Blog, Edition 2016, TC 2016

Insulted lemon forming the jam


The modulations and control of a process, a system by its results or effects.
Trying hard to prove our existence.
Celebrating the disappearance of an imagined existence.
Grasping something that could just fade out after 4 seconds or everything that slowly vanishes.

Insulted Lemon Jam formed together by sitting together in a Thai Restaurant by Baker Street. Waitress threw down a salted lemon drink as ordered by surprise then to disappointment of what the context was. Chatter, laughter and discussion of informal ideas coming together to combine different practises of sound and film to become a band.

The idea to meet continuously, bring to the table of known material, new material and explore materials we haven’t had the chance to explore. Practising in a way of exploration, but also narrowing down our imagination of different possibilities. This is a start to self-reflect and questioning of how to break the limitations and extremities of sound. To impose awareness to the disorientated of information and insight, whilst discovering the uncertainty and suffering of ones endurance through this process of collaboration.

Through this process of interference of ones practice from fine arts, film, sound art and music performance. The coordination over the consideration of building up a jam band, can lead one to self-critic and not self-doubt, but to ponder into ones obscurity. This also creates the pool of personal decisions over professional expectation. Through the jams, discovering new formations of different roles and the uncertainty of each jam session. What to explore, what could have been better, where and how can we create this space for the audience, and what are our roles in the context. Different sites of the jam affected each session, energy levels and environmental inspiration effected how we worked together as a group and as individuals.

Connecting Space in North Point provided a neutral and somewhat ‘safe’ zone to create the material developed through the first two jams. Implementing electronics, and pre recorded material to the table to coordinate with like traditional acoustic Chinese instruments; Gu Zheng, Chinese bells and percussion. The first presentation displayed the beginning of the uncertainty but also playing off the feedback of what we had already been worked on within the group but not disclosing exactly what we were further developing. To keep it open but also question the system of practice and exploration discourse. These processes of reworking, restoring, transforming and reforming can generate a set of questions upon question that may unveil many unspoken truths and revelations of system. Within the system confusion of interchanging roles and indecisive decisions can create dissatisfactory emotions of blurred and pounding heads. Strong discomfort and outburst of emotion flow creates transformative direction and to make the right choices at the right time.

The Kaitak campus of Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University in Choi Hong provided an open space where we were able to explore possibilities of a less furnished, indoor and outdoor areas instead of a white box. A squash room provided many sessions, overlapping spaces within other groups, lead to peering through the window onto the basketball court. An outdoor space, the unstable weather forecasts, intensity of the sun rays and mosquitoes buzzing around had implementing measures to consider. The jams were not just performance but a power game. How everyone used sound to strive for one’s role and position was a political action. Every concern and decision turned to be part of the outcome that we saw and we heard. Placement of each individual, loud speakers, subwoofer and instruments sometimes considered and trailed however sometimes carelessly thrown together to achieve something from each session. It didn’t need to be harmonic, but it honestly reflected the reality and relationship between the four of us.

We experimented different settings in every jam, renewed our ideas every time, but nothing was wasted. The accumulated experience of different explorations helped us to cope with every changing and spontaneous situations. The final setting of the performance was something we didn’t expect. The heavy rain condition was something we couldn’t control but we turned it into an advantage for our performance. We set our tent in low level and we played inside it. Audience who stood outside could listen to the sound we made, but they could only see our half bodies under the heavy rain. If they wanted to know what’s going on and how we made the sound, they had to bow their body to come into the tent and stand or squat in somewhere in the small space to see the performance. The tent unexpectedly-designed to be low level created an intimate and private space for the performance. It was also different to a performance on an ordinary stage – everyone can never see the same face of the performance. By different ways of seeing or listening, the experience everyone took would be unique.

Throughout the whole collaboration, we could never expect what we would encounter, but the certain thing is to embrace the uncertainties.