M+, at the West Kowloon Cultural District, and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC) are pleased to announce Samson Young: Songs for Disaster Relief World Tour, an expanded adaptation of Hong Kong’s highly successful participation in the 57th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale, entitled Samson Young: Songs for Disaster Relief. The exhibition in Venice drew more than 130,000 visitors during its six-month-long run and received enthusiastic acclaims from the international press and from the public. This first exhibition of 2018 at the M+ Pavilion—and the pavilion’s sixth overall—will be open to the public from 9 February through 6 May 2018.

Samson Young: Songs for Disaster Relief is the third collaboration between M+ and the HKADC over Hong Kong’s participation at the Venice Biennale, following the solo presentations of Lee Kit and Tsang Kin-Wah, held in 2013 and 2015, respectively. With Samson Young: Songs for Disaster Relief World Tour, M+, with support from the HKADC, is ensuring that Hong Kong audiences have the opportunity to see the internationally celebrated presentation at the Venice Biennale in a new, locally adapted exhibition, as was in the two previous Hong Kong participations.

Suhanya Raffel, Executive Director of M+, describes the exhibitions in Venice and Hong Kong as a confirmation of the growing international presence of M+ and the HKADC, and of the two organisations’ unflagging commitment to Hong Kong art. She asserts, ‘By continuing to collaborate on Hong Kong’s participation in the Venice Biennale—the most important forum for contemporary art in the world—M+ and the HKADC have made crucial contributions to Hong Kong artists gaining a greater global resonance, while also raising the standard for the this quickly growing and maturing community.’

Winsome Chow, Chief Executive of the HKADC, notes, ‘In Venice, Samson Young: Songs for Disaster Relief received wide critical acclaim along with public appreciation. Since 2001, when the HKADC first participated in the Venice Biennale, Hong Kong artists have become increasingly recognised on the world stage. We are glad to share this international success with Hong Kong audiences.’

Doryun Chong, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of M+, is Consulting Curator of the exhibition. He emphasises the evolving nature of the collaboration between M+ and the HKADC: ‘Building on the successes of the past two editions co-organised by M+ and the HKADC, we made sure that we continue to find new ways of contributing to the growth of the contemporary art community in Hong Kong. For this edition, we invited a guest curator for the first time to organise the Venice as well as the Hong Kong exhibitions, and I am extremely proud that the selected curator, Ying Kwok’s participation has both enriched the project and deepened our engagement with the local art community.’

Samson Young: Songs for Disaster Relief World Tour explores the popularity of charity singles—songs recorded for specific charitable causes. Following a great success in Venice, the exhibition comes to Hong Kong on a ‘world tour’ that brings together the works presented in Venice as well as a newly commissioned piece. Ying Kwok, Guest Curator, explains, ‘In 2014, Bob Geldof and a large group of artists attempted a remake of the classic 1980s single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” to support the West African nations in their fight against Ebola. Samson Young felt that the remake was obsolete and out of time, and this reaction set him on a journey to explore issues that arose through the recording of charity songs.’ The result was Samson Young: Songs for Disaster Relief and now this ‘world tour’, which comprises, in Kwok’s words, ‘objects, performances, and sound installations that together constitute a distinct audiovisual experience, a body of work that prompts reflection, reimagining, and rethinking of our past and our current ways of life.’

Works presented in the exhibition include Palazzo Gundane (homage to the myth-maker who fell to earth), a video and sound installation that stages the story of a fictional South African musician who wrote a song in response to ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’; We Are the World, as performed by the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions Choir, a muted performance of Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie’s iconic charity single; Lullaby (World Music), a video that refers to Hong Kong televised charity programmes; Risers, an installation of a sculptural stage and a neon light that reads, ‘The world is yours, but also ours, but basically yours’; and a new work entitled Carillon, a self-playing piano that echoes this muted choral performance;

To accompany the exhibition, M+ is launching M+ Essential Editions, a series of artist collaborations and pop-ups that takes a fresh look at consumer culture. This first edition by Samson Young is a pop-up store that takes the form of a fictional musician’s dressing room on the ground floor of the M+ Pavilion. The items for sale are part of the stories told by Samson Young in the exhibition.

Samson Young: Songs for Disaster Relief World Tour is curated by Ying Kwok, Guest Curator, with Sonia So, Assistant Curator, Special Project, and Doryun Chong, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of M+ acting as Consulting Curator.

A series of free programmes accompanies the exhibition. For details and to register for these performances, talks, and tours, please visit https://www.westkowloon.hk/songsfordisasterrelief

 

Remarks

About M+
Hong Kong’s museum of visual culture—encompassing twentieth- and twenty-first-century visual art, design and architecture, and moving image from Hong Kong, China, Asia, and beyond—will be one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary visual culture in the world. Located adjacent to the Art Park on the Victoria Harbour waterfront, the museum building, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

About the West Kowloon Cultural District
Located on Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour, the West Kowloon Cultural District is one of the largest cultural projects in the world. Its vision is to create a vibrant new cultural quarter for Hong Kong. With a complex of theatres, performance spaces, and M+, the West Kowloon Cultural District will produce and host world-class exhibitions, performances, and cultural events, and will provide twenty-three hectares of public open space, including a two-kilometre waterfront promenade.

About the Hong Kong Arts Development Council
Established in 1995, the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC) is a statutory body set up by the Government to support the broad development of the arts in Hong Kong. The major roles of HKADC are to fund, support, and promote the broad development of the arts, including literary arts, performing arts, visual arts, as well as film and media arts in Hong Kong. Aiming to foster a thriving arts environment and enhancing the quality of life of the public, HKADC is also committed to facilitating community-wide participation in the arts and arts education, encouraging arts criticism, raising the standard of arts administration, and strengthening the work on policy research.

