Wang Fujui interviewed by Andre Morrison
Chinese text prepared by Yi Lu
English translation by Soundwatch Studio
The Interviewer/Andre Morrison
A:Let’s start with the roots of noise music in Taiwan. The only band i know from that time is, obviously, ZSLO, and when i tried to find some information about them, i found out that the band was formed in some kind of nihilist underground. It was written that there were student movements against government and the radical music underground was one of them, except they were against other student movements as well, so i get a picture in my mind of some nihilist kind of subculture. But maybe i missed something in translation. So please, tell me what was happening then and how you get involved into this.
F:In Taiwan, there were groups like LTK Commune and Zslo. With their Punk anarchistic spirit, they tried to collide with restraints in making music and in thinking. In 1987, with the martial law coming to an end, social movements proliferated. A kind of new-born and uncanny surge began to emerge. In 1990, the slow pace of political reform catalyzed the Wild lily student movement. As college students at the time, we felt the immediate impact of an independent spirit of anti-establishment. The trend also directly influenced young people who made art, music and theatre performance. The emergence of “Noise” magazine can be regarded as a fight against the rigid and meager music system at the time.
台灣早期有濁水溪公社(LTK Commune)、零與聲解放組織(Zslo)團體，試著以龐克(Punk) 無政府主義精神，衝撞音樂/思想創作的束縛。1987年臺灣結束戒嚴，社會運動蓬勃的發展，開始瀰漫著一種新生、不安的騷動，1990年因政治改革的緩慢引發野百合學運(Wild lily student movement)，我們當時剛好是大學學生，獨立與反體制的精神直接衝擊著我們，這股風潮也直接影響當時年輕人藝術、音樂與劇場表演的創作，”Noise”雜誌的出現可視為對當時音樂體系的僵硬與貧乏的反擊。
A: What was your “Noise” magazine about? Only about noise music or there were something else? How many people were reading “Noise”? And how and when it came to an end? Sorry about a lot of questions, but it’s really interesting 🙂
F:”Noise” is a fanzine. I created it because at the time in Taiwan, it was difficult to get information about experimental music. Added my passion for music, I invited people with similar interests to contribute articles and began to publish the magazine in 1993. I also interviewed foreign musicians that I liked by emails and came to know many friends abroad. Coincidentally, we had the chance to release “Nothing To Hear-Nothing To…1985”, an album by The Gerogerigegege from Japan. It contains 56 minutes of “Harsh Noise”. People of the factory in charge of CD mastering thought there must be something wrong with the master and asked me to check. This is the first CD release of noise music released in Taiwan. We produced 500 copies, many of which were actually sold to or in exchange with the U.S. and Europe. And “Noise” also became a DIY record label. The 10th issue of “Noise” was published in 1997. In 1999, I released my first album, “Ching-Shen-Ching – 0.1.2.3”. Since then, I came to concentrate on my own music making. Since it was easy to access information from the internet, the existence of print magazine became relatively minor.
“Noise”雜誌是一本同人誌(Fanzine)，主要是因為當時身處的台灣環境很難獲得實驗音樂的資訊，加上我對音樂的狂熱，所以邀請和收集同好撰寫文章，在1993年開始發行”Noise”雜誌，同時也以信件訪問喜愛的音樂創作者，也因此結識不少國外的朋友，在一次因緣機會下我們發行了日本The Gerogerigegege的” Nothing To Hear-Nothing To…1985″的CD，這張長達56分鐘的”激烈噪音音樂”(Harsh Noise)專輯，CD壓片工廠覺得母帶應該是有問題，還找我親自確認母帶聲音無誤，這是台灣第一張壓製/出版的噪音CD，總共壓製500張，不少張數其實是銷售或交換到歐美，”Noise”也成為自主出版廠牌(DIY Record Label) ，”Noise”雜誌在1997年發行第10期，在1999年出版我個人的”精神經”(Ching-Shen-Ching)專輯”0.1.2.3″後，我將重心轉移到個人創作，當網路資訊愈來愈普及，實體雜誌的存在感相對不是那麼重要。
A: Please tell me about the present of experimental art (not music, that’s another question) in Taiwan. In Russia we have a lot of conservative minded people who think that new art is an evil and it’s “against god”; and government is also very conservative, so we have a laws that affected the freedom of expression in arts, cause else it “could hurt someone’s feelings or beliefs”. Yan Jun wrote an article about the similar conservatism in PRC. From info on your website i know that you did a lot of audio\video installations or expositions since 2000, so i think that the “culture environment” in Taiwan is positive and new art is welcomed. Am i right?
