Song-Ming Ang on Amateurism, Open-Ended Systems and Working with Music as a Subject Matter


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Creative Conversations
Issue: On Listening


Filed under: film, performance, printssculpture, sound
Song-Ming Ang makes art focusing on how we relate to music individually and as a society, examining the contexts in which music is produced, disseminated and consumed. Drawing from the everyday and popular culture, Ang creates objects and encounters in various formats. In his work, music often serves as an entry point into other areas, like how fans and amateurs generate alternative forms of knowledge, and how structures and processes in experimental music may inform self-organisation and democracy.

The International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia is a dizzying but important global platform for the visual arts. In 2019, the Singapore Pavilion was titled Music for Everyone: Variations on a Theme. Curated by Michelle Ho, the Pavilion featured the works of artist Song-Ming Ang. A year on, the presentation is being restaged in Singapore to a local audience and amidst very different times. The presentation at the National Museum of Singapore includes a couple of Song-Ming’s previous works, tightening its focus on notions of music making, nation-building, and egalitarianism.


¹ Keyboard Fantasies, Beverly Glenn-Copeland
1986

Let’s start by discussing your thoughts on the concept of influence. Moving away from correlating influence to aspiration or inspiration, what comes to mind for you when you think of the sticky, interconnected networks that you find yourself embedded in? How do you approach thinking about the sort of artworks that you find compelling?

It’s always a bit tricky to talk about influences in a retrospective manner, or to comment on my own influences, because it’s difficult for me to tell if the things I like have seeped into what I do. More often than not, I think you need someone else to tell you that. I love Nick Drake's music, for example, but I don't make folk music, so how am I to know what kind of influence Nick Drake has had on my art practice?

So maybe I’ll draw upon what some of my friends and peers have told me. The painter Ian Woo has commented that my practice works towards creating my own curriculum. In terms of tastes, I’ve been told by the artist Guo-Liang Tan that I gravitate towards the game changers: artists who are really radical or who have invented movements. This includes bands such as Kraftwerk. Before them, nobody had thought to bring electronic music and pop music together in the way they did, and in that sense, they were incredibly avant-garde. The band is also underlined by a do-it-yourself mentality. They were building synthesizers themselves and also approached synth makers to build what they wanted – I think they got Dieter Doepfer to develop a MIDI sequencer.

Coming back to this idea of influence, I feel that it’s not so much about the aesthetics but the spirit of doing things. Once artists or musicians become associated with a certain style, they don’t always move on to something else. If they've spent two or three decades building their entire practice around a certain style, expecting them to break away from that will be very difficult. Artmaking is very habitual, and fundamentally as human beings we need recognition. Once you achieve a certain level of recognition, it's quite difficult to tear it all up and walk away from it, so I respect people who are able to do that. John Baldessari, for example, at one point burned all his paintings.

I've also been drawn to hermits and outsiders because they do their own stuff. Most of these hermits never get the recognition they deserved, and even if they get it they’re already old or have passed on. To be able to stay the course, just doing your own thing whilst staving off that need for recognition — it’s really hard to do that especially because we live in the age of social media now. The musician Jandek, for example, comes to mind. He’s a singer-guitarist and his music is a weird confluence of folk, blues, rock and lo-fi. It would perhaps fall under what one would term outsider music, sometimes quite dissonant, but inimitable.

In the same vein, there’s Lewis Baloue, a singer who released two albums in the 1980s. Nobody knew who he was, and apparently he was working as a stockbroker at the time in New York. He sings in this warble that is reminiscent of Anohni, and this technique is something that goes back to singers such as Nina Simone. Baloue’s vocals are delivered in quite an exaggerated way, and recalls the New Romantics and singers such as Bryan Ferry. He also had these 1980s synthesizers doing strings in the background. It almost sounds wrong just coming from this description I’m giving you, but it left me wondering how someone could have made all of this music without anyone knowing about it. Baloue’s music was obviously a product of his time, but at the same time, it is also completely removed from it.

