Field recordings, oral histories, and musical compositions are among the many tools sound artists use to reflect collective memories and emotions. However, in this time when the ability to transmit ideas and stories relies increasingly on digitally shareable formats, the use of sound as an archival tool to document and disseminate cultural histories has become increasingly vital to many sound art practices.
On November 3rd, artists Elaine W. Ho and Yenting Hsu shared examples of their recent work with sound, which ranges from site specific installations to online radio broadcasts. After these introductions to their individual practice, Hsu and Ho came together for a conversation on how audio recording can preserve specific cultural contexts and at the same time be employed as a means of chronicling singular personal narratives.
Elaine W. HO works between the realms of time-based art, experimental publishing and urban practice, using multiple vocabularies to explore the micropolitics, subjectivities and alter-possibilities of an intimate, networked production. She is the initiator of HomeShop (2008-2013, Beijing), and more recent collaborations— including Display Distribute (2015-ongoing), • • PROPAGANDA DEPARTMENT (2017-2021) and Radio Slumber (2021, with Amy Suo Wu)—continue to ask questions about the sociopolitics of syntax amidst the architectures of late capitalism. Her work has been previously presented on a boat named Eleonore, docked along the Danube River (Linz, 2016), at the Singapore Biennale (2019), Seoul Mediacity Biennale (2018), Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart (Berlin, 2017), the Power Station of Art (Shanghai, 2016), Guangdong Times Museum (Guangzhou, 2021/2015), Spring Workshop (Hong Kong, 2015), Tate Modern (London, 2014) and on various street corners, among other places. She likes to drink coffee and tea mixed together and is a frequent contributor at www.iwishicoulddescribeittoyoubetter.net.
Yenting Hsu investigates the cultural context and texture of sounds. Her works often reflect the relationship between sounds, environment, individual and/or collective memories and emotions. Using field recordings as her primary source material interwoven with electronic sounds and objects, Hsu keeps exploring and experimenting documentary and fiction/ narrative and imaginary elements of recorded sounds. Mixing with other art mediums and disciplines, Hsu creates installations, performances, audio documentaries, electroacoustic music and more. She also collaborates with dance theaters and films as a sound designer/composer. Her work has been shown at Taipei Artist Village, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taitung Art Museum, ChengLong Wetlands International Environmental Art Project (Taiwan), Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (Australia), Arte Radio (France), Lacking Sound Festival (Taiwan), Liquid Architecture (Australia), Asian Meeting Festival (Japan) in Taipei Arts Festival, among others. Website: www.suotsana.net.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.
Sound as Archive with Elaine W. Ho and Yenting Hsu is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.