Hotdesk is a programme that supports artistic and critical research processes and values space as a crucial condition of artistic production. We hope to share and open our studio space as a resource to seed more possibilities for thought, conversations and collaborations.

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Hot House

A (fictional) record label featuring visual tracks and exploring the musicality of images.

Presentation #2
Hotdesk ,
Simulation,
Music,
Artistic production,
Sampling,
Visual,
Digital,
Experimentation,
Mutation,
Website,
Record label,

roooooopt.com

About R∞pt R∞pt is a (fictional) record label producing visual tracks, serving as a breezy platform of image sampling and mutating.

R∞pt Principles

  • Breezy Platform : Consuming and producing images as we do for music.
  • Organic Swimming Hybridity : Dissolving the boundaries to swim around in music and images.
  • Replaced Tool : Photoshop replacing music producing softwares such as Garageband and Ableton. 
  • Constant Looping and Mutating : Looping the existing images to be re-used, mutating them into the artists’ composition.
  • Rooted in Experimental music : Based on Sampling and Producing in electronic music.


Featuring Musicians
:

  • Chinesecaipng
  • Neptune
  • Twenty Inch Waters
  • Filipgudovik
  • Alspeedo
  • Bedok-Bandits
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Presentation #2
Hotdesk ,
Website,
7.3.2020

R∞pt Launch

R∞pt (@roooooooopt) on web is out July 8th. It is a (fictional) record label featuring visual tracks. Breezy platform to experiment consuming and producing images in musical functionality.

Featuring Musicians:
Bedok-Bandits, Chinesecaipng, Neptune, Filipgudovik, Twenty Inch Waters, Alspeedo, and many more.

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Presentation #2
Hotdesk ,
Marketing,
Design,
Music,
Visual,
Process,
References,
7.3.2020

Musical Images

The very first memorable experience of music as a 90s baby was not actually through a musical experience. It was from sweeping through the album images in the neighbourhood’s record stores (or watching corny Kpop music videos). In a way, we were (and are) in the era when images are inseparable from music.

Album art gave the bizarre feeling as they felt like they meant something more. Situated in an intersected zone between layers of music, image, design, culture, trends, and marketing strategies, images in plastic cd cases sometimes diffuse as much aura as framed images in a gallery.

Although those images are made through the interplay of many layers, the main logic behind its creation is completely musical. Decisions followed by the ‘vibe’ of music or musicians’ random choices on an image following their preferences. Either way, album image links directly to the music, by directing audiences’ expectations of their upcoming musical experience.
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Presentation #2
Hotdesk ,
Sampling,
Speculative,
Music,
Fiction,
Artistic production,
Mutation,
Documentation,
5.21.2020

R∞∞∞∞∞∞∞pt

R∞pt is a fictional indie record label/studio producing tracks in visual, in a speculative setting where visual things are audible, and audible things are visible.

R∞pt focuses on the experimental-electronic music genre, looping and mutating the image fragments into a full musical composition. Situated in-between image and music, the purpose of this small record label is aimed at the search for musical~~lyrical image production and consumption. 4 anonymous artists will be releasing their albums via R∞pt.

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Presentation #2
Hotdesk ,
Artistic production,
Music,
Process,
Conversations,
5.7.2020

Conversations with Mark Wong, Mengju Lin and Jeremy Sharma

Art-making in the lens of capitalism often creates a monotonous rhythm from the start to the end of production. Not only as a medley of the artist and a white cube cycle—artists and their commodified objects in the gallery. But also how it’s now accommodating various platforms for a self-commodification of an artist as a brand—such as social media handles. It is interesting how art production reflects the social changes, but the idea of hyper-productivity and self-exploitation is quite daunting.

The possible outlet that I can think of now is 1) to form a folk community that goes against this bottomless capitalism, or 2) put the system in fragments, and instrumentalise to play with it.

I often try to think about the whole thing in troubadour (lyric poet)s’ perspective, with the fact that on a micro-level, how music presents a way of intertwining melody, rhythm, and narrative organically. And on the macro-level, the fact that albeit the infamous commercial music industry, there are small labels to support the indie and experimental musicians.