One other musician I recently got into is Beverly Glenn-Copeland, ostensibly a folk musician but made this wonderful album with synthesizers called Keyboard Fantasies in the 1980s. I’m not sure if I’m right about this, but I can hear some classical influences in his music. When I heard it, his music struck me as being nonbinary, kind of in its own genre. I would identify myself as being cisgender and heterosexual, so I find nonbinary music very interesting because it is music I can never make. For me, queer music can be great in how it is by definition – rightly or wrongly – alternative. I like art that is challenging and disruptive, when genres get mixed up. That’s maybe how music progresses, and I've always been interested in how music can be made from things that are collaged together. With sampling in the 1980s, collaging became a lot simpler. Yet the technology for collaging had always been there. As soon as the tape and recording devices were invented, one could easily cut and paste pieces of music. Glenn-Copeland’s music took that one step further, and I think of his music as coming from a human synthesizer or a human sampler. Different pieces mingle together in his brain, are synthesized together, and come out in a very organic way. It makes me think of these large swathes of music that have been hidden from us. We’re only just beginning to appreciate all of them in retrospect.

I’m sorry I took such a long detour to answer your second question. I guess it’s all about listening and looking at interesting things, trying to understand why I like them, and then allowing these great things to ferment inside me. Whether or not they emerge from me in some form, I don’t know but I hope so.

I like art that is challenging and disruptive, when genres get mixed up. That’s maybe how music progresses, and I've always been interested in how music can be made from things that are collaged together.

Within your answer, you touched on the limitation of our current vocabularies in fully verbalising our encounters with the things we see or the things we hear. One way we can expand our horizons is by getting in touch with other modes of thinking. In our email conversation prior to this interview, you mentioned the importance of interdisciplinarity to your practice. The phrase “to work interdisciplinarily” has become somewhat of a catch-all phrase today, but I understand that this impulse draws from a personal place for you. Could you tell us more about your formative years at university, and the impact that had on you? What shifted or was set in motion for you over that period of time?

If one works as an artist in the context of Singapore, the question of one’s training often comes up. Were they trained at the LASALLE College of Arts or the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA)? I didn’t go to either art schools. I majored in English Literature at the National University of Singapore (NUS). At the National University of Singapore, one of the first courses I had to take was a module on writing and critical thinking as a student of the University Scholars Programme (USP). Writing is not a purely technical craft. It also involves ideas and emotions. I had always thought of writing as my strong suit and as a literature student, I assumed that it was something that I could easily do. Clearly, I was wrong. Going through that module, I began to rethink my relationship to writing. It taught me about effective communication and how I could pare my ideas down to their essence. This really set the tone for the sort of art I began to appreciate.

I began to cultivate a great appreciation for artists who were making really great work with very little resources. There are a lot of contemporary artists working today who make incredibly grand works, but with a large pool of resources. To survive in the art world, you need resources. This can be in terms of money, time or networks, but of course not everyone has the same access to them. I am quite uncomfortable with the fact that artistic value is often intertwined with actual material value in the context of the art world. Why would you need to put diamonds on skulls or gold leaf on something for no good reason? Therefore it inspires me when I see someone making something really amazing with, for example, just a single sheet of paper. The sparer the artwork or the more mundane it is, the harder it actually is for the piece to stand out. Everyone knows what a sheet of paper is, but how do you make good art from it? You can only be a good writer when you have good ideas or when you really have something to say.

Another thing about my time in university was that I tried my best to pick up as many contemporary or modern modules as possible. I found critical theory modules really interesting, and of course, a lot of literature rests on critical theory. Some of the teachers I worked with had experiences working outside of academia as well. The poet Harvey Molloy was teaching at USP, and he ran this mindblowing module titled “Representing the Interface”. He has experience working in design, and “Representing the Interface” was ostensibly a literature module centered around the computer interface. In the early 2000s, hypertext was really exciting. You’d click on an underlined phrase and it would take you someplace else. These hypertexts were portals, and Molloy connected this phenomenon to C.S. Lewis’ series The Chronicles of Narnia. Molloy lent me a copy of Brian Eno’s A Year with Swollen Appendices and I loved it. It was only in hindsight that I realised how lucky I was to be reading that book because it has since gone out of print and is now quite difficult to get your hands on. Eno is very good at synthesizing things — he’s really a human synthesizer, in that sense. He synthesizes art and music, high culture and low culture. In the book, he was able to whittle ideas down to very simple terms. He’d also use diagrams, but he was able to connect with his reader effectively as if you were reading his diary. One of his concepts has stayed with me all this time, which is to think about what is ‘inside the work’ and what’s ‘outside the work’. What is inside or outside the frame, what is inside and outside the viewer, content vs. context, things we can control vs. things we can’t.

