AfterLive 下一個現場

當網絡成為日常,則可成為一種現場。

互網聯在我們的當代經驗裡,不再單純是既成內容和資訊的載體,而是早已成為了在人與人的連繫與互動裡,能夠於當下創造內容的一種媒介與維度。網上體驗至今發展出的獨特性與表演性,足以成為一種無可取代的體驗本位,而不是只作為線下體驗的替代或延伸。

《下一個現場》從音樂出發,由張靜瑜、劉曉江、Giovanni Santini、孫禮賢及蘇浩慈五位不同背景的作曲家,在各自的委約作品中,分別闡釋以網上體驗為本位的創作可能性。這一系列的作品,不是單純地製作予觀眾在網上聆聽的音樂聲軌,而是每位藝術家以其各自的自身經驗與創作手法作切入點,透過音樂與及音樂在展現過程中與其他感官資訊的結合,對我們在網絡上的當代經驗作再想像與再定義。箇中探索,涉及不可觸的虛擬與可觸的真實之間的界線、在編排好的互動裡的擺佈與被擺佈、以至聲音文字與影像在瀏覽體驗之中的互釋性與互文性。

一系列作品作品的獨特性,都建立於網上體驗之上。觀眾從網絡上觀賞作品的體驗,都將成為作品呈現的第一手體驗,而這體驗的處境,也是作品的唯一現場。裡頭各樣界限及制約,並非如線下的現實般來自一個客觀的物理定率或自然法則,而是由我們集體經驗裡的慣性與期待所構成。當中各式看似不言而喻的邏輯、規律、矛盾與盲點,其實衍生自我們在這特殊的處境裡的體驗方法。

當網絡成為體驗的現場,當中作品創造與被賦予的表達、論述、語言以至存在方式,則將會成為這個由虛擬建構的現實中,所能呈現的本質與真實。

– 鄺展維 / 策展人

When the Internet becomes our daily reality, it becomes a scene of our experience.

The Internet in our contemporary experience is no longer merely a carrier for existing content and information, but has long become a medium and dimension where content could be spontaneously created by people during contact and interaction. The specificity and performativity developed in online experience have rendered it a kind of unique experiential orientation, something more than an alternative or extension to our real life experience.

AfterLive takes music as the starting point. Five composers of different backgrounds, Annisa Cheung, Lawrence Lau, Giovanni Santini, Larry Shuen and So Ho Chi, have been commissioned to interpret the creative possibilities in orienting towards an online experience in their individual pieces. The works are not merely music tracks to be streamed online; they are, based on each artist’s personal experience and practice, reimagination and redefinition of our contemporary experience on the Internet in the form of music, combining music, as it is presented online, and other sensory information. The pieces explore the boundaries between the intangible virtuality and tangible reality, the state of manipulating and being manipulated in programmed interactions, and the intertranslatability and intercontextuality of sounds, text and images.

The specificity of each piece in the series is built upon online experiences. A spectator’s experience of viewing the work online becomes a first-hand experience of the presentation of the works; meanwhile, the context of the experience becomes the only scene where the presentation takes place. Unlike the offline reality, the boundaries and conditions in such a scene do not come from an objective set of physical laws or orders of nature, but are instead shaped by our habits and expectations from our collective experience. All the seemingly self-evident logic, patterns, contradictions and blind spots from within are derived from our ways of experiencing this specific situation.When the internet becomes the scene for experience, works in such a scene would create, and be granted, expressions, narratives, languages and ways of being that would in turn become the essence and truth exemplified in such a reality constructed by virtuality.

-

委約作曲家 commissioned composers:
張靜瑜 Annisa Cheung / 劉曉江 Lawrence Lau / Giovanni Santini / 孫禮賢 Larry Shuen / 蘇浩慈 So Ho Chi 

參與藝術家 participating artists:
包珺櫻 Bou Kwan-ying / 陳駿軒 Bernard Chan / 陳耀榮 Chan Yiu-wing / 鄭迦南 Cheng Ka-nam / 簡戍凝 / 郭爾君 / 羅曉晴 Jasmine Law / 李一葦 Angus Lee / Calvin Leung Chin-lun / 廖家明 Liao Jiaming / 羅小林 Lo Siu-lam / MAZE ensemble / 吳漢紳 Charles Ng / 吳宇晴 Shelley Ng / 何怡安 Ho Yi On / 潘振濠 Poon Chun-ho / 譚安婷 Tam On-ting / 鄧耀基 Tang Yiu Kei / Francesco Teopini / 董⾔ / 胡皓嵐 Wu Hou Lam / 余林橞 Karen Yu 

策展人 curator:
鄺展維 Charles Kwong

網站設計 website design:
MAJO









Giovanni Santini

Essere is a short Virtual Reality (VR) opera divided in 5 scenes and set on an imaginary island, lost in space and time. The events represented in the scenes take place between sunset and sunrise, in a night where spirits awake.