F:Indeed, the cultural milieu in Taiwan is freer. Especially the young people here embrace new cultures and arts. Among the audience of sound art exhibitions and performances, there are lots of young people. Also, many young people devote themselves to making, exhibiting and performing sound art. This is a main drive for my creation in this domain. Yet due to the limited resource in Taiwan, many elder people devoted their entire lives just to make a living and tended to ignore art and culture. For them, art-making was not a normal job. This is also due to the fact that artists confront more and more pressure of social legitimacy as they grow old. So the number of artists that are able to continue such practice in the long term naturally declines. Yet when I perform abroad in the U.S. and Europe, I often saw people of different ages among the audience whereas the majority of the audience is young people.
A: Maybe it’s a stupid question, but contemporary art is very contextual, so sometimes it’s hard to understand the meaning of an art object if you don’t have a “cultural key”. How do you deal with this problem? Are there any explanational boards on your exhibitions? Or you just let people to construct their own opinion? 🙂
F:When sound art-making becomes more and more diversified, it is no longer pure sound making. Through combining different media and interdisciplinary collaborations, we can expand creative possibilities. But since exhibition venues are mainly for visual arts, discussing through angles of contemporary visual art might bring a different perspective. Yet eventually this leads back to the context of sound art-making. We’re still in urgent need of talented people specialized in discourse and curating in the domain. Also, in recent years, I’ve noticed that the visual impact brought by sound art-making to the audience and the attention it arouses are greater than brand new feelings and points of view that are provoked acoustically. My work this year will include minimum visual elements. Yet the sound depicts space and pictures, spaces that are very abstract yet full of imagination, providing a site for feeling the sounds, letting the public experience by themselves.
A: Tell me about your influences, please. I predict there will be a lot of american\european artists in list. Your art to me seems somehow… german or austrian. Also, what about musicians, who have influenced you? Your different works shows different influences, to me again, it’s not like i am always right 🙂 But i hear a touch of Ryoji Ikeda style on “soundwave communication” and some of your visual arts.
F:In my high school days, I spent much of my leisure time in finding all kinds of music that I liked to listen to and movies I liked to see. This was also the very first drive that pushed me to found “Noise”; such a process of seeking things, such experience also cast a great influence on me. One of my favorite films is “Stalker” by Andrei Tarkovsky. The unknown process of seeking is an important drive for me. During the early period of my career, it was between 1995 and 1997 that noise influenced my work the most. After listening to lots of clamorous noise performances, I came to listen to “Un Peu de Neige Salie”, an album by Bernhard Günter, where you almost hear nothing. The radical contrast brings great impact to the listening experience. On the one hand, noise always involves something radical, chaotic and a trace of anti-establishment. On the other hand, Glitch and Digital Error in digital music open up a another window for me to seek something unknown. In 2002, Zbigniew Karkowski performed and lectured in Taipei, demonstrating how to open non-acoustic files (such as word files, executables, etc.) with Soundhack and take the results as the source of sound. The source is totally unknown and out of control; the creative openness cast a great influence on me. Until now, I still learn and experience as if I were a kid that knows nothing. I always think, “Noise is the very beginning where I had nothing at all.”
