Shanshui-thought in Experimental Music Practices: China and Beyond

Adel-Jing Wang
April 29, 2021 16:00 ~ 17:30
Room 109, Building C, School of Humanities and Social Sciences


In this talk, we will discuss how the experimental music of Chinese musicians embodies a particular mode of thinking rooted in Chinese qi-philosophy known as shanshui (山水)-thought, which considers nature and the environment as secret and nurturing. Shanshui-thought cultivates an existential gesture of following rather than obeying or conquering; it requires tacit resonance rather than object knowing. Shanshui-thought enables us to recognise the cosmic, aesthetic and moral values of music qualities of dan (淡) (quiet and bland) and you (幽) (inward expandedness), once described as "poverty" and "darkness" by the composer Christian Wolff of what he calls ascetic minimalism.