PUBLIC PROGRAM | Evolving soundscapes | Museo d’Arte Orientale
Events & Exhibitions / MAO


PUBLIC PROGRAM | Evolving soundscapes

curated by Chiara Lee & freddie Murphy as part of the exhibition Buddha10

October 19, 2022 to April 27, 2023

On the occasion of the Buddha10 exhibition, Chiara Lee & freddie Murphy propose a public program that starts on the evening of the inauguration of the exhibition, October 19th, and continue until the summer: not just concerts, but rather a traveling collective sound ritual, officiated by artists from the Asian continent and the related diaspora.




October 19th 7 pm | DAL:UM
Gayageum and geomungo: Korea’s most well-known string instruments in a dialogue between traditional and experimental.

Dal:um is a musical duo based in Seoul, who challenges the sonic possibilities of Korea’s most well-known traditional string instruments: the gayageum and geomungo, creating a compelling soundworld that treasures subtle dynamics and the space between the notes in a dialogue between traditional and experimental practices. A melding of both new possibilities and deeply travelled resonances.
Dal:um’s beautifully balanced and expansive music is defined by inspired dialogue and creative paradox and shares aesthetic concerns with Asian traditional painting and its inherent dialogue (and harmony) between emptiness and fullness. The charm of their music comes from its natural gaps and from conveying the sentiments inside these gaps. Their debut album “Similar and Different” was released by Glitterbeat in 2021.


November 8th 6.30 pm | ZHUO MENGTING
'Emptiness score' - a site specific sonic score with amplified objects from MAO collection, water and feedback, exploring what's out there and what can't be seen.

Zhuo Mengting is an artist based in London, originally from Guangzhou, China. Fusing body, sound, objects and site, she creates work that emerges from here and now, in the forms of performance, participatory installation, and concerts.  Having studied literature and critical theory, and played in indie bands, she holds as much interest in language as in the composition and the unspoken. Live performance is regarded as a total medium for her to explore the contingency of meaning, and what agency means. Her work has been presented/exhibited internationally, including the UK, China, Germany, Czech Republic and Italy. She investigates the politics of listening, and exploring a sonic language to translate resonance into signal and noise. “A score of emptiness”, her site-specific work for MAO Torino starts from resonances. Playing between minuscule sounds and amplification, translating empty spaces into signal and noise, the artist presents a conceptualist sonic act with the sounds from emptiness, and the discordance between seeing and hearing.


November 22nd 6.30 pm | TADLEEH
“The Flock We Belong”: an exclusive performance for MAO on the sense of belonging. Intimate and visceral tribal drum patterns, twisted electronics and melodic vocalization.

Tadleeh is the musical project of Hazina Francia, born in India and based in Italy, whose work ranges from tribalism to rhythms and melodic vocalizations that create an organic sound web, both vertical and horizontal, which solicits her origins, and what she is now. In 2019 she released the EP "Ego Will Collapse" via Berlin based label Yegorka and is currently working on a new album that will be released in 2023. At MAO Tadleeh will perform an exclusive set using voice and electronics specifically composed for this event, musically depicting the concepts of flock, togetherness and union. “The Flock We Belong”: how does the interaction of a group affect the detriment of a single person, and the other way round? A set of perverse and primitive sounds to portray the universe we come from and to which we will return ceasing to exist.


December 1st 6.30 pm | PARK JIHA
Groundbreaking modern music rooted in traditional Korean instruments
The music of composer/performer Park Jiha blends classical minimalism and improvised music with traditional Korean instruments like the Piri (double-reed bamboo flute), Saenghwang (bamboo mouth organ), and Yanggeum (hammered dulcimer). Deftly combining the instrumentation and complex expression of traditional Korean music with an array of contemporary forms and sounds, Park Jiha has staked her place in the international music scene over the last few years as the official showcase for The World Music Expo, WOMEX and Classical:NEXT. Trained in Korean traditional music, Park Jiha started her career by founding the duo 숨[su:m], which had a major impact upon the “new Korean music” scene.  Her new solo album ‘The Gleam’ was released in February 2022 via Glitterbeat, is a gorgeous meditation on the intersection of music and light.


