Samson Young: Unheard Sounds

Music was my original training. So although these days, I'm making videos and drawings and objects, music is still one of the lenses through which I process the world.

Samson Young

Multidisciplinary artist Samson Young was trained as a composer and graduated with a PhD in Music Composition from Princeton University in 2013. His academic background in music has led him to incorporate elements of experimental music, sound studies, and site-specific performance into his art practice. He uses sound as a tool, cutting through the veil of the everyday to uncover ideologies and political propositions.

For his work Muted Situations #22: Muted Tchaikovsky’s 5th (2018), Young instructed the Flora Sinfonie Orchester of Cologne to perform without any music. The musicians played with muted instruments, heightening all other sounds that they make during their performance: their breathing, turning of pages of sheet music, the movement of the keys of the instruments. Young forces the listener to reimagine and reconstruct the music through sounds that would otherwise be masked or marginalised. The work is part of a larger series, Muted Situations, in which Young brings what is normally less audible to the fore and constructs a new soundscape.

Read more about Young’s use of sound (and its removal) as a material, as well as an interview with him about his exhibition Songs of Disaster Relief.

Video Credits

Produced by M+
Producer: Adam Studios
Curatorial Research: Pi Li, Isabella Tam, Kary Woo
M+ Video Production: Chris Sullivan, Jaye Yau, Angel Ng