One of the things that I’ve been thinking about a lot is how do we do things? When you have a practice, it really comes down to how you do things — that’s what having a practice is about. How do we do things efficiently, ethically, or in a manner that is fair to those around you?

As you mentioned in your question, “interdisciplinarity” is a word that has been thrown around quite a bit, almost like a hashtag. I do think that an interdisciplinary approach is a fundamental part of what I do. It’s what, for better or worse, makes my practice unique, and university education is really my foundation, although it came a lot from following my own interests. At USP, I was introduced to cyberart by Irina Aristarkhova, I got to make electronic music under Ho Chee Kong, and from the English department I did film criticism with Gilbert Yeoh and postmodern Shakespeare with Yong Li Lan. Ryan Bishop supervised my honours thesis on the relationship between the Cold War and computer music, and I also did an independent study module with John Phillips on John Cage. When I went to Goldsmiths to do my MA in Aural & Visual Cultures, I enjoyed every minute of it because of the foundation I had.

When it comes to traditional or technical skills such as painting or drawing, I would be the first one to confess that I’m not that good at these things. I’m much better at writing, and it comes to me more naturally. In a very weird way, what I'm trying to do is be a writer who doesn't write, a musician who doesn't make music, or an artist who doesn't make art. I have been called a conceptual artist, a video artist, a sound artist, and a performance artist — all of which are not completely accurate. But if you put them together, I could deal with that. To be all four of these things at once is a real compliment.

In a very weird way, what I'm trying to do is be a writer who doesn't write, a musician who doesn't make music, or an artist who doesn't make art.

² Guilty Pleasures, Song-Ming Ang
2007 — ongoing


³ Piece for 350 Onomatopoeic Molecules, Song-Ming Ang
2003/2013

On that note with regard to terminologies, your practice occupies an ephemeral or transitional space — it finds overlaps with yet does not sit comfortably within the confines of either art making or music making. Both disciplines come with their own sets of baggage, and we often find ourselves referencing or drawing from Eurocentric canons most of the time. Why centre your practice around one specific subject matter, and what have you enjoyed most in the process of working on this subject within liminal spaces?

It’s really strange because most artists don’t focus their work on a subject matter. Having said that, I don’t think enough people are taking note of or looking into the fact that there are a handful of Singaporean artists whose works do revolve around a single subject matter. These artists include Charles Lim, Robert Zhao, Shubigi Rao and Tan Pin Pin. I’m a fan of all of their practices because I know that every time these artists make a new work, it’s going to be the same thing — but different. It’s a continuation, but it’s always new. These artists are always looking for new ways to do new things or with new materials, but around the same subject matter. All of these artists tend to be a bit nerdy (I mean this in the most admiring way!), and when I get the chance to speak to them, there's always a lot of good energy there. You can just feel the love that they have for their subject matter. I’m going to quote Guo-Liang again, who told me he feels there is a lot of generosity in my practice. I think this generosity is apparent to him because a lot of my work is about showing or revealing old things to audiences in new ways. Can you make sculptures out of recorders? Without being overly demonstrative, what can you make simply by drawing lines and folding paper? What sounds do you get when you refurbish a piano? Things like that.

I started out making experimental music in my twenties, and I did it for a couple of years. The reason why I stopped making music (although I just got back into it) is because I felt that I was just reproducing sub-genres that had already been established decades ago. The problem with moving away from those categories is that people don’t really know how to place you anymore. If I make noise or minimal music, for example, then I can be described as an experimental musician. However in order to really be an experimental musician, I felt I had to go further than that. That’s the reason I found myself in the art world. I wanted to make music, but at the same time be brave enough to have some distance from it.

One of my earliest works, Guilty Pleasures, took the form of a listening party. People came up to play and talk about bad music with me as a host. It’s really unskilled and amateurish but it’s not just about me being an amateur. It’s about bringing other people in as amateurs too, to activate what’s “outside the work”, as Eno says. The root of the word “amateur” comes from the Latin word “amare”, and etymologically speaking refers to a lover of things. Maybe this relates to the generosity that Guo-Liang talked about, because I’m connecting music to people, connecting people to people, and connecting people to my practice.

Another work of mine, Piece for 350 Onomatopoeic Molecules, is also very basic in some ways. In sound art or contemporary art, it’s not uncommon to see sensorial or kinetic works. Most of the time is quite techy and involves electronics and sensors. In contrast, this work is quite lo-fi in that audiences are invited to simply throw plastic balls at instrument sets in order to hear something. The process is entirely exposed, and there aren’t any hidden electronics.

