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adventures of a sound.traveller

a space where i hope to share with you the hopefully interesting projects im currently working on / have worked on, the soundscapes all around me that i am constantly discovering and re-discovering (oh, what joys!!!), any other random and delightfully weird thoughts regarding sounds, music and its friends. share with me yours too, please do!

Filtering by Category: projects

The Multitudes Within Us / the films part ii

Yun Qi Wong

The main inspiration for our first film was the project’s theme of embracing multiple personalities within each of us - it featured music from Robert Schumann’s Davidsbündlertänze which were a huge catalyst for me whilst conceptualising the project - the cycle is as brilliantly mercurial in its kaleidoscopic moods as I imagine Schumann to have been in real life (and as he has been documented to have been!), slipping often without warning into a new personality, and gripping in its rawness. It offers one that mind-blowing glimpse into the inner world(s) of Schumann´s soul. The film opens with excerpts from Felix Leuschner´s “leftovers 1”, written for me and premiered in August 2018 - this was the perfect modern take on the many soliloquies we all know so intimately, with Felix´s amazing electronics undertaking the role of my mind's many other selves.

If the project´s theme takes centerstage in the first film, then this second film draws its ideas directly from the music that make up my programme, with the limelight on György Ligeti and Maurice Ravel, the distinctly constrasting musical styles and individual personalities of each composer as well as the stories behind each work, essentially allowing the music to guide our visuals. We hoped to capture that sense of time coming to a standstill, that otherworldly grace and meditative stillness (ingeniously evoked by completely clashing rhythmic lines!) in Ligeti´s En Suspens, and that nervous, unpredictable energy that´s omnipresent in Ravel´s Noctuelles - inspired by these lines by the french poet and friend of Ravel, Léon-Paul Fargue´s: “The nocturnal moths in their barns launch themselves clumsily into the air, going from one perch to another”.

Meanwhile, Isaac Albéniz´s Corpus Christi - a celebration of life and death in unbridled, primitive energy and passion - literally frames the entire film - setting the stage at the beginning, and bringing us back to reality at the end.

Just hangin´ there…(the After shot)

Just gettin´ started…(the Before shot!)

Whilst the shots in the first film required much more in-depth brainstorming on how best to visually represent the inner multitudes as well as preparation of props and costumes, the second film was all about creative spontaneity and being able to adjust to all kinds of conditions (all Isabel!!!) whilst getting a good work out (thank you piano muscles and yoga!)..tricky business!

We shot the lake scenes at the Kletterwald Nord with Lady Luck very much on our side in so many aspects - timing, logistics, weather, lighting, permissions, wonderful crew… I was given a crash course for the parcours and then off we went. The images were well worth the insane amount of climbing in concert attire (yes…high heels!! plus creative hiding of those bulky zipline equipment!), and flying over that gorgeous lake was simply incredible. I´m definitely returning again - this time with just normal climbing outfits ;)

All other scenes were shot at the idyllic Stechinelli Carré which came complete with a private piece of forest, a barn (which we used for the Ravel shots…too literal..? but who cares! it was perfect! ), a grand piano, and everything else one could ever wish for working on a project like this. Once again, we were incredibly lucky and just thinking back fills my heart with immense love and gratitude to everyone and everything that made this not just possible, but a joy to work on together and bring to life.

here it is, the second film!

much love, Yun Qi

Filmmaker / Isabel Robson

Sound Engineer / Oliver Rogalla von Heyden

Music / Isaac Albéniz, György Ligeti, Maurice Ravel

Texts / Agnes Chew, “The Desire for Elsewhere”

Make-up / Maria Schwerdtfeger

Assistants / Chun Yi Yeo, Claus Blänkner, and Yvonne Peckmann-Haarstick

Special thanks / Stechinelli Carré, Kletterwald Nord

The Multitudes Within Us / the films

Yun Qi Wong

I love coming up with themes for my projects and finding the red threads connecting pieces together which at first glance might have nothing to do with each other. I love researching these as well as coming up with design and texts for each respective publicity collateral, and finally presenting the concerts with a narrative. Each of these become my babies as I work on them over months, bringing them from fuzzy sketches and fantasies into life.

This project however, has been my obsession for the past three (!!) years, bringing things to a whole new level. In a way its accompanied, inspired and catalysed my personal development. Its made me reflect deeply, question myself, get to know myself better and taken me right out of my comfort zone.

I no longer know exactly how I came to the theme of “The Multitudes Within Us” (in german: Zwiegespräch - die Stimmen in uns). All I now know and realise is this: for so many years I have been putting labels on myself, sticking myself into a few definite categories - not just professionally but also in my personal life - and therefore essentially cutting myself away from the endless possibilities out there.

Diving deeper into the project made me realise how much I craved to produce a series of films that would offer not just an audio experience, but also a visual glimpse into the world of '“The Multitudes Within Us” - the worlds that exist in us. So here it is - after months of planning, brainstorming, emails and phone calls. 57893 hours of prop making/sourcing, location scouting. 3 full days of actual filming. 1 day of sound recording. 2349872998768 hours of editing - our first film, accompanied by a series of behind the scene shots taken by my husband. We ended up with this film offering a little glimpse into the multitudes that exist within us. There are so many more, but you get the idea. Obviously this is a very personal interpretation, but perhaps you might identify too with some of them….

what´s left of us at the end of our lives...? how have we existed? the search for our selves leads us to this incredible mishmash of multitudes, existing all at the same time within us...

the rebel. the wild child. the one with her head up in the clouds, dreaming up a thousand different fantasies all at once. the fun-loving one, all full of sass. our inner child. the focused one, obsessed with straight lines and keeping order. the brooding girl with the dark thoughts. the free spirit, floating through life´s journey, never once touching ground. the sleepless one, tossing and turning.

they are all part of us. they make us who we are - unique, and wonderfully incomplete.