高中時期我課餘時間大多花在找尋各種自己喜歡聆聽的音樂和觀看的電影，這也是創立”Noise”雜誌最早的源動力，這種找尋的過程和經驗，也是影響我最深。我最喜歡的電影之一是俄國導演Andrei Tarkovsky的電影”潛行者”(Stalker)，這種未知的找尋對我是很大的驅動力。1995年至1997年是早期創作最受噪音影響的時期，當大量聆聽吵雜噪音的表演，再聽到整張專輯幾乎聽不到甚麼聲音的Bernhard Günter 的”有點變髒的雪”(Un Peu De Neige Salie) ，極端的反差讓人在聆聽經驗有極大的震撼。噪音總是帶點激進、混亂、反體制的色彩，另一方面數位音樂的Glitch、數位錯誤(Digital Error)則開起我開放與未知的另一扇窗，2002年Zbigniew Karkowski在台北表演和演講，示範以Soundhack開起非聲音檔案(例如：文字檔或應用程式執行檔…等)來作為聲音的音源，這音源完全是未知也無法掌控，創作的開放性對我影響很大，直到現在仍以幼蒙的心態來體驗和學習，我一直都認為：「噪音是我一無所有的開始。」
A: Of your visual and audio components of art, which comes first? I mean, i know about your albums without any visualization (“soundwave communication” and your split with torturing nurse), and i am wondering if there is any of your visual works without sounds: paintings, sculptures…
F:Sound is the main medium of my art-making. In 2000, I joined Etat Lab in Taipei and made some interactive visual installations. But I still felt the most for sound art-making. So I concentrated on this kind of art. But what I do is more than pure sound art. I’d like to seek all kinds of possibilities of sound through different essays. For example, one of my works titled “Beyond 0~20Hz” takes sine wave frequencies between 0~20Hz that human can’t hear as its sound source. By using computer software to rapidly switching frequencies and volumes, I make analog loudspeakers produce wrong noise. This is an important step in my early period of making sound installations. More possibilities of sound-making were opened up through sound installations. As for another piece titled “Sound Bulb”, the point is simply the volume. Through a microchip, I control the volume of the feedback produced by small microphones and speakers. The sound of feedback sounds like the chirping of cicadas, bringing something natural. In my art, I try to put sound at the center. Using sounds or works related to sound is relatively more common in art-making now. In comparison, there are few works that really go back to sound art as a creative source. In my work titled “Sound Dots”, I use elements of sound and light. The work consists of a space containing 1000 objects spreading all over; the objects randomly produce sound and light. It is about an unreal feeling in a real space. I spent 6 years to realize the work I had dreamed and imagined. A recent piece titled “Seeing Sound” consists of images but without sound. The images are generated through connecting all kinds of experimental sound frequencies to the video input of a CRT TV. I visually re-think the pictures made through the experimental process and conceive imagination. Sound is not the point here; the piece involves visual representation only and no sound.
我的創作主要是以聲音為主要的媒材，2000年加入”在地實驗”(Etat Lab)，曾經做過一些視覺的互動裝置，不過後來我還是覺得聲音的創作最有感覺，所以之後就專注在聲音藝術的創作上，不過聲音的創作就不單只有純聲音的創作，我希望透過不同的嘗試找尋聲音的各種可能性。作品”超越0~20赫茲”(Beyond 0~20Hz)，就以人耳聽不見0~20赫茲的正弦波音頻為音源，運用電腦軟體快速切換頻率和音量，讓類比的喇叭發出錯誤的噪音，這是我開始聲音裝置創作的重要一步，透過聲音裝置又開拓更多聲響創作可能性。作品”聲泡”(Sound Bulb)作品，就單純以聲音的大小來創作，透過微處理器(Microchip)來控制小型麥克風和喇叭產生的回授聲(feedback) ，回授的聲音聽起來聲似蟬鳴，也帶一股自然的味道。在我的創作儘量以聲音為主體，因為目前藝術創作使用聲音或與聲音相關的作品相對普遍，真正回到聲音創作為根源是比較少的，作品”聲點”(Sound Dots)首次使用聲音和光的元素，是一個空間中佈滿1000個隨機發聲/發光體的作品，一個在現實空間的非現實感受，我花了6年多完成這件一直在夢中想像的作品。近期的作品”聲影”(Seeing Sound)是一件沒有聲音的影像作品，這件作品的影像是透過各種實驗音頻接到到類比電視(Crt TV)的影像輸入端所產生的，我將實驗出來的畫面，重新以視覺思考來構成畫面，非以聲音為考量，所以作品只有畫面呈現而沒有聲音。
About “Sound Dots”, see
About “Seeing Sound”, see
A: Now about experimental music in Taiwan. I don’t know anything about this. Well, i know about you and a bit about Lin Chi-Wei and ZSLO. So i just don’t know what happens now in Taiwanese experimental music scene. Are there any music festivals, shows, big names, interesting people or bands? And do you feel the responsibilr its creation (maybe a big word, but anyway) ?
