Sonic Anchor

Project Proposal to ANA submitted by BM Space

1. Aims / Objective / Goals of project

To organize and arrange cross-border collaboration between sound artists and experimental music artists from Hong Kong and Shanghai, which will involve a series of performances.

Through these performances, the visiting artists will have the opportunity to interact with local artists, allowing them to have an even better understanding of their art, as well as conduct workshops and seminars to showcase their own works and thoughts.

2. Brief description of project

Yin Yi, the art director of Shanghai’s BM Space, and Samson, lecturer at the School of Creative Media in City University of Hong Kong and the art director of Hong Kong’s Contemporary Musiking, met in 2011 during the Shanghai Electronic Music Week where they had a long discussion. From there, the two of them realized that they shared many similar views about “sound art”; more and more people, with different backgrounds in art, are beginning to recognize the use of “sound art” as an artistic vocabulary and a form of art. At the same time, there are still many unresolved issues surrounding the definition and understanding, promotion, criticisms, history and performing groups of “sound art”.

They hope to promote and assist in the development of “sound art” in a positive way in both Hong Kong and Shanghai, and perhaps in the entire Southeast Asia, through their collaboration. From there, the plan for their first collaboration – a series of performances titled “Sonic Anchor” - was born. By providing a platform for interaction between “sound art” artists in Hong Kong and Shanghai through a series of exchange performances, it will allow the artists to showcase their own works, thoughts and studies of art, as well as learn from their peers across the borders. In addition, they also hope to improve the understanding of other artists, students of art and the general public about the development of “sound art” and the work of sound artists.

3. Methodology / Implementation of project

From May 2012, every quarter, we plan to carry out the exchange of 1 artist from Hong Kong with 1 artist from Shanghai to perform in Shanghai and Hong Kong respectively.

In Hong Kong, Contemporary Musiking will be responsible for organizing the performances and all other related activities, such as sourcing for performance locations and providing equipment, carrying out promotional activities, as well as finding lodging for the artists from Shanghai.

In Shanghai, BM Space will be responsible for organizing the performances and all other related activities, such as sourcing for performance locations and providing equipment, carrying out promotional activities, as well as finding lodging for the artists from Hong Kong.

Detailed plans for Shanghai: Process for selection of artists in Shanghai:

BM Space and Contemporary Musiking will maintain a record of all performances, seminars and workshops, through various mediums such as sound recording, video recording and written works.

All records may eventually be published in the form of literature, sound recording and video recording.

4. Time frame of project

From May 2012, on a quarterly basis, one independent artist or artistic group will be selected from Shanghai and Hong Kong respectively for the exchange. Duration for the whole program will be 1 year.

Currently, we plan to carry out the events in May, August, November of 2012 and February of 2013. A total of 16 artists, or group of artists, will participate in the project “Sonic Anchor”.

5. Projected output of project (is it a workshop, a discussion, a showing, etc.?)

Output of the project will be primarily through live performances.

Seminars and workshops may also be conducted.

6. Who is your target audience for your project?
There are two target groups of audience:

7. How do you propose to disseminate information about the project to your target audience?

After having organized numerous activities and performances over a long period of time, BM Space already has a stable stream of audience; we also have a mailing list of 500 people who have gone through initial screening.

Our main methods of disseminating information are through emails and by publishing on our website. We also have our information published on various artistic and cultural websites, such as Douban and artlinkart.

Our partners in Shanghai also have its own stable group of audience.

8. How do you think your project will create impact on the art communities/the cultures that you want to engage with? How will it develop the field of your art form?

Sound art/experimental music, as an art that was born in the West and developed under Western culture and influence, is also well accepted and further developed in Asia. In a non-Western background and environment, there will be many problems and issues arising as sound art meets local culture. At the same time, local artists will also face the problem of trying to explain sound art through their own understanding and knowledge of the language of art.

As the most modern cities in China, Hong Kong and Shanghai share many similarities in terms of their openness and acceptance of modern culture. On the other hand, as sound art/experimental music crosses the borders of the Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong into the Wu-speaking Shanghai, and vice versa, it may present a totally new experience and an unexpected set of circumstances, such as the lack of understanding of sound art/experimental music by the general public, as well as the different understanding of the art, presentation and creative processes of the artists themselves.

The project "Sonic Anchor" focuses on the exchange through time and space between Hong Kong and Shanghai. As expressed in an old adage, “People from the same generation are unable to clearly see the value of each other.” People from the same region and cultural background are also unable to clearly see each other’s value. In this case, if we could only move certain phenomena from their original location to another, and scrutinise it in the context of another cultural background, perhaps this will allow us to understand its true value?

To an artist, every single chance to perform is precious. There are not many opportunities to perform in Hong Kong and Shanghai. For the general public, there are also very few opportunities to experience this kind of performances. "Sonic Anchor" aims to not just provide the opportunities for the artists to perform, but also for the general public to experience. We believe this project will play a positive and instrumental role in the promotion and development of sound art/experimental music in both Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Exchanges between artists are also very important. As such, the seminars and workshops in this project will also play a very important role. Through the seminars and workshops, the artists may be able to share their experiences and methodologies better, while at the same time, be stimulated in the process as they ponder about their understanding and interpretation of sound art/experimental music.

Exchanges also create possibilities in the future. This will be a starting point for the collaboration between artists, just like the way Yinyi and Samson met.