That was how I first got into the art world. Although I didn’t have the capacity in terms of traditional expertise, I felt comfortable venturing into the world of contemporary art. Things are a lot more liberal, especially in terms of genre, aesthetics and material. In the art world, there are artists who choreograph, who write, who make music. It’s like anything goes, and that’s great. Music, on the other hand, I think of as being more conservative or defined. Having said that, I find the music industry very interesting. The relationship that a musician shares with their audience is very different to the sort of relationship an artist has with their audience. Professional musicians have fans who buy their albums, subscribe to their updates, pay to see their concerts and listen to their music on Bandcamp. If you work as an artist, your true audience essentially comprises curators, gallerists and collectors — that’s a very select class and it’s problematic. One of the things I have been thinking about is how to make things work for myself without being over-reliant on any part of the art industry.

In the art world, there are artists who choreograph, who write, who make music. It’s like anything goes, and that’s great. Music, on the other hand, I think of as being more conservative or defined.

Bitches Brew, Miles Davis
1970

In terms of musical influences, you’ve also found yourself drawn to jazz music and improvised music from Japan. With both, there is a great emphasis on improvisation and polyphonic textures in composition. Within your own practice, do you find resonance with those tenets of improvisation and polyphony? If so, what would you say the role of such aspects is in shaping your working processes?

I got into the Japanese free improvisation scene during, I would say, their peak in the early 2000s. It was a very fertile period for the scene. I was making experimental music at the time, first with a band and later on my own with a computer. Some of my bandmates turned me on to experimental music of different kinds and varying genres. One of my bandmates Wee Kwang was also listening to Indian classical music, and I started picking up sitar lessons as well. After a month of lessons, which I very much enjoyed, my sitar teacher told me that the next step was to get my own sitar for practice. I ended up quitting sitar class and got a Macbook Pro instead, because I felt the thing I most wanted to do was make experimental music on a computer. But yes, I was very fortunate to have been introduced to non-Western music, free jazz, and avant-garde music earlier on in my life. Thanks Wee Kwang!

The first jazz album I got into was Miles DavisBitches Brew. Davis assembled an all-star band, and everything was recorded live in a studio. Sound engineers for jazz music amaze me because they have to get everything right the first time round, to record the feel of the music, the energy of the band and the atmosphere in the room. There usually wouldn’t be overdubs, but I later realised that they were working with Teo Macero, who used the studio as an instrument by splicing together the band’s recordings and put them through effects as well. In any case, harmonically and rhythmically, jazz music can be incredibly complex. You don’t really hear in pop music the chords that jazz musicians produce, for example.

I also found improvised music from Japan very radical. The notion of playing regular tones sometimes does not exist in that space. The electronic composer Curtis Roads wrote about music in terms of points, lines and clouds, and I could hear this in Japanese free improvisation. A lot of this was microtonal or noisy. At the same time, some of these musicians were able to use silence or stillness in a very profound way. You can call it whatever you want to: ugly, atonal, or even wabi-sabi. Japanese improvised music can also be really dry because a lot of these musicians play with a lot of feedback. They’ll experiment with different ways of getting this feedback — no-input mixer, no-input turntable and no-input sampler. When I listen to improvised music from Japan, it still feels unique to me, both in terms of aesthetic and spirit. I don’t think it’s been replicated elsewhere. The touch of the musicians feel very delicate and just right.

Late last year, I got back into making electronic music again. I’ve been playing around with patchable synthesizers where the architecture of the synth is open and allows you to experiment. I think about systems and processes a lot, and I often try to make components in my system modulate one another, which is essentially the idea of feedback or interdependency.
A Song to Change the World, Song-Ming Ang and Jason Maling
2018 — ongoing


⁶ Dusk to Dawn Choruses, Song-Ming Ang and Julien Grossmann
2017 — ongoing

Credit: Julien Grossmann

Collaborative energies are undeniably embedded into the way you make and present work. This is something we see not just with works that extend outwards into audience engagement, but in works that you’ve made with other creative collaborators too. In relation to your interest in entry points, what sort of entry points has this praxis opened up for you, and what sort of spaces or interests have you uncovered as a result?

