Samson Young’s artistic practice grew out of the strong foundations of his classical training as a musician and composer. His interest in historical and sociopolitical subjects, and his skill in breaking these into components of music consisting of beats and signs, allow him to reveal the political nature of sound and to connect it with history, place, and time in a unique way. He does not limit himself to any particular medium or format, but retains a formal, rigorous approach to sound, as a composer would – this is evident in his works.

In recent years, Samson Young has established himself as a multidisciplinary artist, with exhibitions in major art institutions around the world. Each time, he has created exciting new works, including a live sound performance in Nocturne (2015), a mixed-media installation in Mastery of Language Affords Remarkable Power (2016), and a multimedia walk with site-specific video and live performance elements in So You Are Old by the Time You Reach the Island (2016). These works offer a glimpse into Young’s diverse interests, including the history and politics of Western music-writing systems, the ambiguous relationship between sound and warfare, and the history and making of bells as artefacts that define ways of uniting or separating communities and individuals. It has been interesting to see Young translate his compositional techniques and procedures in a cross-cultural context, to explore social, philosophical, and political questions within the realm of contemporary art.

In addition to its distinct sonic qualities, Young’s work has always had an element of experimentation. It is underpinned by extensive research and takes various forms, such as drawings, objects, and sound and video recordings. Examining his work in detail, one can also catch a glimpse of his unique way of thinking – how his thoughts germinate and develop organically, like a spider’s web that stretches outward, catching ideas along the way. 

More about Samson Young: