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Bani Abidi: ‘What you see in my films is what I know’ Ocula Conversation Bani Abidi: ‘What you see in my films is what I know’

A group of voices accompanies me in the exhibition. They are singing words I cannot comprehend, yet the warm tunes are familiar: folk songs, love songs, songs of longing. There are letters, too. They speak of the quotidian details of a soldier's life: the hardness of the war, sending money to the family, and longing for familiar landscapes, food,...

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Aichi to Okayama: Art in Japan Looks to the Future Ocula Report Aichi to Okayama: Art in Japan Looks to the Future 11 Oct 2019 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

There has been a flurry of triennial and biennial art activity in Japan this year. The Aichi Triennale opened in Nagoya this August, sparking a national debate about the shutting down of a display of formerly censored works—the result of public backlash against a burnt image of Emperor Hirohito and a statue commemorating the women forced into...

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Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum Ocula Insight | Video Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum 16 August 2019

Mark Bradford walks through Mark Bradford: Los Angeles Mark Bradford: Los Angeles at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai (27 July–13 October 2019) is the artist's largest solo exhibition to date in China. In this video for Ocula, Bradford and Diana Nawi, curator of the show, walk through selected works that convey the artist's concerns with...

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Samson Young

b. 1979, Hong Kong

Samson Young's practice centres upon an attempt to re-present and re-interpret lost or overlooked events of socio-political and personal significance. Formally trained in philosophy and composition, Young approaches complex questions of identity and conflict, without imposing solutions or halting productive dialogue. The composer and sound artist's process is deeply invested in rigorous, historically grounded research that often involves Young gathering 'sound sketches' and recordings that eventually make their way into his multimedia works.

Young has produced a new video and 12-channel sound installation, as part of his ongoing series 'Muted Situations', 2014-ongoing, on view as part of the 21st Biennale of Sydney. The series foregrounds the masked or unobserved moments that take place in our everyday experience. By consciously 'muting' the sonic foreground, the less-commonly noticed layers are revealed. Young has written a series of short instructional texts describing hypothetical situations, a few of which he has already staged, to draw attention to unnoticed sounds. Numbered from one to twenty-two, this expanding set of scenarios range from 'Muted Dance Party', 'Muted Non-Violent Protest' to 'Muted Taoist Funeral Ritual of Hell-breaking'.

In the latest iteration of the ongoing project, Muted Situation #22: Muted Tchaikovsky's 5th, 2018, Young invites the Flora Sinfonie Orchester in Cologne to perform Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony in its entirety. The orchestra, however, has been asked to 'mute' the musical notes, suppressing the pitched foreground layer of the composition, and bringing forth the sounds produced by physical actions in a performance - the musicians' focused breath, the turning of pages, or the clicking noises of the instruments' keys.

On the process of muting, Young writes: '... muting is not the same as doing nothing. Rather, the act of muting is an intensely focused re-imagination and re-construction of the auditory. It involves the conscious suppression of dominant voices, as a way to uncover the unheard and the marginalised, or to make apparent certain assumptions about hearing and sounding.' The process has the effect of disrupting the viewer's expectations; when the piercing shriek of a violin fails to come forth, it feels anticlimactic, ridiculous even. Young's situational experiments reveal what is suppressed, enabling us to become aware of another layer of reality underneath the noise.

Biography by Tai Spruyt and Stephanie Berlangieri | Biennale of Sydney Exhibition Team | 2018
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Featured Artworks

Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Show, An Opera for Animals at Para Site, Hong Kong
Closed
22 June–25 August 2019 Group Show An Opera for Animals Para Site, Hong Kong
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, 52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS at Artspace Sydney, Sydney
Closed
18 May–4 August 2019 Group Exhibition 52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS Artspace Sydney
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, An Opera for Animals at Para Site, Hong Kong
Closed
23 March–2 June 2019 Group Exhibition An Opera for Animals Para Site, Hong Kong

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Dismantle the Map: As Demonstrated by 52 Artists and their Actions Ocula Insight
In Collaboration with Artspace Sydney
Dismantle the Map: As Demonstrated by 52 Artists and their Actions 17 July 2019

This essay appears in 52 Artists 52 Actions: Small Acts of Disobedience, co-published by Artspace Sydney and Thames & Hudson Australia in 2019. It is now exclusively published online with Ocula in collaboration with Artspace Sydney. The publication is available to purchase from here.As part of his Instagram intervention for 52 ARTISTS 52...

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One Hand Clapping at the Guggenheim Museum, New York Ocula Report One Hand Clapping at the Guggenheim Museum, New York 31 Aug 2018 : David Xu Borgonjon for Ocula

In the catalogue for One Hand Clapping, the final in a trilogy of commission-based shows focusing on art from Greater China organised by the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation and the Guggenheim Museum New York (4 May–21 October 2018), curator Xiaoyu Weng poses what she admits is a provocative question to consulting curator Hou Hanru: 'Do you think...

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Melbourne Art Shows to See: The Lowdown Ocula Report Melbourne Art Shows to See: The Lowdown 27 Jul 2018 : Carol Que for Ocula

Melbourne Art Week returns to much fanfare this year, taking place between 30 July and 5 August 2018 with the biennial Melbourne Art Fair holding centre stage after its hiatus in 2016 (2–5 August 2018). Situated across two venues within the Southbank Arts Precinct and presenting 40 new and established galleries from Australia, New Zealand and...

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Samson Young Ocula Conversation Samson Young Artist, Hong Kong

Since receiving his PhD in Music Composition at Princeton University in 2013, Samson Young has set up a Hong Kong-based practice predominantly focused on sonic works. These are presented in a wide range of formats including video, drawing, neon, books, and installation, and often involve Young performing in some capacity. For instance, Young...

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In Related Press

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Sydney Biennale review – Ai Weiwei anchors rewarding show that comes of age in its 21st year Related Press Sydney Biennale review – Ai Weiwei anchors rewarding show that comes of age in its 21st year The Guardian : 16 March 2018

There is a simple and quiet work by the Belgian artist Michaël Borremans called The Bread (2012) in this year's Biennale of Sydney. It recalls the work of Flemish 15th century portraits, close and intimate, but it's a modern picture too. It's of a girl's upper body, dressed in a blue top, her hands in front, her gaze downwards. I was fairly certain...

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A look at Hong Kong 20 years after the handover: Hong Kong artists at CFCCA, Manchester Related Press A look at Hong Kong 20 years after the handover: Hong Kong artists at CFCCA, Manchester Art Radar : 10 September 2017

At this year's Venice Biennale, Hong Kong artist Samson Young (b. 1979, Hong Kong) takes his visitors on an exploration of charity songs in the Hong Kong Pavilion. At the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester, however, he takes viewers down quite a separate path. Entitled One of Two Stories, or Both (Field Bagatelles), Young presents an...

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11 national pavilions and exhibition to see at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017 Related Press 11 national pavilions and exhibition to see at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017 Art Radar Journal : 23 May 2017

Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play — United Arab EmiratesCurated by Hammad Nasar, commissioned by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and supported by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, the exhibition features existing, new commissions and re-fabrications of 'lost' works by five UAE-based artists. The show...

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Frieze New York: Modern Complexities Related Press Frieze New York: Modern Complexities Aesthetica : 29 April 2017

This year sees Frieze New York host its sixth edition at Randall’s Island Park from 5 to 7 May. A collection of ambitious presentations from leading international contemporary and 20th century art galleries will be joined by curated sections showcasing emerging artists, site-specific artist commissions and a talks series. Supported by lead partner...

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