All of the collaborations I’ve worked on have come about quite organically. I have a few ongoing collaborations at the moment: one with Jason Maling (A Song to Change the World), Julien Grossmann (Dusk to Dawn Choruses), and Lai Yu Tong (Perennial Concerns). One of the main driving forces behind these collaborations is friendship. These are all great people, they are kind, intelligent, and we share similar values. We live across different cities, and these collaborations allow me to spend more time with them. I learn something from each one of them, and all of them are good at different things as well.

Jason works very efficiently. When I work with him, things move very fast. Yet out of myself and all my collaborators, I hope he doesn’t mind me saying this, he’s the worst musician. We were doing A Song to Change the World, and I wanted to transpose the song up one tone from D major to E major. He just said, “Oh mate, we don’t do that in my band.” But Jason’s great because he’s got a great sense of humour and I admire him for being so productive and organised. He wins at life.

Julien was musically trained at a conservatory, so he’s the most musical of us all. I think of it as an honour that he’d even work on a collaboration with me. I learn a lot of things from him musically. After his time at the conservatory, Julien went to art school as well so he’s really good at making things. He works across physical object making, contemporary media, and more.

Yu Tong has the face of a fourteen-year-old, but the soul of a forty-year-old. He understands the beauty of mundane things. The great thing about working with Yu Tong is that we share the same tastes and values. We tend to approach things in a similar manner. Working with him is a lot of fun. I can be less self-conscious when I make works with him. He’s good to improvise along with and things tend to fall into place quite quickly.

Collaborations are a great way of growing, and in some ways, getting out of my own comfort zones. As I said previously, I learn something from each of my collaborators. It injects a bit of unpredictability into my practice, and it’s always going to be a lot of fun working with people you like. 

Collaborations are a great way of growing, and in some ways, getting out of my own comfort zones.

Music for Everyone: Variations on a Theme
2020, Installation View at the National Museum of Singapore


Music for Everyone: Variations on a Theme
2020, Installation View at the National Museum of Singapore


Let’s spend a little bit of time on the return presentation of the Singapore Pavilion, which was first presented at the 58th Venice Biennale last year. The exhibition is now on view at the National Museum of Singapore and is premised upon music-making, education and nation-building in the context of newly-independent Singapore. Why examine these concepts through the perspective of 1970s Singapore, and how did this time period serve as a rich repository of materials and information for the entire presentation?

I stumbled upon the Music for Everyone posters in the National Archives of Singapore and when I saw them, I was really blown away. Some of these posters were beautiful, but other posters were rather amateurish, which I find quite charming actually. I reproduced some of these posters as banners and watercolours for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted to retain that aesthetic, and that element of nostalgia and amateurism. The other reason for this reproduction was its content. The curator of the exhibition, Michelle Ho, and I had a discussion about using these works as they are. I felt that all I needed to do was to find the right processes and materials in adapting them. On the other hand, Michelle was of the opinion that we had to interrupt or disrupt it, altering the posters in some way in order to add value to it.

Personally, I think there are two advantages to retaining everything as is. These materials can help us in making a comparison between what we have now versus what was happening in the 1970s. The other advantage to this is historical accuracy. I wanted to show the material to audiences by representing them in a fair manner. Maybe it comes back to how I see myself as a bridge between an audience and my subject matter, not just oriented towards the viewer but towards the object as well. 

The exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore features re-presentations of some of your previous works, including You and I and Manifesto for Bad Music. Why include some of your previous works in this return show, and what sort of new questions would you like to open up by having them in the mix?

The Singapore presentation differs to the one in Venice in two main ways. Firstly, we’ve added more historical documentation to the return presentation. For example, we’re reproducing material such as newspaper articles about the Music for Everyone concert series for the Singapore presentation. With the material, you can really see the concerted efforts, on the part of the state, to get people interested in music and culture. It was about bringing culture to the masses, and this is something the government is still doing today. It also invites reflection around what has worked, what hasn’t worked and what needs to change. Have things changed? Who’s taking responsibility over policies? With the historical material presented, you’ll see that there was a huge emphasis on Western music and local, ethnic musical traditions. Music was used as a diplomatic tool, with choirs coming in from the other ASEAN countries and military bands. There is a clear agenda underlying all of this, and this is why I didn’t want to embellish the material.

