In ‘Parts and Labour’ (2012), Song-Ming Ang spent four months as an apprentice in a Berlin piano workshop, salvaging a used piano by learning how to disassemble it, change its strings, reassemble it, and finally tune it back to playable condition. Presented as a 26-minute HD video, the result is an intimate documentation of the artist's interaction with the instrument. Intended as a rule-based composition, Ang's work emerges in the tradition of avant-garde American composers, recalling John Cage's chance operations; Alvin Lucier's attention to the physical aspects of sound; and La Monte Young's instructional score "Draw a straight line and follow it".
Ang uses music as his starting point to produce artworks and performances from the overlapping positions of an artist, fan, and amateur. These rule-based compositions consist of pushing an idea to its logical conclusion, or constructing situations in which events unfold.
About Song-Ming Ang
Channeling his passion for music into installations, videos, and public art projects, Song-Ming Ang explores this universal means of expression in all its variety and nuance. Though he initially attempted to be a musician, he turned to visual art, explaining: “I realized that to be truly experimental, I would have to embrace the spirit of experimenting rather than reproducing the aesthetics of experimental music. It was then that I decided to make art about music, so I could stand outside music while being close to it.” Ang wants us to be close to music, too, and, through his work, he aims to reveal the ways it permeates our lives and society. In Yesterday Mobile Karaoke (2011), he set up a mobile karaoke booth in Singapore, inviting passersby to sing songs from their past, creating new communities in the process.
Singaporean, b. 1980