• 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 : Winnie Chau/ 周潁榆
    Transcription 謄錄: Janie Chan Tsang/ 陳錚

  • 03/26/2015

  • Hong Kong/ 香港

  • , , , , , ,

Steve Hui Ngo-shan (a.k.a. Nerve) mines the boundaries between contemporary music, sound art, multimedia theatre and underground subcultures. He is member of electronic music group VSOP, and DJ of the Sessions clubnight.

steve Hui 600


The Library: Let’s start with your recordings.

Steve Hui Ngo-shan: Strictly speaking, I didn’t go to Admiralty to make recordings with a strong purpose. My so-called record is the sound clip of the excerpt from the opera 1984 that comes with video. I think there is a difference between recording sound and recording image. Yet, nowadays, the two are often merged in most of the recording media. I think the sound from moving images is also sound. You can even just hear the sound of a moving image in your hand from long ago, without looking at the image.

10/03/2014, Admiralty


The Library: After looking up some information, I noticed you started planning the opera 1984 two years ago and that shot was inserted only few days before the opera’s premiere.

Steve Hui Ngo-shan: Have you heard about the novel 1984? Let me talk about it briefly. The novel was written in 1948. The author imagined Britain in the future as a totalitarian society. There are CCTVs installed in streets and people’s home, watching and talking to people. The Party can talk to, or release messages to, anyone through the telescreens. Wherever you go, you are being watched by a CCTV. The novel talks a lot about how to brainwash and control one’s mind. I created this opera because I am interested in this novel.

I have always thought that performing arts on stage is a stand-alone creation. Yet, what makes it most worthwhile is often the interaction between what is happening inside the theatre and what is happening in the outside world. Such interaction is more important than that hour of experience in the theatre. As for that shot, I remember it was done on 3rd October, a few days before the move-in. It wasn’t until then did I consider whether to take a shot in Admiralty. The shot captures the female protagonist standing still on the kerb in the middle of the bridge. The shot was taken by the film director. Sometimes, when I recall the fact that I obtained that segment of sound at the field of the Umbrella Movement by chance, I still find it rather bizarre.

The Library: Other than this segment obtained by chance, do you have other recordings?

Steve Hui Ngo-shan: I have some bits and pieces recorded by my mobile phone but I haven’t re-listened to those clips. I remember they mainly capture people’s talking, e.g. the contents of the police speaking through the Megaphone.

The Library: Why haven’t you re-listened to those clips?

Steve Hui Ngo-shan: Partly due to emotional reasons, I seem reluctant to re-listen to those sounds of people. To me, these bits and pieces of recording are actually a bit like writing diary. I don’t write diary now, but actually taking photos with mobile phone can be a kind of diary.

The Library: Why would you want to record the sound of people?

Steve Hui Ngo-shan: I purely wanted to keep some records, recording that the Hong Kong Police actually spoke like that at this moment.

The Library: You mentioned that sound recording is like writing diary, which is something relatively personal. Have you thought about the significance of sound recording to society?

Steve Hui Ngo-shan: If it is significant for society, it should be shared with others. Yet, without proper organization of the recordings, the more time passes, the more reluctant I will become to share it. Sharing gives the first layer of meaning, while making recordings systematically gives another layer of meaning. Sometimes, I would imagine if I could listen to the sound at a certain place on a certain day in a certain year again, or hear the MTR announcements in different years. These kinds of things cannot be recorded comprehensively through text or images. Their nature is different. Although in terms of technological development, sound recording preceded video recording, it is sound recording that has been seriously neglected. Therefore, I think people should be encouraged to record sound systemically. This is meaningful to the whole society.

Answering Machine
1994, Hong Kong


The Library: 1984 is a rather political subject. As an artist, what is your view on politics?

