= Reflection 感想 =
This year’s mentorship programme was themed around “writing sound”. This doesn’t only mean how to describe sound with figures of speech, it also points to the question of how to “record” sound using visual elements, like words, symbols, images, or graffiti. I asked myself, “If all our digital recording devices no longer worked, could we use visual elements to record sound?”
Expecting that “recording” sounds with visual elements would be a very difficult task, I wondered how I could or should do so objectively, rationally, and scientifically. Our mentor Catherine Clover was interested in the notion of “post-human” and “inter-species communication”. Her notebook was filled with the sounds of different birds, like “Karrrr” or “KkkaaarrrrRRRrrr” for a crow. Catherine’s creative subject left me wondering: Was she writing sound? Was it scientific? Recording sounds with pen and paper implied that you should be able to replay the recorded sound when you read them again later. But what if you could not? Would it still count as a record?
ArtisTree’s March exhibition Notating Beauty That Moves became a frequently discussed topic in our workshop. After having seen the exhibition, my first thought was that it was, “a random sketch that claimed an association with sound but sounded too random, too forced”; my second thought was that, “even a traditional score, written with the conventional system in mind, could not fully ‘record’ objectively or present the sound the composer had in his/her mind.” Many things like body posture, or the expression of the musician during the performance escaped from being “recorded”.
This “writing sound” topic suddenly turned into something more than the connection between the visual and the audible. The body plays a very significant role when the two senses connect. Is “writing sound” something personal, or does it require a certain level of scientism or objectivity? Technology may be able to record things as they are, but not without blind spots.
When you record all the sounds of your daily life and listen to the recording afterwards, you cannot recall a lot of the mental pictures. Would it be possible that recording has always been as ambiguous as memory? What problems arise if we remember some and forget others when we try to recall them? Writing them down, looking at them later, understanding some, being confused by others – this may sound more fun.
Our one-week trip to Kuala Lumpur (KL) was of course too short to fully understand the arts and cultural scene in the city. That said, I am very grateful for soundpocket’s organization of this trip. We had the opportunity to get to know some very interesting people and art institutions. During our conversations, Tey Beng Tze, founder of RAW Art Space, shared some information on KL’s arts scene and education. We then visited Wong Xiang Yi who, despite not being a sound artist, introduced us to the life of an artist in KL. Zhongshan building hosts a group of rather down-to-earth culture enthusiasts dedicated to D.I.Y. activities. I was most impressed by how their career in the arts and culture industry could exist in a state of disorientation, in a realm of ambiguity, where they were free from the pressures of productivity. Of course, it wouldn’t have been possible without cheap rent. Maybe I am romanticizing what we saw over the 7-day trip, but I have been yearning for such an agenda-less, ambitionless creative attitude.
Upon our return to Hong Kong, we started conceiving a public workshop where we summarized and shared our thoughts on the topic of “writing sound”, and our takeaways from the KL trip. My major concern was: could we learn from KL’s “unproductive” attitude, and allow room for the public workshop to take shape organically during our conception? I truly hoped that all our participants could benefit from it in one way or another!
Overall, the programme was a rather rewarding one. What a pity our mentor Chan Sai-lok only began to share more of his ideas and experience after we returned to Hong Kong. His background in writing provided a very relevant perspective to the topic of “writing sound”. I learnt a lot from his sharing. It would have been more stimulating if Sai-lok could have been brought in earlier, like at the early- or middle-stage of the programme, to complement Catherine’s creative ideas. I want to say thank you to our two mentors for their input and preparation!
Lastly, thank you very much for inviting me to this year’s Mentorship Programme. Special thanks to Alice, Mandy, and Vanessa for their efforts in planning our activities and itineraries. Thank you to all the other mentees for opening up and sharing their wonderful ideas. I hope that ADC will keep funding this programme.
