Interview 採訪：Law Yuk-mui/ 羅玉梅, Liza Chan/ 陳曉盈
Editing 編輯、整理：Law Yuk-mui/ 羅玉梅
English Translation 英譯 : Daniel Ho Sze-hin/ 何思衍
Transcription 謄錄: Janie Chan Tsang/ 陳錚
Hong Kong/ 香港
Fiona Lee Wing-shan works on sound performance and interactive installation. Recently, she has been focusing on the integration of natural materials and daily objects with new technology, in order to explore the possibilities of personal expression.
“That day with the tear gas, I remember there was a clip online, with a few seconds of birds chirping. Then tear gas was fired. That contrast of sudden transformation was really intense for me, from comfortably quiet to the sudden sound of ‘piiiiuuu’.”
The Library: How long ago was it when you first used sound to intervene in a social movement?
Lee Wing-shan: The first time that I consciously remember must have been when the Star Ferry pier was being demolished. It was the first time I felt the police was incredibly rude. On site was a police officer about the age of the former Commissioner of Police, Andy Tsang Wai-Hung! He came over and cursed at one of the girls among us: “If you were my daughter, I would have raped you a long time ago.” We were furious, but we only had a recorder. We went forward and kept playing the chime of the Star Ferry on the recorder. They continued swearing, and we kept on going all the way. Maybe they were afraid. They retreated all the way back to the City Hall and then left.
The Chime of Star Ferry
Played by Fiona Lee
The Library: You all kept on playing the chime of the Star Ferry? You didn’t say anything?
That’s right! We just played, without saying anything. Actually, this wasn’t really beating back the police. Maybe we were just furious at the time and couldn’t think of any way to resist.
The Library: At the “Anti-Northeast New Territories Development Plan” protests, you borrowed, from The Library, recordings of the 24 Solar Terms which Kwong Wing-ka collected in the Northeastern part of the New Territories of Hong Kong. I remember you carrying a speaker about the size of the palm and playing these sounds while walking in the midst of the assembly.
Lee Wing-shan: There are lots of sounds in the Northeast, like human sounds, animal sounds, or sounds from the farmland or the countryside. It’s an environment with a pluralistic ecology, a place where many creatures co-exist. I really hope once again to bring back the sounds of the area and remind others that not only humans are fighting; there are lots of sounds of other creatures.
The Library: After the “Anti-Northeast New Territories Development Plan” protests, it was the Umbrella Movement.
Lee Wing-shan: I didn’t really want to record, actually. There were about five tracks. The Lung Wo Road track was really out of curiosity about what was happening. I was having a meeting with Sampson Wong Yu-hin and those guys, and in the middle of it, suddenly a bunch of people started making a ruckus over towards the metal barricades at the Legislative Council. On another side, a crowd was trying to take away the barricades, among them were some middle-school students wearing their school uniforms skirts, and there were some students from the Academy for Performing Arts. I thought those should be my people, so I returned to the meeting. Not long after the meeting finished, I helped out with transporting the saline solution and umbrellas and other goods. Afterwards I heard them removing the manhole covers; the sound that every manhole cover thrown on the ground generated within the manhole in the tunnel was astonishing for me. I didn’t have any recording equipment at the time, only an iPhone with which I recorded the sounds.
Tunnel Soundscape, the Building of Road Block
12:00 AM, 10/16/2014, Lung Woo Road
And then there was another track I recorded waking up from an all-nighter one day. There was a group of policemen taking apart the metal barricades over at Central. Everyone was woken up. One female officer told us to remain calm, explaining how they simply wanted to take back government property. That clip was only 30 minutes; from the time I woke up and then wandered around everywhere until I ended up over where the metal barricades were taken apart, in the middle there was a segment that was actually really quiet. And why did I want to make a recording then? I think it was because earlier at The Library I recorded a clip of morning sounds from the time of the “Anti-National Education” protests, so I was hoping to do that again.
Sound of Morning
06:16 – 06:51 AM, 10/13/2014, Walking from Civic Square to City Hall
The Library: Why did you like the sound of “morning”?
Lee Wing-shan: I think it’s because of the ambience in the morning. It could be the air, or it could the lack of vehicles. It feels nice, like the feeling of a quiet city just about to stir.
The Library: From what I know, in the early stages of the Umbrella Movement, you bought many megaphone.
