Samson is Listening
Interview/ 採訪: Amber Au/ 急急子
English Translation / 英譯: Winnie Chau/ 周穎榆
In the video named ‘Wuwu…wuwu…wuwu’, Samson is blindfolded in a rectangle space, where he walks around randomly. At times, he makes some ‘wuwu’ sounds at a low pitch; at times, he makes some ‘wuwu’ sounds at a high pitch. He makes sounds so that he can hear the echoes. Recently, he read a book about forest ecology, which mentioned some animals, e.g. bats and cetaceans, make sounds to locate themselves through the echoes. This aroused his interest to do an experiment himself to see if his blindfolded self would bang on the wall. He played the video in a learning group meeting. In fact, he would like to invite Frances, Fuk-kuen and William to give it a try. Yet, he found the meeting’s atmosphere unsuitable for the experiment.
Samson is the supported artist of soundpocket’s Artists’ Support Program 2014-2015. When he was small, he loved drawing maps and disliked talking. He described himself as being a bit withdrawn. In his secondary school years, he only liked Geography. Upon graduation, he had worked as a broadband salesman. Later, he studied in university in the U.K., majoring in Business Administration. After returning to Hong Kong, he started working as an administrative trainee at a fast food shop and then went onto various posts in the food and beverage industry, “I had no idea what I was doing in the first few years of working. I went about aimlessly.” While working, he started his learning journey in photography, thanks to the single lens reflex camera he bought for himself. Since 2008, he participated in different photography workshops. In 2012, he took a photography course at HKU Space. Having already started his white-collar life, he realised it ‘wasn’t right’ midway. Therefore, he opted for photography. In 2013, he took a large number of photos.
After that, “I realised I didn’t really know how to take photos.” This perhaps isn’t about ‘knowing or not’, but whether he finds himself ‘suitable or not’. Photography isn’t first choice of medium at present. In 2013, the year he took a lot of photos, he was simultaneously working as a part-time restaurant manager. One day, while he was cleaning a coffee cup, he saw the coffee stain on the cup, which looked a bit like the music notes on a music sheet. Serendipitously, he took a picture of it and converted the notes into sounds using software. This experiment inspired his work shown in Osage Boing Pop-up Market created in the same year. He put some plastic sheets and acrylic paint into a water bottle and threw it into the sea. Moved by the waves, the acrylic paint left curvy marks on the plastic sheets. He took pictures of it and converted the ‘Wave’ he had collected into ‘Wave’ sound files. This is the only sound-related work he had done before becoming a supported artist.
Later, he found converting photos and sounds back and forth like this not as direct as returning to the original from and let audience interact with the work, or even become part of the work by feeling it.
In April 2015, Samson resided in Experimental Sound Studio (ESS) in Chicago for a month. At first, he recorded sounds and take photos everywhere. It happened that there was a performance art festival, so he watched a lot of performances. When he was thinking about how to create a work based on his experience in Chicago, performance art came to his mind. He invited the audience to come to a studio in ESS that was playing a field recording of Chicago. He added the audience into a WhatsApp group and sent out instructions via the group, asking them to shout, draw, type, recite, take selfies, etc. These instructions were related to Samson’s experience and feelings of Chicago. Through this form of presentation, he changed his relatively passive state after coming to Chicago to active. Audience participation also blurred the roles of performers and audience.
After being soundpocket’s supported artist for a year, Samson said, “The more I know about sound, the more I know I am not a sound artist.” Yet, he is certain that sound is one of the elements he would consider for his future works.
The audience eagerly participated in the aforementioned ‘As I have Listened / Please Chat with me’ (http://www.cheungchoisang.com/As-I-have-Listened-Please-Chat-with-me) when it was performed in Chicago. Samson hopes to stage it once in Hong Kong. “Aren’t you worried Hong Kong people won’t cooperate?” I asked. Samson replied, “I precisely wanted to see their responses, to see if they will be offended.” He would like to hear the echoes from the audience.
(please scroll down for Samson’s creation)
然後，「我覺得我唔係好識影相囉。」這或許不是「識唔識」的問題，而是自己覺得「適唔適合」的問題。攝影這個媒介，不是他這刻的首選。2013年，他拍下許多照片那年，他同時是一間餐廳的兼職經理。一天，他清潔咖啡杯時，看到杯中的咖啡漬有點像五線譜上的音符，於是他忽發奇想，拍下照片後，再用程式把照片轉換成聲音。這次實驗，啟發他在同年Osage Boing Pop-up Market的作品。他把膠片和塑膠彩放入水樽，然後把水樽丟在海中，海浪使塑膠彩在膠片留下彎彎曲曲的痕跡，他拍下照片，再把他收集回來的「海浪（Wave）」轉換成聲音檔.Wave。在成為支援藝術家前，他就只做過這一件跟聲音有關的作品。
今年四月，Samson到了芝加哥的Experimental Sound Studio（ESS）駐留一個月。初時，他到處錄音、攝影，碰巧有行為藝術節，他便看了不同的演出。當他正在思考，該用自己在芝加哥的經歷做一件怎樣的作品時，便想起行為藝術。他邀請觀眾來到ESS一間播放着芝加哥田野錄音房間內，他在現場把觀眾們加進WhatsApp對話群組，然後透過群組即時向觀眾發出指示，要他們大叫、畫畫、打字、朗讀、自拍等等，這些指示都與Samson在芝加哥的經歷和感受有關連。他透過這個形式，改變自己來到芝加哥後，比較被動的狀態，由被動變成主動。而觀眾的參與，亦模糊了表演者和觀眾的角色。
以上的《As I have Listened / Please Chat with me》(http://www.cheungchoisang.com/As-I-have-Listened-Please-Chat-with-me)在芝加哥演出時，觀眾都落力參與。Samson希望可以在香港也做一次，「唔怕香港人唔合作咩？」我説。Samson回答：「我就係想睇吓佢哋㑹有咩反應，睇吓佢哋㑹唔㑹嬲。」他想聽聽來自觀眾的回聲。
:: Samson’s creation in sound ::
:: Samson的聲音創作 ::
coffee stain on the cup converted into sounds 杯中的咖啡漬轉換成聲音
Reflection exercise 回彈練習
(Samson passed his work to Fuk-kuen