Samson Young

Variations of 96 Chords in Space

Samson Young 楊嘉輝, ‘Variations of 96 chords in space (feat. William Lane)’, 2022-2023, Video/Film/Animation, 4-channel videos with 6 channels of audio (composition for viola, crotales, woodblock, self-playing piano, e-bows on piano strings, electronic sounds, water fountain, painted screens, and custom software), Petzel Gallery

Fotografiska Shanghai’s inaugural exhibition Samson Young: Variations of 96 Chords in Space merges variations of images, colors, and music. Different mediums are combined through machine algorithms that arrange and layer them in both ordered and random sequences. The artist will showcase Variations in the 96-Chord Space, a video installation piece that combines computer programming, music, and performance in Fotografiska Shanghai’s multimedia exhibition space. Variations of 96 Chords in Space (Feat. William Lane), 2022–2023, filmed in a theater in Hong Kong, this work shows a variety of instruments being played by Young and performer William Lane, including a woodblock, viola, crotales, and a self-playing piano. Additionally, a speaker plays both electronic and recorded sounds generated by the artist, while their pitch materials are associated with specific RGB colors.

About the Exhibition

“I started with a chart of 96 ‘color chords,’ writes Young in the exhibition program published to accompany Frames and variations. “There are 12 hues of color within the set. Each hue is associated with a key area: lighter tints yielded chords with fewer varieties of intervals, and as the color tone gets darker the intervallic relationships within a chord become more varied and complex.”

Each color chord came with a specific choreography of musical play, captured by four distinct camera angles that were shot twice (the first with Young, the second with Lane and Young). As the instruments played, the proximity of the microphones moved closer and further away from the source and captured the nuances of their sounds—their softness and sharpness as they reverberated with each take, while their assigned color illuminated the theater. Young also cut different arrangements between the microphones to create a dynamic mix. A playback program stitches the individual scenes together in different ways, and shuffles their order of appearance to create endless variations.

About the Artist

Multi-disciplinary artist Samson Young works in sound, performance, video, and installation. He was the recipient of the BMW Art Journey Award, a Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction in Sound Art and Digital Music, and in 2020 he was awarded the inaugural Uli Sigg Prize.

He has exhibited at venues such as the Guggenheim Museum, New York; Gropius Bau, Berlin; Performa 19, New York; Biennale of Sydney; Kochi-muziris Biennial; Shanghai Biennale; Guangzhou Triennial; Sonic Acts Biennial, Amsterdam; Boras Art Biennale, Sweden; National Museum of Art, Osaka; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul; Ars Electronica, Linz; documenta 14: documenta radio; and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, among others. Selected solo projects include: the De Appel, Amsterdam; Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf; Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh; SMART Museum, Chicago; Centre for Contemporary Chinese Art & Manchester International Festival, Manchester; M+ Pavilion, Hong Kong; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Ryosoku-in at the Kenninji Temple, Kyoto; Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne; and Jameel Art Centre, Dubai, among others. His works are in the collections of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Modern, UK; M+ Museum, Hong Kong; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Museum of Contemporary Art Busan, Busan; the Israel Museum of Contemporary Art, Jerusalem; Jameel Art Center, Dubai; Kadist Foundation, Paris & San Francisco; ifa - Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, Stuttgart & Berlin; Sunpride Foundation and K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong; Fosun Foundation, Shanghai; SMART Museum of Art, University of Chicago; University of Salford Art Collection, Manchester; Sigg Collection, Switzerland; r/e Collection, Madrid; Taguchi Art Collection, Tokyo; Akeroyd Collection, Burger Collection and Living Collection, Hong Kong; and the UBS Art Collection, among others. Samson Young studied music, philosophy and gender studies. He was Hong Kong Sinfonietta’s Artist Associate in 2008, and graduated with a Ph.D. in Music Composition from Princeton University in 2013. He was the founder of sound art & experimental music group CMHK, and a member of the Tomato Grey artist collective.