Lee Wing-shan: Come to think of it, it’s pretty interesting. Buying the megaphone almost cost me half a month’s salary. Even though my salary isn’t huge, I felt the equipment was important, especially in the first two days when the Umbrella Movement was just beginning. Maybe I felt we all needed to get our message across more accurately! I still remember buying them on Apliu Street back then; there were others buying them, buying even more than me, six to eight. They used those in Occupy Mong Kok. Maybe everyone wanted to get their message across better. In the end, I bought four. I passed by every supply section and put one down. I asked if they needed a megaphone. They said, “Just put them here first!” After passing through near the Hai Foo bridge, I saw someone who looked like a middle-school student, who seemed like he wanted to say something but lacked the tools. So I handed my loudspeaker to him. Then he gingerly and fearfully read his message. At the time, I wondered if these loudspeakers might have had a better use. I also considered whether I should use them to make a speech of some sort. But perhaps I am more introverted. I didn’t put it into practice in the end.
I recall how during the Umbrella Movement I saw a work about sound. I don’t know who made it, and that work existed for a very short time. I guess within an hour or so it was damaged.
The Library: It seems you have shared this on Facebook.
Lee Wing-shan: That’s right. I asked the people around me who made it, but they could only tell me he left immediately after making it. It’s a string telephone with lots of paper cups, with lines all tangled up. If you understand the principle of how a string telephone works, you would know they can only be used when the lines are straight. I tried to pick one of them up to test if it was working properly, but with too many lines tangled together, it was all a bit of a mess. I don’t know if the creator did this on purpose, but this image, for me, was meaningful—“inaudible” and “unspeakable”. Of course, that might not have been a complete work in terms of the formal expression, and it was extremely fragile—in the end it was only made with paper cups, with sticky tape binding the [drinking] straws together. Plus it was windy, so the work looked a bit chaotic.
When the Umbrella Movement ended on December 11, I also went to make some recordings on site. At the square space between Admiralty Centre, the McDonalds, and the Admiralty MTR exit, for me, this space was already a public square. After the protestors were cleared and the roads reopened, we only had this “public space”. Some were performing, some were singing, and also others doing dances related to the Umbrella Movement.
03:33 PM, 12/11/2014, Admiralty Centre
To sum up, swearing and yelling were the things I heard the most during the whole movement. These made me not want to record, or oftentimes I didn’t bring any equipment to record these temperamental scenes. We know already that the police or the government are awful, really revolting. So on a certain level, continually intensifying these things, as far as I am concerned, doesn’t really help—and this perhaps was the thing the whole movement needed to face up to the most.
李穎姍: 是啊! 單純地吹奏，沒有說什麼，其實也不算擊退警察，可能只是當時很憤怒，想不到用什麼方式反抗｡
李穎姍: 那時候我其實不太想錄音，大概只有五條聲帶｡龍和道那一條聲帶是出於好奇當時他們正在發生什麼事情，當時我與黃宇軒他們開會，會議途中突然有一群人在立法會鐵馬那邊的方向開始爭吵，另一邊廂有一群人在搶奪鐵馬，當中有一些穿校服裙的中學生，亦有演藝學院的學生，我想那應該是自己人，所以就回去開會｡會議沒多久結束，我便幫手搬運鹽水及雨傘等用品｡之後我聽到他們在拆坑渠蓋，而每一坑渠蓋擲落地下在隧道所產生的回音令我很震撼，我當時沒有任何錄音器材，只有一部I Phone可以把聲音錄下來｡
12:00 AM, 10/16/2014, 龍和道
06:16 – 06:51 AM, 10/13/2014, 從公民廣場走到大會堂
李穎姍: 說起來那是一件很有趣的事，那次買 大聲公差不多花了我半個月的薪金，我雖然薪金不多，但我覺得這些器材很重要，特別在雨傘運動開始的首兩天，可能是我覺得大家需要更準確傳播訊息吧! 還記起當時在鴨寮街購買時，也有其他人在買，而且比我買得更多，買了六至八隻，他們是用在旺角的佔領區，可能大家都想有更好的訊息傳播，最後我買了四隻。我經過每一個物資部逐一將它們放下，我有問過物資部的人是否需要大聲公，他們說：「先放著吧!」，之後經過海富天橋附近，我看見一個估計是中學生的朋友，看似想表達些什麼，但他欠缺器材，我便將我手上的大聲公交給他，之後他很戰戰兢兢地宣讀他的訊息。那時候我想這些大聲公是否有更好的用途呢? 我也考慮過自己是否該使用這些器材作一些發言? 但可能我比較內向，最後還是沒有付諸實行｡
03:33 PM, 12/11/2014, 海富商場