Annex

General Information

Exhibition Period:

9 February – 6 May 2018
11 am – 6 pm
Wednesday to Sunday and public holidays
Closed on 16 and 17 February 2018

Location:
M+ Pavilion, West Kowloon Cultural District

For further information, please visit the website at: https://www.westkowloon.hk/songsfordisasterrelief

Artist: Samson Young
Samson Young (b.1979) is an artist and composer based in Hong Kong. Young's diverse practice draws from the avant-garde compositional traditions of aleatoric music, musique concrète, and graphic notation. Behind each project is an extensive process of research, involving a mapping of the process through a series of ‘sound sketches’ and audio recordings. His drawing, radio broadcast, performance and composition touch upon the recurring topics of conflict, war, and political frontiers.

Young was the inaugural winner of the BMW Art Journey Award at the Art Basel Hong Kong 2015. His recent solo projects include Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan (2015); Team Gallery, New York (2015); Para Site, Hong Kong (2016); Experimenter, India (2016); and Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Germany (2016).

As a practising musician, Young is the member of multiple bands and has collaborated with ensembles and orchestras worldwide. He has participated in international music and performing art festivals including Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, Darmstadt; Fusebox Festival, Austin; New York Electronic Art Festival, New York; Tonlagen Festival, Dresden; Transart Festival, Bolzano; and MONA FOMA Festival of Music and Art.

Guest Curator: Ying Kwok
Ying Kwok is an independent curator who is noted for her inventive curatorial approach, often centered on ‘boundaries of collaboration’ between curators, artists, and the wider community. She is the curator of the Chinese Arts Centre in Manchester in the UK between 2006 and 2012.

Since 2013, Kwok became an independent curator working internationally. She co-curated Harmonious Society, as part of Asia Triennial Manchester 2014, from longing to belonging with Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art in Poland in 2014 and 2016; and recently No cause for alarm at La MaMa Galleria in New York 2016. In 2015, Kwok was awarded the Asia Cultural Council Fellowship to carry out a five-month-long research on participatory and engagement projects in the US. To encourage critical thinking and initiating effective discussions in Hong Kong, Kwok founded the Art Appraisal Club with a group of local art professionals in 2014. They first launched their biannual and bilingual journal Art Review Hong Kong in 2016. Apart from that, the group also provides regular exhibition reviews which are published in magazines and various cultural networks.

Consulting Curator: Doryun Chong
Doryun Chong is the Deputy Director and Chief Curator at M+, a museum of visual culture in Hong Kong. Chong oversees all aspects of curatorial activities of M+, including collection, exhibitions and symposiums, as well as learning and interpretation. Prior to joining M+, he held curatorial positions at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York from 2009 to 2013; the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis from 2003 and 2009; and also at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. He served as the coordinator for the Korean Pavilion exhibition at the Biennale Arte 2001 and co-curated Tsang Kin-wah: The Infinite Nothing, Hong Kong’s project for the Biennale Arte 2015.

Programme Highlights:
Please visit the website for the details of programmes that will be held throughout the duration of the exhibition. Registration and requests for access services is required.

Live Performance
10 February, 4pm

Boomtown Gundane, the fictional musician in ‘Palazzo Gundane (homage to the myth-maker who fell to earth)’, performs a selection of covers and original songs.

Performer: Michael Schiefel, vocal improviser

3 March, 4pm

Keith Wong from a professional a cappella choral group is commissioned to make new works in response to cover songs.

Performer: Keith Wong of Yat Po Singers

28 March, 5pm

31 March, 12pm

A choral performance of one vocal and one muted piece, both of which are well-known classics.

Performer: Kwan Sing Choir

Venue: Theatre 2, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai

21 April, 4pm

James Cuddeford, Concertmaster of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, is commissioned to make new works in response to cover songs.

Performer: James Cuddeford of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta


M+ Essential Editions, M+’s first pop-up store:
M+ Essential Editions is a series of artist collaborations and pop-ups. This pop-up store takes the form of the dressing room of the fictional character Boomtown Gundane. The items listed below are fragments of some of the stories told by Samson Young in the exhibition. Retail price ranging from HK$85 – HK$2,000.

Product Description Editions

‘Do No Harm’ jacquard wool jacket

This is a replica of the jacket Boomtown Gundane wore during his world tour, when he performed his platinum Christmas charity single. ‘Do no harm’ is Boomtown Gundane’s personal motto.

60

Screensaver from ‘Palazzo Gundane (homage to the myth-maker who fell to earth)’

In this animation doubling as a screensaver, a boy dressed in a kilt mimes shooting a gun, accompanied by an elevator music–style composition. The work is housed in a 3D-printed bust of a cowboy. 100

World-tour lapel pin

Pins with the motifs of a bugle and Pythagoras were worn by staff at the Samson Young exhibition in Venice last summer, and many people asked us if they could buy one. In response to the high demand, we’ve produced this souvenir of the world tour and introduced two additional motifs: a cowboy hat, and Ronald Reagan wearing a cowboy hat.

 

‘Tobacco and Oil cassette’ USB drive (limited-edition album)

This is a functioning 8-GB USB drive, but it’s also a limited-edition Samson Young album with two tracks.

Track 1: Tobacco Song
A field recording of a tobacco auctioneer’s song, recorded in North Carolina in 2016 as part of a sound piece commissioned by Frieze Projects at Frieze London 2016. The voice is that of Chuck Jordan, one of the last tobacco auctioneers still active in the United States.

Track 2: Oil Flame
A recording of a gas flare – the burning off of flammable gas released as a part of the oil-extraction process – made in 2017 at an oil field in the city of Williston, North Dakota, United States. Young processed the recording through a simple Python script that he wrote. The script applies a reverb effect to the recording until it is entirely distorted by digital feedback.

500