Video Art Program[The 46th Program] Samson Young


Muted Situation #1: Muted Classical Quartet, 2014, color, sound, 17 min. 10 sec.
Muted Situation #2: Muted Lion Dance, 2014, color, sound, 7 min. 21 sec.

We make use of various senses to grasp things. And information derived from sound accounts for an overwhelming amount of our perception.
Samson Young, who was formally trained as a composer, uses a wide range of approaches to call attention to the existence of sound. In Muted Classical Quartet, for example, he forces the musicians to perform without actually playing. This results in a piece in which only the sounds of the performers breathing and their fingers pressing on their instruments are audible. Meanwhile, in Muted Lion Dance, the movements of the dance unfold in silence, accompanied only by the sound of the dancers exchanging signals and their footsteps. This makes us aware of the performers’ communicative acts, normally drowned out by the music, as they emerge in the form of sounds. These varied sonic states, which lurk in the shadows of a single dominant sound, can be seen as metaphors for a political situation in which a dominant voice causes us to ignore the existence of other voices.

Samson Young:
Born in 1979 in Hong Kong, where he also resides. Completed a B.A. in music and gender studies at the University of Sydney in 2002. Completed a Ph.D. in music composition at Princeton University (U.S.A.) in 2013. Received an honorary mention in the Prix Ars Electronica and the jury selection award in the Japan Media Art Festival in 2012. Named Artist of the Year (Media Art category) by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council in 2013. Received the BMW Art Journey Award in 2015.