I took this chance to chat with more artist-musicians and music-lovers to learn about their wisdom in art/music-making and supporting.

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Presentation #2
Hotdesk ,

Mark Wong - Ujikaji as a Music Label


Avis
What was the motivation behind your the record label, Ujikaji?

Mark
Back then, there was a small circle of bands doing experimental and underground music. I set up a label for public distribution. I would say it was more physical back then, and now everything that we do is done through digital platforms.

We used to do the design for vinyl packaging, releasing vinyl albums. It was geared into a more physical experience and making concrete forms. We used to make posters too. Whereas now we are purely based on ‘Releases’.

We still do packaging designs, for example in 2011, we did a CD packaging for Observatory and 2013 we released a vinyl. Now we are on bandcamps. For this musician called Shaun Sankaran, when he was releas- ing a ‘Dream State Vision’ we only released exclusively as a digital download, because digital platform made more sense for his 2 hours long music.

Avis
How do you locate Ujikaji as a Music Label in a macro-level?

Mark
Well label works as a middle man. Usually, artistic vision is on the artists and we help out to the public via releases and gigs. Running a label is quite different from artistic activity. It is more collaborative and more functional.

Avis
Do you think it work as a ‘label’ too? Labeling certain styles and identities of the musicians.

Mark
Yeah that’s how usually it runs, not only in music but also in the art world and the galleries too.

Avis
What do you think about the idea of producing/consuming the visual as music tracks?

Mark
I think one of the main things that you have yo think about is the experience of music. e duration of the music is quite different. How not to let the visuals float will be the most important thing. I am thinking about this musician who works in between music and visual art. His name is Burial and he sees the sound waves as a skeleton and fishbone. Due to that, his drums are definitely not necessarily in time, and it creates a quite refreshing experience.

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Presentation #2
Hotdesk ,

Mengju Lin - On her Creative Practice


Avis
Your practice usually involves using words. I really like that it’s broken, but it opens up quite much of a breathing space to dwell on it. Especially your recent work in ICA was quite captivating.

Mengju
There is this song by SWAN “Screenshot”. The whole song is just words, individual words that do not form a sentence. It just plays in a loop, it does not have a clear structure. Like you know how pop music has some structure - like hook and a chorus- but screen- shot doesn’t. And I was quite inspired by that song.

Avis
There are some visual art that feels musical, and in opposite, some music feels quite visual. And I think your practice does that too.

Mengju
Maybe the artists who used to be musicians they tend to make art that is musical. Like Ian Woo, he used to play a base, and you can really tell from his painting that he makes music. Ed Ruscha who is also a painter, he also paints word, he was in a band when he was young. I think it is a coincidence, I don’t know if it is, how you think about music and how you think about art inevitably will bleed into each other. Maybe not for every artist.

I think with music it is very strange. It has more structure, a fixed mode of listening, a format. People encounter music in a fixed way than people encounter different types of art. But I think because of these parameters, a lot more undescribable (French word: Les mots ne sont), I think music has more ability to be that even though it has more restrictions. Maybe it is a good exercise to do music, we face the challenges and we try to go beyond them.

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Mengju Lin - Differentiating Music-making


Avis
How do you define the difference between music and sound art? For me, music can be more composed, to curate out the final piece whereas the sound art stays as fragments, but I would like to hear it from a real practitioner.

Mengju
Music has a very different attitude. Even if you are a sound art artist when you make music is a completely different purpose than when you are a musician. A lot of it is an attitude of how you treat the sound as medium or material.

I think sound-art has a lot to deal with experiencing and re-experiencing the sounds. But that can also be part of it. But it made sense for me back then, experiencing the sound art right after making music. But I think both of them are quite close to each other to making collages and doing a painting.

Our way of listening was changed, because maybe we are so trained to use sound in our life, it has ben reduced. So sound-art is a way to remind you that there are other way to experience the sound. In orches- tra, you don’t have to know different instruments to enjoy the music. But in sound art it is important to know about the quality of the sound.

