Kunsthall Trondheim continues the fall programme with a presentation in two parts by Taiwanese artist Hong-Kai Wang. In connection to Hong-Kai Wang’s exhibition she presents the performance The Broken Orchestra Live in Trondheim at Dokkhuset Trondheim, October 9, 2013, 19.00.
Hong-Kai Wang is an artist who works mainly with sound. Her practice includes processes involved in the production and performance of sound as well as their political and social contexts, and, not least, the organisation of listening. In several of her pieces she has employed collective processes, discussions and workshops.
For the exhibition at Kunsthall Trondheim, we have chosen to present her work Music While We Work (2011) which was developed in collaboration with a group of retired sugar factory workers in her hometown Huwei. The workers recorded sounds from their former workplace and this became the basis for an audio-visual installation. For Wang, working collectively with sound has political implications; it is not only about the narrative each project seeks to create but also who is in control of the process. She assumes a critical position vis-à-vis the (auditory) document and the recording process.
The installation Music While We Work is presented together with a documentary on the making of the project. We follow the former workers in their process of remembering the sounds and their history. Due to their understanding of the sounds of the factory, obtained through the profound knowledge of the process and the collective experience they have from many years of working life, they take on new roles as mediators and interpreters.
In an interview in Artforum 2013 Hong-Kai Wang says:
“My academic training was in political science. I think my interest in sound actually stems from my own social alienation in New York as a foreigner, while trying to learn English. To try to understand, or even speculate about, all of the confusing sound and information around me became very important to me. It became a form of agency, a daily existence. This is why the idea of listening as a form of organization is pivotal to me.
We all understand that listening is a very private and personal thing, but I’m actually interested in how it can be shared, and how we relate to one another and negotiate understandings and misunderstandings—and also how we don’t.”
Hong-Kai Wang is based in Vienna. She has exhibited worldwide. Music While We Work is currently on show at MOMA, New York, as part of the exhibition Soundings: A Contemporary Score. Recent activities include the project What’s the musical consequence of change? at Arnold Schoenberg Center, Vienna.