On February 29, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art will present “Voluntary Garden Online Concert: Sonic Cure.” Nine musicians of different styles, backgrounds, and generations, from Ryuichi Sakamoto (b. 1952) to Liu Yucao (b. 1995), from multimedia artist Feng Mengbo to suona master Guo Yazhi, will give an improvised concert, performing in relay on Kuaishou.
Musicians Feng Mengbo, Huang Jin, “Two Chamber Quarters” Pang Kuan, and Xia Yuyan are in Beijing; Zhang Meng is in Shanghai; Feng Hao is in Hefei; Liu Yucao and Guo Yazhi are in Boston; and Ryuichi Sakamoto is in New York. The seven solo performers and one duo will each perform for an online streaming session, conducting an unpredictable musical conversation broadcast live on the Kuaishou app to audiences across the world.
This concert is an extension of the UCCA exhibition “Voluntary Garden,” which is regrettably closed to the public due to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. “Voluntary Garden” is a multimedia art project by Colin Siyuan Chinnery, curated by Zhang Xiaozhou, Director of Modern Sky’s BADHEAD Records imprint, and You Yang, Deputy Director of UCCA Center for Contemporary Art. For the project, a series of improvised performances made in a traditional garden are presented as a composite video and sound installation.
Late last year, Chinnery built a floating stage in the Suzhou-style garden of the Fusion Art Center near the Forbidden City. 39 musicians were invited to perform there, of which Feng Hao, Feng Mengbo, Huang Jin, Liu Yucao, Xia Yuyan, and Zhang Meng were just six. The performers played their music one by one, responding to the recordings made by the other musicians who had played before them. The entire process was filmed and recorded. From Chinese folk and classical music, to jazz, rock, metal, electronic, experimental, noise, and avant-garde music, the musical content documented crosses the gamut of musical creativity in China today. Using the audio and visual recordings from the first part of the project, Chinnery then created a 4-channel video installation, weaving the disparate musical elements together to create a constantly evolving piece of music. Before opening at UCCA on December 12, 2019, the video installation was also exhibited at Fusion Art Center from November 10 to December 9, 2019. To accompany the exhibition, a series of performances expanding upon the concepts of improvisation and collage central to the video installation were organized at UCCA; due to special considerations for the health and safety of the audience and artists, this final concert has been moved online.
By relocating from real to virtual space, this latest exciting stage in the “Voluntary Garden” process is in a sense attempting another improvisation based on the current environment—once again affirming the power of art to break through the constraints of time and space during a period in which virtual connections have taken on a particular importance for musicians, artists and the wider Chinese population.
The online concert is co-hosted by UCCA and Kuaishou. Special thanks to Benny Grotto, Andrea Cavazzuti, Jiang Zaozao, Wang Xiaoyan, and Zhang Jingfan and Re Nao for their support.Throughout the duration of COVID-19 outbreak, UCCA Center Contemporary Art, UCCA Foundation, UCCA Kids and UCCA Store are organizing various online programs. Please follow our official WeChat, Weibo and Instagram accounts for further information.
Feng Hao (Sound Artist)
Feng Hao’s creative output is focused on sound art and experimental music. His work is presented in the form of sound, new media, video, installation or other comprehensive projects. In 2006, he set up the experimental music group Walnut Room with Li Zenghui. Walnut Room is defined by the fusion of experimental music with performance, video and contemporary theater. In 2017, he formed the new media art group Drowyek with new media artist Bi Zhenyu (In_K).
Xia Yuyan (Pipa Player)
Xia Yuyan is active in neo-classical free improvisation style music and art project collabrations. In 2016, she graduated from the China Conservatory of Music, where she majored in Pipa. She has participated in the Kong Hongwei Jazz Orchestra and Yang Jing Pipa Chamber Orchestra and collaborated with young American composer Rachel C. Walker on the pipa work For Summer Rain.
Feng Mengbo (Multimedia Artist)
One of the first artists in China to focus on applied digital technology, Feng Mengbo has been working in the medium since the early 1990s. His artistic practice covers painting, calligraphy, installation, photography, video and music performances. He participated in documenta (Kassel) in 1997 and 2002. His work is held in the collections of MoMA, the Guggenheim, LACMA, Ullens Foundation, White Rabbit Foundation, M+ Museum, and other institutions.
“Two Chamber Quarters” Pang Kuan (Singer, Keyboardist)
Pan Kuan is the lead singer and keyboardist of the band New Pants. In 2016, he began the personal art project entitled “Two Chamber Quarters.” In this project, Pang Kuan becomes a robot musician named “Two Chamber Quarters”, and presents a series of thoughts and practices for the post-Internet era through media such as sound, video, and performance.
Ryuichi Sakamoto (Composer, Producer)
Ryuichi Sakamoto has lived many musical lives in his nearly 70 years. As a keyboardist and songwriter in Haruomi Hosono’s Yellow Magic Orchestra, he helped set the stage for synthpop. His solo experiments in fusing global genres and close studies of classical impressionism led to him scoring over 30 films in as many years, including Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence, Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor and The Sheltering Sky, and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant. In the past 20 years alone, he’s written a multimedia opera, turned a glass building into an instrument, and travelled to the Arctic to record the sound of melting snow. That exploratory spirit runs through Sakamoto’s 2017 album, async, which paints an audio portrait of the passing of time informed by his recovery from throat cancer. “Music, work, and life all have a beginning and an ending,” said Sakamoto in early 2019. “What I want to make now is music freed from the constraints of time.”