I think if I continued to be a musician, I wouldn’t appreciate sound art.

Music in orchestra, is a reduced listening. It is mainly like a tune and quality of the sound. But experimental music and sound art pay a lot of attention to the other quality of sound. As Graham Harman tried to propose also, that we need to re-understand an object. Like the sound is like an object, and has many qualities aside from what we are used to having. ere are many qualities about sound that we don’t usually pay atten- tion to. Same thing is for the art, Minimalist artists pay more attention to the objects.

Avis
If there is a difference between Music-making and Art-making, what would it be?

Mengju
Music is technically demanding. For a commer- cial musician, practices are disciplined because people can tell. Yu Tong told me to unlearn everything and learn to not play the instrument. And then we were just playing and listening at the same time, pondering whether it works or not, the same thing as how painters often step back at the painting and think whether it is working or not. We had a certain outcome, even though when none of us was playing the instruments ‘correctly’, it was just to capture the nice jamming experience. I think it is close to music, because of how we wanted it to be, and how we pieced it together.

If someone was putting marks on a canvas but maybe they didn’t intend it to be a painting, maybe they just wanted to cover up the canvas. I don’t think it is much of a painting as it is a relic of performance or mark-making.

We (Terrapin) could have done sound performance if we wanted it to be, but we didn’t. We wanted it to be jamming and it became music. It is a bit strange, but even with the musical instrument, it doesn’t guarantee that you will make music.

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Presentation #2
Hotdesk ,

Mengju Lin - Free Form Meaning-making


Avis
You mentioned before we started this conversation on collages. One of the key method in my project is ‘Collage’ which I found quite similar to sampling. How do you understand collages?

Mengju
There’s an overall mood when you do collages or the feeling that the collage gives you. The mood can be translated as the image mood boards. It’s not something that you can read and tell, it’s more like feeling before you think.

Avis
Title in music is really strong, in a way that constructs how a musician thinks about their work, and how it governs people’s experience. I also think that music and art can’t really escape from the subjectivity. And it comes out quite distinctively as titles..

Mengju
You see if you listen to it, and it carries on from there. I do that with my paintings, I have a few small drawings, and I call them ‘New Radio’ because I was listening to a radio while I was making them. (haha) I call this in my dissertation as ‘detournement’-placing the text and an element in a completely different setting. And some new meaning happens. Work completely changes when you titled some way.

Avis
Someone told me once, he feels music making is freer than making visual art, for it is free from meaning-making.

Mengju
Maybe it depends on the type of the music and art. In orchestra, there is a common sense of identifying the music as good or bad, and it takes time for you to get to the point where you can interpret the song. But there is no absolutely a way to judge the experimental music as good / bad.

Art making somehow it is also related to relevance, theoretical background.. A lot of art making is something to do with the self-curating. Music really helps to toggle our logic, when it comes to making art, because it really forces you to be quite tune to what effect it has on you, and it is a very subjective thing. ere’s actually no way that human being can be objective, we are not in the centre of the universe!

You know Lawrence Weiner and his strange words on the wall? He basically uses these words as sculptures and materials for his artwork instead of meaning? He says word is more than a word, the word is also a text, a material. I think the reason why his work can last long is because he doesn’t define how the word should act. He just receives it as it is. And we get to see in Lawrence Weiner’s sensibilities, but he is not dictating how the audience should understand this, because he doesn’t think that it is a universal one. He is just honest about it, and because of his subjectivity, I think it can relate to so many people.

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Presentation #2
Hotdesk ,

Jeremy Sharma - Music-making as a Lifestyle


Avis
How does the music-making come into play for u when u do art-making?

Jeremy
Don’t know (Haha). I have trouble linking them together sometimes. I think it’s only recently that I begin to see the relationship. I think if you have a musical mind, you are naturally artistic? Because musicians think in a way that is not linear, so there’s a very different kind of logic and usually, we apply that in our art-making. I think I am very rational in visual arts making, but in music, I’m more irrational, because music is formless and invisible. How the visual comes into music is that I look for the textures, I look for forms and sounds because I am not musically trained. I don’t think in terms of notes and keys, I think in terms of sounds and pitches, and feelings!

