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Yan Jun

From Audience

June 29, 2018
Digital, Streaming

A Note From Lawrence English

I first met Yan Jun about 15 years ago. He very kindly arranged a performance for us both in Xiamen in Southern China. I’m not sure either of us expected the situation we found ourselves in. We both performed, solo, and then in duet at the opening of a nightclub and entertainment centre in the lower parts of a new residential tower. The owner of the building had recently made some large windfall from bringing Discovery Channel into China. Having sold it off, he decided property development was the way to go. 

That concert was quite polarising; some people drove six hours to listen to the performance, whilst others were clearly annoyed at the soundtrack to their gaming and drinks. What impressed me most about the situation was the absolute resolve of Yan Jun to deliver his work. Without hesitation, Yan Jun delivered an intensely dense and caustic set; equal parts vocal drone and hi frequency feedback. It was truly something to behold.

Since that time I have had the good fortune to see Yan Jun over the years. Each time we meet I am increasingly impressed with his methodologies and approaches to both thinking about and more importantly creating sound.

From Audience, a work presented as part of Documenta.14, explores the conditional identity of an audience. Specifically Yan Jun collects recordings of the moments as an audience settles into performance. The work mediates on these transient states and seeks to find the moment of transformation from the collective social to the collective listening, that takes place in concert settings.