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Samson Young: extreme loudness over a long distance
Working with the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), and the legal and political barriers to doing so.

THU 8 Mar 2018
6PM - 8PM
West Space, Melbourne
Level 1/225 Bourke St, Melbourne
Wheelchair Accessible

FREE
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Samson Young, 'Canon' 2016.

Monash University Museum of Art I MUMA, in partnership with the Biennale of Sydney and Liquid Architecture is pleased to present a special talk by Hong Kong based composer and artist Samson Young. The talk will be convened by Dr James Parker, the Institute for International Law and the Humanities, University of Melbourne.

Samson Young will discuss his work Canon, a sound installation and durational performance which incorporates the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), together with the legal and political barriers to performing and exhibiting this work.

The LRAD is a sound cannon or ‘non-lethal’ sonic weapon capable of broadcasting sounds in a straight beam to a precise target over a maximum distance of 1000 metres. Frequently deployed by law enforcement around the world to ‘neutralize’ protesters, when used at maximum volume the LRAD is capable of inducing permanent hearing impairment. The same technology is also used to repel birds on private properties such as airports and nuclear plants.

Young’s work Canon is comprised of a sound performance, an installation, and a series of drawings. Bird songs and distressed calls of birds, accompanied by a live performer’s improvisational bird calls, are beamed with a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD). The sound travels over a long distance to reach the audience. At the listening position, which takes on the appearance of a park, birdsongs appear to have emerged out of nowhere with no visible source. In music, a ‘canon’ refers to the technique of imitative counterpoint.

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Samson Young is a composer and artist based in Hong Kong. His creative outputs manifest in a variety of media and across disciplinary divide. He holds a Ph.D. in Music Composition from Princeton University (2013) and has held multiple solo exhibitions worldwide, including the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Goethe-Institut, Hong Kong and Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan. He was the recipient of the inaugural BMW Art Journey Award at Art Basel Hong Kong (2015) and represented Hong Kong at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017). Samson Young is participating in the 21st Biennale of Sydney  – Superposition: Equilibrium and Engagement (16 March – 11 June 2018) and will be included in the forthcoming exhibition Eavesdropping, curated by Joel Stern and James Parker, at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, the University of Melbourne.

Dr James Parker directs a Research Program on Law, Sound and the International at the Institute for International Law and the Humanities, the University of Melbourne. His research focuses on the relations between law and sound, with a particular emphasis on international criminal law and the law of war. His book Acoustic Jurisprudence: Listening to the Trial of Simon Bikindi (OUP 2015) explores the trial of Simon Bikindi, who was accused by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda of inciting genocide with his songs. Parker’s most recent project, The Jurisprudence of Sonic Warfare explores the weaponisation of sound. He has written previously about the LRAD.

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung, Taungurong, Dja Dja Wurrung and the Wathaurung people of the Kulin Nation as the custodians of the land in which this event takes place, and we recognise that sovereignty was never ceded. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

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