Sound Meridians ── Cultural Counter-mapping through Sound: Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia

2020.10.28

Curators :

Initiated by TheCube Project Space, the project Sound Meridians—Cultural Counter-mapping through Sound: Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia (hereafter referred to as Sound Meridians) invites curators/artists from four Asian regions (incl. Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia) to organize disparate yet echoing exhibitions by treating Southeast Asian cultural context as their shared text and featuring the sound cultures and creations in their respective countries with commissioned artworks, archives from field survey, audio recordings, videos, and historical documents.

Sound Meridians, the title of this project, owes its inspiration to the concept in traditional Chinese medicine, claiming that human life is sustained by the energy circulating around the meridian system in the human body. In Western anatomy, there is no convincing evidence of meridians, yet there has been empirical verification in the practice of Chinese medicine. This project invokes such a view of corporeality as an imagery metaphor, investigating how sound can communicate different local cultures, put them into circulation, and even transform them into dynamic public spaces, and how sound culture per se can become the medium and material for the topology of history that responds to the historico-cultural development endemic to a place.

Sound Meridians will be exhibited on the ground floor of MoCA, Taipei and divided into four parts. The Taiwan section features the song Rainy Night Flowers and the Evolution of the Sound Apparatus in Taiwan curated by Jeph Lo. It examines the development of modern sound in Taiwan under the influence of the innovative regime of technology, regulations, and culture, so as to outline the evolutionary process of sound machines that serve as the means for modern people’s listening experiences. Artist Chao-Ming Teng is invited to present his ongoing work After All These Years, that shows the historical traces of sound by personifying the famous Taiwanese song Rainy Night Flowers. This part also includes the Talking Drums Radio, a continuing project initiated in 2019, which explores what else is possible for sound to simultaneously serve as a medium for transmission and content for contemplation.

The Philippines section invites scholar Dayang Yraola to present her project Taginting, A Resonant Community of Sound Practice which illustrates the studies on the history of modern experimental sound in the Philippines with profuse and detailed audiovisual archival documents. The Singapore section foregrounds Melantun Records Pop-up: Electronic Dreams of Tsao Chieh curated by musician Chee-Wai Yuen. Artist Ujikaji is invited to represent his work Melantun Records that introduces the oeuvre by electronic musician Tsao Chieh, otherwise long since consigned to oblivion. The Malaysia section highlights Silver Noise: Sound Circuits of Peninsula Malaysia in Parts, on Exile curated by artist Sow-Yee Au, showcasing the emergence, rheology, and different versions of Malaysian national anthem.