The whole experience is about memories of a forgotten past, shades of what it was. 

The island contains ruins, signs of an old civilization, wrecked ships, dead and lively vegetation. Stone doors lead to a cave, home to a gigantic statue. The island has been designed to be a fully explorable space, with day and night cycles. The opera is based on a set of events happening on this lively, virtual island. However, there might be more to be discovered than what is shown in this opera…

The songs, speaking about death and love, are also about ancient times and memories. The texts are derived from two ancient Greek poets: Mimnermus and Sapphos.



///Note on VR and spatial audio///

All the scenes are in VR 360. The first scene has also been rendered as non-VR360 in order to allow for additional effects/camera movements that were not functional to the VR360 content. The 360 content can be accessed from a browser on a pc or smart device, while VR content requires to either use a standalone headset (such as Vive or Oculus) or to use a headset for mobile devices (such as Google cardboard). When on YouTube, simply select the VR icon. Standalone headsets might require their own app (e.g., Oculus Quest requires YouTube VR).

For scenes 2, 4 and 5, the audio has been recorded in binaural (spatial audio for headphones). Please use headphones for an optimal experience. The spatial audio is not in ambisonics format, therefore it will not follow the movement of the head.

“Essere” is an Italian word that, as a verb, can be translated quite precisely as “to be” or, more broadly “to exist”. This first meaning refers to the sense of presence proper of Virtual Reality (with various degrees of immersivity). Presence is the perception of being in one place, participating in the events of the environment, although the user is not physically in the space.

As a noun, “essere” has two other meanings.

The first is “creature”, something alive. In this sense, the creature is the island itself.

“Essere” is also a philosophical term (“being”, τὸ ὄν in ancient Greek), used in metaphysics to indicate the eternal and general reason of existence or quality that exists behind the visible experience. Metaphysics (originated in Greece between the VI and the IV century BC) can be defined, etymologically, as “beyond the study of nature”. The essential assumption is that exists a general truth or a general question that goes further or deeper than what our experience can deliver to our senses. In simple terms, there is something greater than what we can directly see and touch. We are in the world of globalization, consumerism and social media. A world where things are not meant to last and where the (possibly measurable) first impression of a short interaction matters way more than any possible articulated reasoning. In this context, the concept of something deeper and general, some “being”, is easily relegated to a memory, to a lost past.

Here why the ruins of an ancient civilization, that remotely remind ancient Greece. And here why ancient Greek poets have been chosen for the songs. As to the content of the texts, the first (Mimnermus) is about death, and the second (Sapphos) is a hymn to Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Such contrast replicates another typical dichotomy (eros and thanathos in ancient Greek). My personal conviction is that the tight relationship between death and love is prodromic to metaphysics.

This experience has neither been created as a replica of any specific historical moment or society, nor with the intention to propose any philosophical convincement. It was rather the will to voice out our forced blindness, as people of our time. Any deep and genuine reflection on reality has to be banished…or to be incarcerated inside an exquisite, refined and articulated academic discussion.

I am not a conceptual/conferential artist.

Consequently, all the explanation only tells a part of the story. I value art as an experience on its own. If words could tell it all, then art would be unnecessary.



/// About the realization of Essere ///

The opera has two major components: virtual world design and audio. Both aspects have been entirely realised by me. For visuals, the chosen development platform was Unity, expanded with custom-made 3D models and with Unity assets. For audio, I wrote the two songs (adapted text and music) and I realized the sound design for the other scenes. The music was mostly recorded with five musicians: Jasmine Law (soprano), Francesco Teopini (guitar), Angus Lee (flute), Shelley Ng (piano), Ho Yi On (percussion). The recordings and audio production were also handled by me.



