Today, we bring you sound art, in our second guest-curated segment with Contemporary Musiking Hong Kong. CMHK is an incubator for cross-disciplinary practices in music, sound, and technology. In July 2018, composer and sound artist Samson Young introduced the first Hong Kong Mixtape, a set of nine sound art compositions. One year later, musician Him Cheung takes us back to the former British colony to share Hong Kong Mixtape II, five sonic responses to volatile current events.
Let’s set the stage with a few facts. In 1997, Britain handed Hong Kong back to China. Now run under a “one country, two systems” agreement that guarantees it a level of autonomy, Hong Kong has its own judiciary and a separate legal system from mainland China. Rights including freedom of assembly and freedom of speech are protected. Those freedoms – known as the Basic Law – expire in 2047.
Our first Hong Kong Mixtape took us to the heart of 2017 student-led pro-democracy demonstrations, when the famed mass protests of the 2014 Umbrella Movement returned to the streets. The city’s uncertain future has sparked years of political protests. In June 2019, thousands of Hong Kong’s citizens began to gather again, protesting against a proposed law to allow extradition to mainland China. Critics feared this could undermine the city’s judicial independence and endanger dissidents. Clashes between police and activists became increasingly violent, with police using tear gas and protesters storming parliament. The bill was withdrawn in September 2019. Demonstrations continue.
In this mixtape, we share excerpts from five sound encounters by artists based in Hong Kong. The first sound work expresses feelings of anxiety and hopelessness that persist with regard to the 1997 handover to Mainland China. The following three field recording projects bear witness to months of escalating demonstrations this year—from mass marches in the streets, to the declarations of individual protesters, to Hong Kong residents’ nightly ritual of shouting slogans from the windows of their homes. The final segment conveys a desire to leave all the unrest behind—taking us on a supernatural sound walk to a temple in the woods.
Fresh Art International joins U.S. based Montez Press Radio and Co-op Radio Vancouver to present Hong Kong Mixtape II.
Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Guest Producer: Him Cheung | Photography courtesy Contemporary Musiking Hong Kong
Featured sound works, in order of appearance: So Ho Chi, Take 2 (ver. 2) | Jantzen Tse, So Ho Chi | RC Team, Voices of Hong Kong “Rioters” | Alex Yu, 10pm shouting _Free Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time_ Beverly Garden, Tseung Kwan O 2-9-2019 | Alex Yu, Temple
Related Episodes: Hong Kong Mixtape I, Samson Young on Songs for Disaster Relief, When Sound is Art—Five Sonic Stories
Related Links: Contemporary Musiking Hong Kong, Umbrella Movement