F:Since 1995, I’ve started to make music in the name of “精神經/Ching-Shen-Ching”. I was studying in San Francisco and met several American experimental sound artists I had communicated during the period I published “Noise”. I was particularly close to Joe Colley and learned lots of ideas from his studio and performing venues. “Harsh Noise” was a trend at the time and I experienced the limits of excessive sensory stimulus in many venues of live sound performances. Thus I wanted to stimulate human brain “nerves” through experimental sounds and images, and to explore an unknown spiritual depth. That’s why I began my sound art-making with the name “精神經/Ching-Shen-Ching” which combines two Chinese terms, “spirit”(精神) and “nerve”(神經). Among my partners at the time, Dino continues to make sound art. With simple equipment, he turns “No-Input” technique into magic. Lin Chi-We, Dino and I keep a long-term friendship on the road of sound art-making. In 2015, we were invited to perform together in the U.K.
1995年我以”精神經”(Ching-Shen-Ching)為名開始創作，當時我在舊金山讀書，我見到不少之前在”Noise”雜誌通信結識的美國實驗音樂創作者，與Joe Colley較為熟識，在他的演出和創作地方，學習不少創作的想法，當時”激烈噪音音樂”(Harsh Noise)是一股風潮，我在眾多的噪音現場表演感到感官過度激烈的侷限，希望透過實驗聲響、影像來激發人腦的”神經”，探索未知的”精神”深層，所以以精神與神經兩個中文字結合的”精神經”(Ching-Shen-Ching)開始聲音的創作。在早期目前仍在創作還有Dino，他以簡單的器材將”無音源輸入”(No-Input)玩到出神入化，林其蔚(Lin Chi-Wei)、Dino和我三人在聲音創作的路途上有著長期的友情，2015年我們一同受邀到英國表演。
Founded in early 2011 in Taipei, Soundwatch Studio consists of two artists, Wang Fujui and Lu Yi. Lu Yi was previously Wang’s assistant. After four years of training and learning, they decided to co-found Soundwatch Studio in the name of Wang Fujui with the expectation of taking part in more related exhibitions and performances together. In April 2015, they were invited to do 3 performances of exchange in the U.K. The first was the inaugural performance for “Shoot the Pianist-The Noise Scene in Taipei 1990-95 Exhibition” at the Birkbeck School of Arts University in London. The second and the third performances were carried out at the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow for Counterflows Festival and in Café OTO respectively; both performances also involved another two artists, Lin Chi-Wei and Dino。
註：響相工作室(Soundwatch Studio)成立於2015年初的台北，該工作室成員為王福瑞和盧藝兩位藝術家，盧藝原先為王福瑞的藝術助手，經過3年的磨練學習，兩人決定共同以王福瑞個人為名的Soundwatch，成立響相工作室(Soundwatch Studio)，希望可以一同協力參與更多的相關展覽與表演。在同年4月受邀至英國進行共三場交流演出，第一場為”射殺鋼琴師-台北90-95噪音現場展”的開幕演出，於倫藝大柏貝克學院進行，隨後第二場以及第三場也在格拉斯哥當代藝術中心的”逆流音樂節”(Counterflows Festival)和Café OTO演出，此活動也包含另外兩位藝術家：林其蔚(Lin Chi-Wei)和Dino。
射殺鋼琴師-台北90-95噪音現場展(Shoot the Pianist-The Noise Scene in Taipei1990-95 Exhibition)
倫藝大柏貝克學院(Birkbeck School of Arts University of London)
格拉斯哥當代藝術中心(Centre for Contemporary Arts Glasgow)
A: The last question. Is there a [modern] cultural connection between Taiwan and PRC? I know that Yao Dajuin is from Taiwan and he influenced a lot of musicians in PRC and now he even lives there. And you did this split album with torturing nurse, and it was released on Huashan recs, which is a Shanghai label, so my point is – is there any possibility of existence of united Taiwan/PRC experimental scene? Or a hint of its possible creation? It’d be great, after all…
F:In recent years, there have been exchanges of sound art between Taiwan and China. Artists of the two places have been connecting one another. Yet since Taiwan is an island, it requires flights to travel between the two sides. In addition to the geographic limits, travel budget is also a question. So there’re not so many exchanges, neither are they so frequent. The future plan of my studio, Soundwatch Studio, involves releasing my own sound art albums under my own brand and publishing related books.
台灣和中國大陸近年來聲音創作的交流一直都在進行， 我們彼此間都有聯繫，只是由於台灣是個海島，交通往來須透過飛行，除了受限地理位置外，往返的經費也是問題，所以沒有太多頻繁的交流。我的工作室(Soundwatch Studio)未來的計畫是公開發行自己廠牌的聲音藝術唱片與相關書籍出版。