Steve Hui Ngo-shan: Some people asked me about the political stance in 1984. In fact, I didn’t want to express what is right, what is wrong or what I support through the work…… Art is much more mysterious than all of these. In the house programme, I mentioned I created this work because our imagination towards freedom is becoming increasingly limited. In the story, the male and female protagonists try to get together under such a political environment. This requires immense imagination to achieve, as no one under that condition would do that. Nor are they allowed to do that. 1984 would like to point out the imagination of freedom. Currently, there seems to be many problems in society, including those politicians’ inability to handle problems in creative ways; our environment has deprived us of imagination, forcing us to pull back and believe this is all that we are.

許敖山實驗電子音樂組合VSOP成員,派對夜 Sessions 唱片騎師。經常以多重身份遊走於現代音樂、聲音藝術、多媒體劇場及次文化之間。

聲音圖書館: 不如先從你的錄音說起。

許敖山: 嚴格來說我不是很有目的地去金鐘錄音。我所謂的記錄,主要是《1984》歌劇用到的那一段附帶影像的聲帶。我覺得錄聲音和錄影像是不同的,而往往現在大部分的記錄媒體都是兩者結合。我覺得影像生出來的聲音都是聲音來的,你甚至可以拿著很久以前的影像,不看影像,只是聽裡面的聲音。

10/03/2014, 金鐘


聲音圖書館: 我查看資料,你是兩年前已經開始計劃《1984》這套歌劇,而你是在這套劇公演前幾天加入那個鏡頭?

許敖山: 你知不知道《1984》這本小說?我簡單地說一說,這部小說創作於1948年,作者幻想將來的英國是一個極權統治的社會,在大街、人人的家都有一些可以看著你,跟你說話的電視裝置。黨可以透過電視跟任何人說話,又可發放一些訊息,你去到任何一個地方,都有一個電視在看著你。這小說講了很多如何洗腦,如何控制人思想的事,我是對這本小說有興趣,才做這套劇。


聲音圖書館: 除了這段無緣無故得到的聲音,你還有其他錄音嗎?

許敖山: 我有一些零零碎碎用手機錄的聲音,但我沒有聽回那堆聲帶,我記得主要是捕捉一些說話,比如警察用大聲公說話的內容。

聲音圖書館: 為甚麼沒有聽回那些聲帶?

許敖山: 有一點是情緒上東西,我好像不想聽回那些人聲。這些零碎的錄音對於我來說,其實有點像寫日記,我現在沒有寫日記,但其實用電話拍照都可以是一種日記。

聲音圖書館: 你為甚麼想錄人的聲音?

許敖山: 我是單純想做一些記錄,記錄這一刻的香港警察原來是這樣說話的。

聲音圖書館: 錄音像寫日記,這是比較個人層面的東西,你有沒有想過錄音對社會的意義?

許敖山: 如果對社會有意義,當然是要分享出去;如果沒有好好整理,愈久便愈不想分享。分享是第一重意義, 另一重意義是要有系統地去做聲音記錄。有時候我會幻想自己會不會聽到某年某日某地的聲音,或者不同年份的地鐵廣播。這些東西不是文字或影像能夠全面地記錄下來,性質很不同,雖然技術上是有先有了錄音才有錄影的,但偏偏聲音的記錄很被忽視,所以我覺得應該推動人們有系統地記錄聲音,這對整個社會都有意義。

1994, 香港



許敖山: 有一些人問我《1984》是甚麼政治立場,我其實不是想透過作品表達甚麼是對,甚麼是錯,或我支持甚麼……藝術比這些神秘得多。我在場刊中提過,我要做這個作品是因為我們對自由的想像力愈來愈狹窄,藉著這個故事,男女主角在這樣的政治環境下,嘗試走在一起,是需要很大的想像力才能做到的,因為整個環境都沒有人這樣做,亦不容許這樣做,《1984》就是想帶出對自由的想像力。現在社會好像有很多問題,包括那些政治家不能用很有創意的方法來處理問題;環境迫使我們沒有想像,迫使我們只可縮起來,以為自己就是這樣子。