/// Texts ////

We are like leaves (translated and adapted from Mimnermus, Fragment 2)

We are like leaves 
born in vivid spring,
When they grow quick
Beneath the warming Sunlight 
swiftly brimming
Leaves…. Spring…

Like them we delight in youth’s flowers 
for fugitive time
Knowing neither the bad nor the good
That comes to use from the gods.
Dark twin Dooms stand by:
One brings the grievous old age,
The other death.

Youth is short-lived, 
a beam of sunlight.
And once it’s past, 
this ripeness season,
Darkness comes sweeter than living.
Youth…. Death…

For many burdens the gods set 
to torment humans’ heart:
Our desires meld with our despair
While what we love is taken away.
Youth is behind
And only Hades awaits. 
And weaknesses.

For Zeus, the king, father of gods
Assigns to all a similar share of grief and suffering.

We are like leaves
Born in vivid spring
Lasting like a sunbeam.

Hymn to Aphrodite
(translated and adapted from Sapphos, Hymn to Aphrodite)

Throned in splendor, deathless Aphrodite,
Wile-weaver, Zeus daughter, beguiler, I implore you!
With torments, with sorrow, with pain, Goddess,
Don’t break my mind, don’t crush my spirit, Mistress.

Goddess! Don’t crush me, Mistress!

Come to me, hear my prays, I submit to you!
Leave Zeus’ golden House, come once more like you did:
With your car dragged by sacred doves
Come Aphrodite from the bright sky to Earth’s dusk.

Come! Come here like you did.

You asked: Sapphos whom you desire, 
Who’s cruelly abusing you?
Who the passion bite 
could I summon to soothe?

She runs away from you,
But soon she will be tied to you.

Even if she does not want.

She will be tied to you.

Once more my torments relieve,
Give me what I’m craving for
You most superb Aphrodite, 
Be my comrade, fight with me.

She runs away from you,
But soon she will be tied to you.

-

作曲家暨鋼琴家Giovanni Santini在電腦程式、電腦音樂、聲音處理方面擁有豐富經驗。他於香港浸會大學取得音樂博士學位,論文研究範圍主要是探索能應用於音樂創作及演出的擴增及虛擬實景新技術。Santini曾設計及執行多個為多媒體現場演出及現場聲畫處理而寫的軟件;他所創立的Santini Digital是專門為企業提供技術支援的公司,他同是也是自由身擴增及虛擬實景軟件程式開發員。

Giovanni Santini is a composer and pianist with a strong background in programming, computer music and sound processing. He received a PhD in Music at Hong Kong Baptist University with research focused on an explorative work in new technological applications for Augmented and Virtual Reality in music creation and performance. Santini has designed and implemented several softwares for live performance in the context of multimedia and live audio-visual processing. 

Santini is the founder of Santini Digital, a company specialized in providing technological solutions for other companies. He also works as free-lance developer for Virtual and Augmented Reality software.

www.giovannisantini.com

Essere
1
We Are Like Leaves

The text of this song is translated and adapted from Elegy 2 (or Fragment 2) by the Greek poet Mimnermus. The poem is about the short time of youth, followed by the “grievous old age” and death. Our consumeristic society hides the concept of oldness and refuses death (dead people don’t spend money); and, for example, action movies, by portraying parossistic and hyperbolic ways of dying, can only make us more insensitive. But death shows us our limit as living beings, reveals that something lies beyond any possible experience.
2
The valley of death


This area is filled with dead trees. Spirits roam around this dried out forest. They keep repeating parts of the song you heard in the first scene. Death and memories. Towards the end, you find a trail surrounded by braziers. You find a door.
3
Hymn to Aphrodite


In the cave, spirits are dancing around a statue (arguably Aphrodite). The text of the song is derived from an invocation of Sapphos to Aphrodite. The woman asks the Goddess of Love to be her ally in being loved back by another woman she loves. Although the original poem is quite intimate, in this version it has been transformed in an energetic and almost orgiastic experience.
4
Silent, dark beach


After leaving the cave, you are exploring a beach with some wrecked ships, until you find a mysterious stone… which pushes you away. It is like you are looking for something, but you don’t know what it is.
5
Ascension


You bump into a procession. White spirits are ascending towards the ruins of a temple. You follow them.
performed by
Jasmine Law, soprano
Francesco Teopini, guitar
Angus Lee, flute
Shelley Ng, piano
Ho Yi On , percussion