Yuen Chee Wai


Yuen Chee Wai

4 October 2021 - 31 March 2022

Drawing on his multidisciplinary sensibility in music-making, design, and curating, Yuen Chee Wai will dedicate the residency to explore the liminality between installation, situation, and performance researching possible spatial, visual, and sonic configurations of devices such as self made speakers using found objects, audio tape, and other motors and sensors.

Working towards the production of a solo album, he will gather and sample physical elements present at Gillman Barracks, using forest foliage as sound conductors and collecting field recordings to expand the vocabularies featured in his music. Along the process, the studio will be treated as a site-specific musical instrument which—through a series of recording and interfacing sessions, either individual or collaborative—will be turned into an environment for feedback and interface.

Wrapping up the first season of AiRCAST, in the sixth and final episode former Artist-in-Residence Yuen Chee Wai speaks to Dr Anna Lovecchio, Assistant Director, Programmes.

Get acquainted with Chee Wai as he meditates on his long and expansive journey in experimental music, collaborative networks, and multimedia crossovers. Grown out of an interest in independent music, his creative practice has evolved into a vortex of acts of resistance, melancholic drifts, and world-making gestures that reverberate with critical perspectives on the status quo. Through the course of this exchange, you will also discover how the unprecedented challenges brought about by the pandemic triggered an outburst of creative energy and pushed him even further into the exploration of new alliances and forms of expression.

Musician, artist, designer, and curator Yuen Chee Wai (b. 1975, Singapore) is known for his commitment to improvised music and experimental projects that explore memory and loss, indeterminacy and invisibility. Ranging from the obsolescent and the newfangled, his eclectic toolbox comprises noise, field recordings, found sounds as well as guitars and various electronic instruments which reverberate with critical perspectives inspired by philosophy, literature, film, and politics. Together with FEN (Far East Network), an improvised music quartet he co-formed in 2008, Yuen is active in triggering multifaceted collaborations across Asia. Since 2014, he is Project Director of Asian Music Network for which he co-curates Asian Meeting Festival. Yuen is also a member of the experimental band The Observatory with whom he plays guitar, efx and objects, and organises a range of projects such Playfreely and BlackKaji.

Contributors: Yuen Chee Wai
Conducted by: Anna Lovecchio
Programme Manager: Nadia Amalina
Sound Engineer: Ashwin Menon (The Music Parlour)
Intro & Outro Music: Tini Aliman
Cover Image & Design: Arabelle Zhuang, Kristine Tan

02’15”: Audio excerpt from installation recordings of REFUSE. Courtesy The Observatory.
12’26”: Audio excerpt of George Chua and Yuen Chee Wai live session at Strategies v.02, The Substation, 2003. Courtesy the artist.
27’38”: Audio excerpt from unreleased studio recordings of Ishikawa Ko, Iman Jimbot, and Yuen Chee Wai, for Asian Meeting Festival. Courtesy the artist.
30’36”: Audio excerpt of The Observatory and Haino Keiji, Authority is Alive, Playfreely, 2019. Courtesy the artist.
48’40”: Audio excerpt of Imprisoned Mind from the upcoming album Demon State by The Observatory and Koichi Shimizu, 2022. Courtesy the artist.
56’59”: Audio excerpt from installation recordings of REFUSE. Courtesy The Observatory.
1h00’52”: Audio excerpt from Yuen Chee Wai’s recording of packing up the studio in the last hours of his residency at NTU CCA Singapore, 30 March 2022. Courtesy the artist. 

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