Ubi Sunt is a new audio commission by Flora Yin-Wong, made in collaboration with visual artist Go Watanabe, examining the recall of memory in our technological age. Using hundreds of accumulated iPhone recordings, the artist forges new connections between fractured memories, alternate worlds and intangible spaces.
#5 Apparatus: Equipment, methods, original recordings since used in tracks.
Ceremony at temple starting, Ubud; machine? - unknown; instrument recording in Rotterdam; playing the organ; yangqin recording; unknown machine, Arctic; Unknown; Unknown; playing the piano, London; Greek wedding, Thessaloniki; crickets at night, Canada; running water, unknown; organ; fire safety training; unknown; kemence recording; vocal recording - unknown; exhibition; violin sampling; radio set in a gallery; gallery, Tokyo; violin recorded at home, wind chimes on a mountain on Teshima Island.
Drawing inspiration from a story during a journey to the abandoned Arctic settlement of Pyramiden, Ubi Sunt is the culmination of years of collected sonic moments. It was said that from this archipelago in the far north, left behind by all of its 1000 inhabitants for over a decade, ‘ghost’ radio signals had suddenly been detected. A singer whose family were from the original town had been sent an anonymous cassette tape, with recordings of them picked up from the region.
Ubi Sunt is a new audio work by Flora Yin-Wong, commissioned by Somerset House Studios, composed of a tetralogy of sound pieces that abruptly jump between, cut up and stitch over six years of recordings captured in known and unknown locations - unlabelled and often lost sources. The connection between memory, emotion, and recorded moments that have accumulated on an iPhone is something that everyone could have their own version of. Hundreds of these snippets represent connections between the recall of memories, alternate worlds and spaces intangible, yet can be connected to across physical spaces.
In collaboration with artist Go Watanabe, the series will be accompanied by artwork that adopts the underlying themes via the camera work of the film. The scene slowly moves horizontally from left to right, which reminds of the viewer the movement of playing cassette tapes, or driving a car through a road. Household objects are placed as if they are constructing a town. The objects were developed submerged in natural light from a window, but for this piece, the shade remains on the surfaces in a new space of absolute darkness. The remaining shadows are the metaphor of memories that carried from the past, said to emerge as ghosts.
Varying from the sound of deep crunching snow in a forest in Hokkaido, Turkish EDM on the car radio, the rush of a reservoir in rural Wales, Buddhist monks chanting in Hangzhou, K-Pop in a teen clothing store in Seoul, and old vocal recordings - fragments that shift from the highly personal, nostalgic, to the extremely banal, or contrived and obnoxious are momentarily placed together.
Flora Yin-Wong is a London-born, Chinese-Malaysian artist working with field recordings, dissonance, and influences from contemporary club culture.