RPM: Sound Art China
"RPM: Sound Art China" is the first survey exhibition of Chinese sound art in the world. It is a large-scale historic event showcasing the present condition and history of sound art in China. With a fast paced development over ten years, sound art in China has been producing amazing results that deserve worldwide attention. This exhibition is the best opportunity to get to know this field and it focuses on reflexivity, contemporaneity, liveness, sensuality, and social participation.
The theme “RPM (revolutions per minute)” refers to the speed of rotation of the physical media that carry sound used in gramophones, record and CD players. A large part of the progress of sound art has been made possible through the playback of these sound objects. But here, RPM also refers to the speed of historical progress, i.e., the extreme speed of development of sound art in China over the past ten years or so.
Furthermore, the “revolution” in “RPM” has an obvious double meaning. One hundred years of continuous revolutions in the field of sound art in the West has to be completed in China within about ten years of time, due to the country’s unusual historical context. And finally, revolution is turning in a full circle, and that returning to the beginning, the self-reflection in listening, the self-reference to the act of listening and to Chinese culture, are all key concepts in this exhibition.
Core Concepts: Listening, Contemporaneity, History, Reflexivity.
The core of sound art is listening itself. The current emphasis on the physical object, on the visible in global sound art has practically excluded listening and the aural experience in major works. This exhibition showcases works that foregrounds the aural experience, and all conceptual fantasies or theoretical discourse can return to the act of listening here.
And listening is a hyper-sensitive sensory acknowledgment of the present moment. The immediate present is also tied to the local. Mirroring a highly compressed history of Western sonic revolutions, sound art in China immediately faces the problematic of copying versus originality and the crisis resulting from a lack of foundation. Does it have a national character? Will it have a future?… become the latent concerns of this exhibition.
RPM: Sound Art China is divided into three parts: sound art installations, archive of Chinese sound art, and live performance. Besides a large-scale exhibition of sound installations displayed in four large, abandoned oil tanks and a complete archive of sound art in this country, there will also be a top quality sound performance featuring both Chinese and international artists, including Alva Noto (Carsten Nicolai), Jaap Blonk, Merzbow (Asami Akita), etc.