I think I have a very good musical memory, as in I can remember song structures and how chords move and progress. I can remember ‘oh! there is this base part of the certain song’ and then I try to apply it to what I am making. Because music is about the memory, you know. But sometimes music can be ‘at the moment’ as in you improvise. If I jam with MJ and YT, most of it is improvised, you don’t know what’s going to happen, so it is very organic.

So music is very organic as in, it’s slightly more organised than pure sound and noise because there’s some sort of structure, there’s a lot of repetition, there’s a lot of ‘coming-back’. at provides the refrain or the repetition which is a musical thing. You hear it in every song, whether it’s hip-hop, rap, r&b, there’s always a repetition of certain things. So that creates a certain structure. e idea of looping and repetition provides the organisation for music. Whereas sound and noise have less of that kind of structure so it is a bit formless. ere’s still cycles, let’s say your sound comes from birds, you don’t know when is that bird will come again, or what the bird is going to do again. But the bird is always singing in a certain way. And a particular bird always comes in at 9 o'clock to have this ‘sound’, it’s just that the duration is much longer, but there’s still a cycle, you know what I mean?

Sound and noise are more like a landscape of different things. So even if it is machine, like a washing machine, it’s noise. If you hear it, if you record it, it’s just noise. But if you listen to it again and again, it’s hypnotic, it’s very repetitive because it is a constant repetition. So there is a rhythm. ere is a rhythm in environmental noise if you listen properly. So it’s just that, because there’s so formless and there are so many elements, it becomes disorganised but actually there’s a lot of organisation that happens in nature. Which is not musical, but it is musical to certain people. I think it is a matter of threshold? I think artists have a bigger threshold on what is noise and what is music. So we are more open-ended and we are more accepting of more things. It’s all about listening, if you grew up in the diet of pop music, you might treat John Cage, and Avant-Garde music as noises. Actually, Music is all about listening. German eorist, eodore Adorno said ‘What we like and what we don’t like is all condi- tion, is based on what we are trained to listen to.’

Avis
So is it something like a life-style??

Jeremy
Yeah, it is something like a life-style, it is like a habit. If you grew up liking noise and sounds, you won’t hear it as noise, you will hear it very musically. But if you listened to Britney Spears your whole life, every other music other than Britney Spears might sound noise to you. Or listening to the music that is over 4 minutes, because that is the pop standard, it might be too much, because your ear is not trained to listen to something long and durational.

But if you listen to 20 minutes piece is like watching a film. Sometimes for me, music can be cinematic, cos they bring you to the many worlds when I close my eyes and listen, it’s like a channel, you know. I just get transported. So that’s what I mean by landscape and textures. You’re not listening for the hook, you listen more for the worlds. So I find listening as a huge part of music and sound. Also because it asks for your attention that is very different from the visual. If you walk into an exhibition, if you don’t like a certain piece, you can choose to walk away, you don’t need to stay. But music is a bit different because you need to listen, sometimes you need to pay attention but you can also not pay attention. It doesn’t ask that of you.

However, you might not get music upon first listening, but it’s in your memory you know. And then sometimes, something about that song comes into your head, and then you will feel ‘Oh shit, what’s that it’s coming back to my head’, then you need to listen to it again and it will grow on you. Second listen is more exciting. ‘Oh, ya, I never realised about this composition!’ But this is more about sound and experimental music.

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Hotdesk ,

Jeremy Sharma - Sound Art or Music?


Avis
Do you draw the a line between sound-art and music?

Jeremy
I don’t like to put labels because I think it is problem- atic. Sound is just a category. Everything is sound, it’s just about what you do with what you’ve collected. But I guess the intention and focus are different. Sound art focuses on the physicality and matter of sound. So how you experience it is important. It can be contextual of the environment. How, why and what is composed for is important.

Pop songs can use GarageBand or Ableton, it could be more about the hooks and loops, not about the sounds. But if you break it down to a more abstract level, it is purer and it’s more about the sound itself.