今屆拜師學藝嘅主題係「writing sound（書寫聲音）」，指嘅唔（單只）係點樣用文學修辭去描繪同形容聲音，「writing sound」更指如何用文字，符號，圖像，塗鴉等等視覺元素去「記錄」聲音。我問自己一個問題，「如果有一日所有能夠錄音嘅數碼產品都絕種，人類能唔能夠以視覺元素去記錄聲音？」我覺得要用視覺元素去「記錄」聲音係一件好困難嘅事。我一路苦惱嘅就係點樣可以，或者話「應該」點樣客觀、理性、科學地用視覺元素「記錄」聲音。導師Catherine Clover感興趣嘅係「post-human（後人類）」同埋「inter-species communication（跨物種溝通）」。喺佢嘅筆記簿入面記錄左不同雀鳥嘅聲音，例如烏鴉嘅聲音會化身成「Karrrr」或者「KkkaaarrrrRRRrrr」等等。Catherine嘅創作題材令我入左一個迷思，心裡面只係諗究竟呢種做法算唔算「writing sound」？同埋科唔科學？用紙同筆嚟記錄聲音，意味住將來睇番嘅時侯會聽得到「記錄」左嘅聲音，如果聽唔番咁仲算唔算「記錄」左呢？之後三月份ArtisTree嘅「Notating Beauty That Moves」當然成為左我地workshop（工作坊）一個非常關注嘅話題。我睇完呢個展覽心諗，第一「你是但畫幅野又話佢係同聲音有關咁即係好隨便任你噏」，但係第二「連傳統嘅樂譜，喺一個咁有system（系統）嘅情況底下，其實都唔能夠完全如實客觀噉『記錄』，或者表達作曲家內心所聽到嘅聲音」。仲有好多野係關乎聲音，但係唔能夠被「記錄」落嚟，例如音樂家演奏時嘅身體動作及表情等等。
呢個「writing sound」嘅題目突然變成多過只係視覺同聽覺之間嘅聯繫，因為關連到兩種觀感接連嘅時侯，身體就扮演一個非常重要嘅角色。究竟「writing sound」係一件個人嘅事，定係需要某程度嘅科學性或「objectivity（客觀性）」？用科技如實記錄低嘅東西，其實都有盲點。嘗試錄低自己日常生活所聽到嘅所有聲音，之後聽番其實都失去左好多畫面。會唔會係，記錄從來只不過係好似記憶咁模糊？當我地回憶嘅時候，記得少少，唔記得少少有咩問題？寫低左嘅野，將來睇番，睇得明少少，睇唔明，可能仲有趣。
講一講去吉隆坡呢個trip。短短一個星期嘅旅程當然唔足夠了解KL（吉隆坡）嘅藝術文化圈。但係非常多謝soundpocket嘅安排，我地都有機會認識到一啲好有趣嘅人物同藝術機構。Tey Beng Tze係RAW Art Space嘅創辦人，同佢交談之間得知左KL嘅藝術圈同埋藝術教育嘅少少資訊。之後亦都去左探訪黃向藝，雖然佢唔係聲音藝術家但係同佢交談亦都能夠了解到係KL做藝術家係點嘅一回事。其餘嘅就係Zhongshan building裡面一班好地茂嘅文化人，非常DIY（自助的）。去完吉隆坡最大嘅感覺係，佢地嘅藝術文化事業可以處於一種漫無目的，由得啲野係一種「混沌」裡面自我發揮嘅「無爲」精神。當然你啲租要夠平先做到啦。我亦唔知我咁樣算唔算係浪漫化短短7日所睇到嘅丁點。但係我確實好嚮往呢種無乜機心，無乜「大志」嘅創作心態。
之後番到香港，我地一班藝術家就開始構思一個public workshop（公眾工作坊），去總結同分享我地就「writing sound」呢個題目嘅諗法，同埋KL trip（吉隆坡之旅）吸收到嘅點點滴滴。我自己有個反思：我地構思public workshop嘅時侯有無承襲到吉隆坡嗰種「無爲」嘅做事態度，比件事好「organic（有機的）」咁生出嚟呢？好希望有份嚟參加嘅朋友都有所得著！