I was incredibly lucky to work with filmmaker Isabel Robson on these films. Not only did Isabel bring to life many of my wild ideas, some of which I never imagined would be possible (but still went ahead to suggest anyway..), but she also brought her special touch of magic to them in ways that always made me go “wow” and “YES”. I loved working together with her, can think of no better person to have done these films with.

We were also blessed with the support of our two dreamy locations where we were able to work to our heart´s content without being disturbed, the talented makeup artist Maria Schwerdtfeger, and a small but strong team of assistants (aka very selfless and super motivated friends and my husband!) who helped do everything from making/sourcing props, driving us around for hours, keeping us on tight schedules, to collecting leaves, cleaning up locations, the list goes on…

Hope you enjoy this film as much as we did producing it. Our little labour of love.

Much love,

Yun Qi


Filmmaker / Isabel Robson

Sound Engineer / Oliver Rogalla von Heyden

Music / Felix Leuschner, Robert Schumann

Texts / Agnes Chew, “The Desire for Elsewhere”

Make-up / Maria Schwerdtfeger

Assistants / Chun Yi Yeo, Claus Blänkner, and Yvonne Peckmann-Haarstick

Special thanks / Stechinelli Carré, Kletterwald Nord

our journey North

Yun Qi Wong

When you get 200% hands-on with a project - conceptualising it, making your ideas come to life, and obsessing over it - it becomes so much more than just a project. It morphs at some point into the very air you breathe, the first thing you think about the moment you wake up.  And when you have a wonderful partner and team who obsess over it together with you, thats just double the fun, or in our case - 15 times the fun! 

Tee and I finally set foot on our journey North after nearly two years of planning over crazy amounts of Whatsapps, emails and Facebook messages sent from Arizona to Hannover and all the way back. What started out as a supposedly simple Violin-Piano recital transformed into a crazy intricate thing, complete with a 13-member crew no less, including a guest singer, three narrators, a page-turner, lighting coordinator, sound engineer, photographer, two videographers, and three front-of-house friends slash hairstylists. Nothing crazy, I guess? ;) 

We realised (belatedly) that many in the audience would have loved to hear about our process of researching the norwegian folksongs we presented, so I thought I would write about that here: www.yunqiwong/the-way-north

It is incredibly special when you get to collaborate professionally with family members and good friends, just as how it is special to make new friends through these collaborations, and definitely when you get to re-connect with old ones whom you have lost touch with for years, and might have never had a reason to talk to again otherwise! And when everyone meets for the first time and just get along like they´ve known each other for donkey years, thats the magic of music and friendship - here are a few photos which are a reflection of all that. 

Everytime I look at these photos, I am filled with so much joy. And so, to Woon, Haresh, Zheng, Liana, Josh, Guosheng, Melvin, Chun, Weiping, and Terence T...

THANK YOU, we love you! 

Tee and Qi, your 92steelgutters ;) 

 

sound.travels

Yun Qi Wong

our sound.travels videos are finally out and that is in a way, the final steps to this indescribable journey we've taken. for now. and it will be a very short now.

when Bert and Ms Tham first invited me to put up a concert - any kind of concert i wished - the possibilities were so endless, i was overwhelmed. but then one fateful day i picked up one of my four Murray Schafer books and it was a lightbulb moment - sound.travels was born.

we were going to show our audience the world (or part of it) through soundscapes, soundmarks, audio-postcards; with their eyes closed, and their ears wide open. 

if you do not know who Murray Schafer is, please please pleaseeee do go check him out. listen to his music on youtube, grab all his books (some are available on Amazon, the rest have to be ordered from Arcana Editions) !!! his writings never cease to inspire me in preparing for my next lesson or pump me full of ideas for life/work in general. they have become my go-to in countless moments of helplessness, they've opened my ears/mind/eyes/heart to this world we live in. it is no longer just about music, its all about life :)

seeing how this blog entry could happily turn into one dedicated to Murray Schafer and his works, i ll move along and do that dedication the next time ;) coming back to the point, sound.travels allowed me to finally collaborate with a bunch of quirky amazing friends i love. we were able to commission Americ to write us music (always a YAY because he is always full of surprises, the good kind). i learnt about so many Singaporean writers i never knew about and fell in love with them. i listened to Tajik music on a weekly basis. we learnt about the existence of e-bows, fooled around with shot glasses, did arts+crafts with our scores. we were able to fly Ruschana to Singapore! and best of all, we got to experiment, experiment, experiment. and oh, what fun we had.

this is us performing Americ's Void Deck  (C) Hillary Lee

this is us performing Americ's Void Deck

(C) Hillary Lee

this is a pretty cool picture of us. we're usually more often seen dissolving into giggles! and it is to these sound.travellers i say thank you to - Veda, Peixin, Terence and Ruschana. i love our rehearsals - they're packed with intensity, confusion, laughter, screams and stranger sounds. there is also Americ who comes to rehearsals ever so often. Woon who does late night/early morn editing and re-editing of my texts, the 856323 takes of recording and mixing of these texts. Hil who took this picture and many other funky ones. Lu Heng and brother who produced the videos you should watch. the talented Em whose artwork adorns our postcards. and there is Bert and Ms Tham who give me precious opportunities like these, introduced me to the wonders of Murray Schafer, who think of everything we might forget, make sure the show goes on, and make my most demanding requests come true.

thank you. i'm already looking forward to sound.travels II.

love, qi