Unit 804, 8/F, Pan Asia Centre, Ngau Tau Kok, Kwun Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong

From the social movement that started last summer to the pandemic that’s still very much a developing situation, the city finds itself challenged like never before. Routines and ways of life we once took for granted are now prohibited. Lives, as well as values, are at stake. The worst pandemic of a generation has given birth to a range of novel social rituals: the coming together of the hands for san- itization at entrances, the masks that are worn like talismans, the hesitant elbow bump. What used to be a ritualized exchange of pleasantries (“I hope you are doing OK”) have taken on a new weight. Even when pleasantries are just that – casual, routine, ritualized remarks – they are still important in that, like prayers, or talismans, they point to a better world that could have been under better cir- cumstances. Each time we say ‘thank you,’ or light a candle at a vigil, or cast a vote at the ballot box, we are renewing our commit- ment to these better worlds, and reminding ourselves that we fall short of the best versions of ourselves.

Music is related to ritual in at least two important ways: musical form resembles the structure of ritualized actions, and music is inte- gral to many rituals. Music’s meaning, like that of a ritual, is also social in the sense that it is never created by the performer alone. In response to these very difficult times, we want to double down on our commitment to the ritual of musical performance, to the gath- ering of people, to assembly. The Hong Kong Arts Centre and Contemporary Musiking Hong Kong (CMHK) have assembled a pro- gram of excellent local composers and sound artists, who have taken on the challenge of responding to the new reality of social dis- tancing. In fact, this mini-festival seeks to appropriate this new reality, and turn it into an opportunity to create intensely inti- mate exchanges at close proximity. In these performances, each performer will be performing to only one audience member. This means that the festival will be experienced only by a very small number of audiences, which, under ‘normal’ circumstances as dictated by economic rationalism, would be seen as a lack. Audiences will be shuttling between performance stations that are sit- uated at various locations within the Hong Kong Arts Centre. All works are to be experienced via headphones, in real time, and together with the artist who created it. Artists including Alain Chiu, Alex Yiu, Cheuk Wing Nam, Edwin Lo, Fiona Lee, Larry Shuen, Lee Cheng, Michael Chi-hin Leung, and Vvzela Kook have all created brand new work for this setting. These personalized listening ex- periences will hopefully renew our commitment to the ritualized and social aspects of musical performance, to its openness of mean- ings, to its necessity always but especially in times like these, and to music’s ideal form: a civility of shared listening that comes to us through another person’s ear canal, which, is possibly to only way out of our own heads.

由去年夏天開始的社會運動,以至當下仍在發展中的疫情,這個城市一直在面對著前所未有的挑戰。曾經的日常,如今卻被禁止。生命以 及價值觀都受到威脅。由這個世代最凶猛的疫症而生的,是一些新奇的社交儀式:進門前攤開手掌等待消毒、每天戴著有如護身符的口罩 、躊躇地碰肘代替握手等等。以往約定俗成式的問候,如簡單的一句「最近好嗎?」都變得份外沉重。然而,即使是平凡、日常、約定俗 成的禮儀,都有如祈禱及護身符一樣重要 — 它們指向一個在更好的環境下更美好的世界。每次我們道謝、或在祈禱會中點亮一點燭光、往 投票箱投一下手上的票,我們都是在重新確認自己對更美好的世界負上承擔,並提醒自己仍未是最好的自己。

音樂最少從兩個方面都與禮儀有緊密關係:音樂形式與禮儀行為的結構相似,而音樂本身亦是很多儀式中不可或缼的部份。音樂的意義與 禮儀一樣,是具社會性的,因為音樂永遠不可能只靠演出者一個人創造。為回應這個困難的時刻,我們希望加倍我們對音樂演出這「禮儀 」的承擔,去聯絡不同的人、去集結。香港藝術中心及現在音樂集合了一班優秀的本地作曲家、聲音藝術家,去接受挑戰並創作出回應社 交距離這個新現實的作品。事實上,這個迷你聲音藝術節嘗試挪用這個新的日常,以此為契機,創造一個極為親近的交流體驗。在本次藝 術節的演出中,表演者會與觀眾作一對一的演出。這意味著這次藝術節只能容許極少數的觀眾體驗,而這種演出在「正常」的環境下,會 因為不符合經濟效益而無法實行。觀眾將會在香港藝術中心各處遊走,並到不同的「舞台」以耳筒即時體驗藝術家現場演出的聲音。演出 的藝術家包括趙朗天、姚少龍、卓穎嵐、羅潤庭、李穎珊、孫禮賢、鄭重言、梁志軒及曲淵澈,他們將會為這個獨特的舞台創作全新的作 品。希望這個藝術節的聆聽體驗能更新我們對音樂表演的社會及禮儀上的承擔,包括音樂在意義上的自由開放、音樂在如此艱難時間上的 必要、以及音樂的理想形態:一種經由別人的耳窩傳達給我們,並共同聆聽到的話語。

Concert 1: Social contracts
Date: 30 May 2020 (Sat)
Available time slots: 1930 – 2030; 2100 – 2200

The first program of all brand-new works focuses on notions of distance and proximity. From literal chains to virtual synchronicity, from a whispered conversation, to the poetic intimacy of shared lost time, to the clinical distance of a scientific experiment, the artists and their works call into question our assumption of what might be considered ‘too close for comfort.’

Alex Yiu I have done it again
Edwin Lo Time Regained (Music for the Lost Time)
Larry Shuen Conversation Errors
Chi-hin Leung Sync
Vvzela Kook Baaseline Test


Concert 2: Go beyond go completely beyond
Date: 6 June 2020 (Sat)
Available time slots: 1930 – 2030; 2100 – 2200

This program explores the idea of travel and motion in times of movement restriction. Forward motion, repetition in-loop, entry and exit, emergence and disappearance – the artists in this con- cert and their works remind us that journeys – actual or fictitious, directed or aimless – are all potentially transformative.

Alain Chiu Ficticious Entry
Cheuk Wing Nam Conora Can’t Stop Me
Fiona Lee in a loop, how far we could go beyond
Lee Cheng Where have all the ____ gone?

Website: http://www.cmhk.org/out-of-our-heads-oooh-a-mini-festival-of-personalized-listening/