The other component we’ve expanded on is the addition of some of my older works. We wanted to show these works in Venice as well, but as a result of various constraints, decided to make the Venice presentation a little more compact. We’re thankful that we now have more space at the National Museum of Singapore to include them. The three works that are being added into the exhibition (Dusk to Dawn Choruses, You and I, and Manifesto for Bad Music) all deal with amateurism, collaboration and the spirit of egalitarianism. It ties in very well with the works that were made for Venice, but I also see these older works serving as a counterpoint. When we talk about variations on a theme, as per the exhibition’s title, what kind of variations are we presenting? This is an artistic and curatorial proposition on the part of Michelle and myself, in contrast to the state-prescribed vision of what Music for Everyone is. Together, all these added components form a picture that is even larger than the one we presented in Venice last year.

The audience you have at the Venice Biennale is quite unique. The art world convenes in Venice for the Biennale, and people typically only spend three or four days there. I’ve been to most editions of the Venice Biennale since 2009, and time is really at a premium, so I feel that if I could make a Pavilion that compelled audiences to stay for more than twenty minutes, that’s good enough. And Recorder Rewrite is already fifteen minutes long. Given the entire Biennale environment, I didn’t want to overwhelm the viewer with too many works. The audience in Singapore is very different. You have, in a sense, a captive audience who is also more likely to engage with the presentation on a deeper level because it deals with national history. As a solo presentation at the National Museum of Singapore, we felt that the expanded show makes a lot more sense. And we also took a more ‘pop’ approach in terms of exhibition design, with lots of vibrant colours, to make it accessible.

Michelle called this expanded Singapore presentation of Music for Everyone a remix, but it’s also a redux, in the sense that it was our original plan to include more artworks in Venice. My works are quite modular in that you can pull out and combine works that I’ve made from different periods of time. There’s a range in terms of material, tone and how they are produced. Some of my works are made in my studio but there are also collaborative projects. I see my entire art practice actually as an open-ended system where you can patch things together to form an exhibition. There are different aspects in my art practice that can be highlighted. In this show, we’re focusing on what Michelle calls “purposeful play and the art of empathy” as a counterpoint to the officially formulated idea of music for everyone.

I see my entire art practice actually as an open-ended system where you can patch things together to form an exhibition. There are different aspects in my art practice that can be highlighted.

You and I, Song-Ming Ang
2012 – 2018, Installation View at the National Museum of Singapore

Credit: Marvin Tang

¹⁰ Manifesto for Bad Music, Song-Ming Ang
2011, Installation View at the National Museum of Singapore

Credit: Marvin Tang

With the National Museum of Singapore, you also get a mix in terms of visiting crowds. A significant amount of visitors to the museum are young families with children.

It’s a really great thing that parents are bringing their children to museums, and I’m also really happy that they get to see my artworks. My artworks don’t necessarily look like art and the simplicity or mundanity of the works can actually be challenging to viewers, but we’ve had great feedback for the show since it opened. I got forwarded quite a few videos of children watching Recorder Rewrite, looking like they’re entranced, swaying and dancing along. This really brings me joy.

The recorder is an instrument that many of us do not think of fondly. Beyond being associated with prepubescent adolescence, the instrument itself makes a sound that can be characterised as shrill and hollow. It takes centre stage in all its full glory with Music for Everyone, and in various formats. Do you find yourself drawn to polyphony, or even cacophony, and why or why not?

As an artist, I’m constantly thinking about how to compose. Tone, harmony, space, negative space, consonance and dissonance — these are things that many artists think about, and these concepts exist in music too. Polyphony and cacophony feature very strongly in free jazz and experimental music, so yes, I’m sure there are traces in my work. Actually the different sections of Recorder Rewrite explore polyphony and cacophony to large extents. Many of my collaborative projects also perform a kind of polyphony, of integration or recombination.

Cacophony and noise as well as dissonance have always fascinated me, and they are especially relevant in relation to the world that we live in now. Noise can be so many things, there are so many different ways to define it, and it can be positive and negative. Fake news can be noise, but John Coltrane’s sheets of sound can also be noise. I like how noise itself can be such a contested term and terrain, but also how it can be so inclusive in its definition. 

As an artist, I’m constantly thinking about how to compose. Tone, harmony, space, negative space, consonance and dissonance — these are things that many artists think about, and these concepts exist in music too.


¹¹ Recorder Rewrite, Song-Ming Ang
2019, Trailer
Music For Everyone: Variations on a Theme is now open. The exhibition will run at the National Museum of Singapore until 8 November 2020.
More information about the exhibition can be found here.




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