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Jeremy Sharma - Conceptualising an Album


Avis
How do you conceptualise the album?

Jeremy
I hardly think about music. It comes after I make the music.

Mangkhut album cover was originally a hotel room that I was staying in HK, but I had to change it because it is a bit too cheesy. It was too direct. I wanted it to be more alien and imaginative. So I came across this lovebirds and zoomed in just nice to show how they were cuddling. And I thought it was a really nice image for the music. So I chose images that had nothing to do with the album, and it became a kind of a new thing in the end so I am okay with it.

Avis
Can you share with me about making an album and making music?

Jeremy
But actually, album making is very old school. Because your generation did not grow up with the experience with the record store that much. You had to sit through the entire album to get that kind of a flavour. I don’t think the physical and of experience with the album is lost. But I think it can be more flexible with internet streaming services, it can be more fragmented and scattered. And I don’t really have an issue with that.

How I think about the album is, it’s almost like an exhibition? It’s partly curated, it’s like a body of work. Album ties the identity of the music and it also gives the structure.

The idea of the album shapes the music. Album can shape the music, or actually, music can shape the album. Because sometimes the original idea for the album doesn’t really work. (haha) Album art kind of related to your project, the iconic visual of the album.

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Presentation #2
Hotdesk ,
Assemblage,
Music,
Xenofeminism,
Artistic production,
Sampling,
Reterritorialisation,
Process,
References,
4.23.2020

On music producing and Deleuze’s Assemblage

Deleuze and Guattari conceptualised “Assemblage”, where myriad heterogeneous elements formulate possible realities. During its process, the former historical and cultural structure deterritorlialised as mere fragments, then re-arranged (re-territorialised), followed by the nature of network; hybridising and sharing.

The act of Re-territorialisation could be an end in itself — where the process is its own objective. In other words, the process of developing through the continuation of weaving relationships via repetitions and variations between the elements could become self-explanatory end-result itself. Xeno-Feminism manifesto advocates the necessary assembly and hybridisation of various techno-political interfaces responsive to current imbalanced cultural systems. Here the act of re-assembling and hybridising, functioning as forms of re-territorialisation, also serves to provide a certain “geometry of freedom” and a measure of flexibility and mobility that can loosen existing modes of working, thinking and interacting.

This strangely drew the parallel line with the interview videos of Matmos that I watched last year, on how they sample the music out of plastic objects around them. Some are completely random, and some are immensely loaded. This adorable couple shredded the objects as fragmented sound bytes and re-arranged them into their musical compilations. Their music production focused on re-territorialising, shaping the pieces as a whole based on their feelings towards the plastic objects.

This sparked a deeper curiosity about Composing the Fragments — a further step of my research from fragmentalising the human cognition and perception towards a composition method. On sampling and composing an ensemble as a whole. Landscape architecture, literature, music, programming and many others have already been functionalising ‘fragments composing’ as a core of their production process. Among others, music producing contains bizarre functionality, spiralling down within an individual while being communicative towards the mass, as poetic activism on Deleuze’s ‘Assemblage’
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Presentation #2
Hotdesk ,
Xenofeminism,
Speculative,
Digital,
Artistic production,
Simulation,
Fiction,
Labour,
Reading list,
Process,
4.9.2020

Avis’ Reading List

Since end March when Avis first started hotdesking with us, she has been taking the time to attend to her interests and research. Here are some books that she’s been looking at so far:

  1. Porosity Valley, Portable Holes by Ayoung Kim
  2. In the Flow by Boris Groys
  3. Jinan Kang, Yeonwha Kong, Minjung Kim, Sugwan Kim…. 57 studio by Min Oh
  4. Post-Ecologism and the Politics of Simulation by Ingolfur Blühdorn
  5. Superhumanity: Post-labor, Psychopathology, Plasticity by e-flux architecture
  6. The Future of the New: Artistic Innovation in times of Social Acceleration by Thijs Lijster
  7. Xenofeminism Manifesto by Laboria Cuboniks
  8. On the Existence of Digital Objects by Yuk Hui
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