Zhang Meng (Musician, Sheng Player)
A young musician who combines performance, composition and music production. His repertoire not only includes a large number of traditional classics for the sheng (a Chinese reed instrument), but also encompasses experimental pioneers, rock, jazz, electronics, world music, and many other musical styles.
Liu Yucao (Producer, Singer, Guitarist)
Songwriter, producer, vocalist and guitarist of JaJaTao. The band released their first album, The Rite of Spring in 2016, and have been active in the Chinese rock scene since then.
Guo Yazhi (Orchestral Musician)
Guo Yazhi’s musical skills span multiple Chinese musical genres, with a particular focus on the suona. He invented the suona “living core” device, which enables the traditional suona to play a chromatic scale and a twelve-tone system, enriching the instrument’s expressive power. He has published a number of solo albums including Chinese Suona (1990) and Birds Pay Tribute to the Phoenix (1993).
Huang Jin (Drummer, Percussionist, Electronic Musician)
Huang Jin’s creative projects are based on the use of industrial electronics and noise, using drums and contact microphones to create his own highly recognizable tone through working with percussion instruments, amplifying rhythms, and giving live performances through the use of sequence arrangements and triggers.
Session 1: Feng Hao (Electric Guitar)
Session 2: Xia Yuyan (Pipa)
Session 3: Feng Mengbo (Synthesizer), “Two Chamber Quarters” Pang Kuan (Synthesizer)
Session 4: Ryuichi Sakamoto (Synthesizer, Piano, Electronics)
Session 5: Zhang Meng (Sheng, Xun)
Session 6: Liu Yucao, Guo Yazhi (Electric Guitar, Suona, Percussion)
Session 7: Huang Jin (Synthesizer, Electronic Percussion)
Launched in 2011 by Kuaishou Technology, Kuaishou is one of the world’s leading short video social platforms, boasting more than 300 million daily active users. On a mission to increase every individual’s happiness through big data and A.I. technology, Kuaishou was created based on the belief that everyone’s lives are worth chronicling.
Through the sharing of short videos, photos and livestreams, Kuaishou Technology’s “equal opportunity” algorithms and ethical corporate values breathes to life a technology platform that for the first time has been designed to shine a limelight on the often overlooked, yet diverse and down-to-earth communities of people in China.
By highlighting a side of China that is not often seen, Kuaishou empowers people from all over China to virtually experience the world by enabling them to engage with fans from all walks of life around the globe, while inviting the world into their homes.
Since its launch, Kuaishou has grown to become China’s largest life sharing platform with 15 million pieces of user generated content created everyday and 350 million daily likes. Supported by an archive of 20 billion original short videos, Kuaishou’s journey to document humankind and empower citizens worldwide to discover their inner happiness is just beginning.
While Kuaishou is Kuaishou Technology’s a short video platform for the Chinese market, the international version of its app, Kwai, parallels Kuaishou with similar features, but offers localized functions tailored to users from outside of China.
Shanghai Tang is a pioneering ‘Created by Chinese’ luxury brand recognised internationally for its authentic craftsmanship and unique designs served with a dash of humour, irreverence and disruptive edge.
Founded in 1994 as a bespoke tailor in the iconic Pedder Building in Hong Kong, Shanghai Tang was inspired by the glamour and glory of the Shanghai Bund in the 1930s, a vibrant era during which this renowned entertainment playground was the melting pot for culture, fashion, architecture, commerce and art.
The name of the brand is a play on words that takes the English transcription of the Shanghai Bund (上海滩 – Shang-hai-tan) and humorously connects the sound of the words with thename of the late founder, Sir David Tang, who developed a phenomenal celebrity followingincluding Princess Diana, actresses Gong Li and Nicole Kidman, top models Naomi Campbelland Kate Moss.
Shanghai Tang offers a wide range of lifestyle collections steeped in heritage, including iconic products such as Tang velvet jackets, cashmere cardigans with silk lining, silk pyjamas, knot clutches, scarves and foulards, Chinese gemstone jewellery, lacquer boxesand the signature Ginger Flower home fragrance.
Shanghai Tang is distributed through direct boutiques in Asia in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, and internationally through the showroom of Milan Via Montenapoleone, the official website www.shanghaitang.com, WeChat boutique and other digital platforms.
About Fusion Art Center
Fusion Art Center is an art institution that emphasizes involvement with space. It advocates that space makes art better and is a medium for in-depth communication between people and art. The center reproduces a Suzhou-style courtyard representing the spirit of ancient Chinese scholar-bureaucrats, located next to the Forbidden City, as a carrier for its exploration of space and art.
BADHEAD was established by Shen Lihui—the founder of Modern Sky. It is Modern Sky’s subsidiary record label for alternative music, and began to release records in 1999. In this era albums by NO, Tongue, The Fly, Hu Mage, Chen Dili, Muma, Lure, Xiao He, and Wan Xiaoli were met with an enthusiastic response and had a profound impact on the contemporary music scene. In 2008, BADHEAD went on hiatus.
In 2014, BADHEAD restarted under leadership of Zhang Xiaozhou. To date, BADHEAD has released 61 albums. BADHEAD is dedicated to forward-looking and artistically inclined music, and is increasingly involved in the contemporary art community and associated practices.
About COARTThe COART Art Institute is an independent art and cultural institution founded by Li Yapeng under the umbrella of China Investment Holdings. COART's core values are that art transcends forms to break the boundaries of form, stimulating each other; to strive for “symbiosis with art”; to let art return to life, to let art leave the academy and return to life; that everyone is an artist; that art shows strength and action. COART holds that the positive energy of culture and art can influence and shape positive values in young people.