Slow Qin and Resembling Shan Shui _ Tuned To Site

Echo Ho  (2007 / 2012)

A progressive work is carried out through the 5 years under the title Resembling Shan Shui_tuned to site. I will investigate alternative methods of field recording by researching and performing reflections on urbanization. I will use self made musical instruments for interventions in the cityscape. The instrument will not only engage in realtime sampling and playing, it will also enable me to generate and interpret sensorial data such as climatic measurements of urban living environment by meaning musification. Meanwhile I explore new strategies for the art of composition, performance and presentation.

I began with what I initially called the “Slow Qin" project in summer 2007. I conceptualized and built a electric plexiglas GuChin with a micro controller and various of sensors and regulation knobs inside and on the top it’s transparent body. I was able to use this instrument as an interface to control the A/V software in my computer while I playing „normal“ tunes. “Slow Qin" alludes to the Chinese traditional 7 strings wooden sitar (GuQin), it resembles it’s ancestor exactly in musical scale and tuning, later I took one step back to practice on the original instrument in 2009 which brought me back deeply into the study of the history, culture and philosohpy of GuQin. The practice of „going back“ itself has a place in ancient Chinese culture: To derive inspiration from studyingancient Qin Players' impressions of the themes of melodies can be related to the ancient idea of taking this inspiration from nature itself.

For example, traditionally, Qin players travelled with their Qin and played outdoors in places of outstanding natural beauty. 

I investigate ways to further develop the previous project with new approaches: Resembling Shan Shui _ tuned to site adapted the traditional Quin methodology of onsite performance for the urban context.

For the Chinese intellectuals, Shan Shui (the coexistence of mountain & water) have long been considered the key to unlocking the mysteries of the universe and reconciling the life of the individual and of society. It also refers to the art of landscape painting, extended to include gardening and landscape design. Drawing upon the traditional symbolism of Shanshui painting, these works in fact reflect the insignificance of human scale compared to the vast expanses of nature. Today urban planners are creating a synthetic nature on a much greater scale.

Unlike my ancestors, I traveled with my Slow Qin through the cityscape under the conduct of change and try to bring the strings in tune with the specific sites.