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Samson Young: Variations of 96 Chords in Space

[21.10.23 – 15.01.24]


Samson Young


Fotografiska Shanghai, No. 127 Guangfu Road, Jing'an District, Shanghai, China

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Pleased to share Fotografiska Shanghai’s inaugural exhibition “Samson Young: Variations of 96 Chords in Space” merges variations of images, colors, and music. Different mediums are combined through machine algorithms that arrange and layer them in both ordered and random sequences. The artist showcased Variations in the 96-Chord Space, a video installation piece that combines computer programming, music, and performance in Fotografiska Shanghai’s multimedia exhibition space.

Variations of 96 Chords in Space (Feat. William Lane), 2022-2023, filmed in a theater in Hong Kong, this work shows a variety of instruments being played by Young and performer William Lane, including a woodblock, viola, crotales, and a self-playing piano. Additionally, a speaker plays both electronic and recorded sounds generated by the artist, while their pitch materials are associated with specific RGB colors.

“I started with a chart of 96 ‘color chords,’ writes Young in the exhibition program published to accompany Frames and variations. “There are 12 hues of color within the set. Each hue is associated with a key area: lighter tints yielded chords with fewer varieties of intervals, and as the color tone gets darker the intervallic relationships within a chord become more varied and complex.”

Each color chord came with a specific choreography of musical play, captured by four distinct camera angles that were shot twice (the first with Young, the second with Lane and Young). As the instruments played, the proximity of the microphones moved closer and further away from the source and captured the nuances of their sounds—their softness and sharpness as they reverberated with each take, while their assigned color illuminated the theater. Young also cut different arrangements between the microphones to create a dynamic mix. A playback program stitches the individual scenes together in different ways, and shuffles their order of appearance to create endless variations.

– Courtesy of Fotografiska Shanghai