Week, São Paulo Biennial, dOCUMENTA, Venice Art Biennial, Istanbul Biennial, Lyon Biennial, SXSW, ARCO Madrid, Armory Arts Week, Frieze New York, Cartagena Biennial, Havana Biennial, and Prospect New Orleans, among other international exhibitions and events.
Notably, each Fresh Art International podcast episode features an introductory text, photo feature and signature sound. All are archived on multiple platforms, and the full series is downloadable for free on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Android, Google Music Play, and Public Radio Exchange, where we make our podcast available for public radio broadcast.
Our Global Initiative
Since the launch of this platform, our reach has spanned the U.S., including residencies on Miami Beach, in Baltimore, Newcastle, Austin, Brooklyn, Chicago, and New Orleans. In Europe, we’ve set up shop in Barcelona, Amsterdam, and Berlin. Engaged with the diverse character of creative practitioners globally, we’ve recorded conversations with visual, performance and sound artists, curators, architects, and filmmakers, among other culture makers. We’ve toured exhibitions and art fairs, attended performances, experienced public art and explored architecture. We’ve captured field recordings worldwide in cities and remote sites including São Paulo, Brazil; New York City; Lubbock; Roswell, NM; Marfa; Baltimore; Washington, DC; Madrid; Lisbon; Istanbul; Bergen (Norway); The Hague; Frankfurt, Brooklyn; Providence, Rhode Island; New Orleans; Chicago; Atlanta; Austin, Texas; and Key West, Florida.