Diasporas Now: contemporaneous conversations and alternative narratives on displaced identities, intersectional backgrounds, decolonization, self-empowerment and collective care.

In relation to art, the term diaspora is used to discuss artists who have migrated from one part of the world to another (or whose families have), and who express their diverse experiences of culture and identity in the work they make; often expressing alternative narratives, and challenging the ideas and structures of the established world. Never before has it been more important for artists to tell their own stories on their own terms. So let’s hear from them!
Rieko Whitfield, a London-based, Japanese-American artist, one of the founder of Diasporas Now, a platform for expanded performance and non-Western diasporic solidarity; and Micaela Tobin, a first-generation Filipina-American, soprano and sound artist, will be screening their most recent works: two operas/films based on speculative mythologies that decenter historical trajectories of Eurocentric colonialism. Part sonic ritual, part diasporic storytelling, “BAKUNAWA: Opera of the Seven Moons” by Micaela Tobin is an immersive, experimental opera based on Tobin’s critically-acclaimed album of the same name that reclaims the pre-colonial mythology of the Philippines back from centuries of violent, colonial erasure. By retelling the story of Bakunawa, the moons eating serpent-like dragon from Philippine mythology, Tobin brings her voice out of the imperialist walls of the opera hall and onto the California coast facing the Pacific ocean — creating a sonic bridge to the Philippine Islands in an act of healing. “Regenesis: An Opera Tentacular” by Rieko Whitfield is a non-linear story of cyclical life, death, embodiment, and community, set in a world healing from the apocalypse. The three-act narrative is inspired by the Shinto goddess of creation and destruction, Izanami who burns to death giving birth to the world. Regenesis is a speculative mythology of channeling supernatural beings who heal the broken body of the earth through collective care in prototyping better futures. The screening of the two musical works will be followed by a panel on diasporic themes, moderated by Ilaria Benini, editor of add editore Asia series, and explorer of the contemporary Asian cultural scene.
*The panel will be held in English


January 25th 6.30 pm | CHINABOT: JPN KASAI & NEO GEODESIA
An evening with Chinabot, a platform and collective created to change the dialogue surrounding Asian music. Khmer chants, karaoke DVD, Japanese folk music, minimal juke and metal drums.

Since launching, London-based Chinabot has broadened and demystified the public perception of Asia’s experimental music scenes by issuing quirky, unpredictable and innovative work by regional artists. Each release is stylistically varied and meaningfully conceptualised through local cultural references and the majority of them are immersive listening experiences that are better suited for avant-garde theatre than dance floors. The label works on showing the diversity from the Asian continent in cultures, genres, traditions, genders and highlighting artists from Asia's developing nations. That includes expanding the public's knowledge of the continent beyond Japan and China, which have long represented Asia's creative output on the world stage and showcasing Asian current affairs and political discourse as part of its modus operandi. Much of its output is thematic, centering around governments, geopolitics and the environment in an effort to spur discussion and shine a light on underrepresented issues featuring artists whose works span from topics like national unrest, anti-colonization, feminism, gender fluidity and cyborg futurism. For this special evening we’ll host a talk with Saphy Vong, founder of the label, and Giulia Mengozzi, assistant curator at PAV – Parco Arte Vivente and founder of the collective ALMARE, an association hinged on contemporary practices that employ sound as an art medium. A room with video clips by Chinabot artists, a live streaming from Kyoto-based JPN Kasai who pairs Japanese Ondo and Minyo folk music with minimal juke and footwork, and a concert by Vong himself who showcases Khmer chants, karaoke DVDs and metal drums under his Neo Geodesia alias.
*The panel will be held in English


February 15th 6.30 pm | SAINKHO NAMTCHYLAK
Throat singing and artistic research between Siberian folklore and shamanic tradition.

Ailing from Tuva, Siberia, Sainkho Namtchylak music is an intertwined mix of tradition and innovation which draws from the Siberian and Mongolian music tradition to reach modern sounds, all tied together by her pure and enchanting voice. She fell in love with music thanks to her grandmother and soon began studying both the traditional Tuvan repertoire and overtone singing, a singing practice until then reserved only to men. She completed her music studies in Moscow and soon after joined the Tuvan State Folk Ensemble with which she performed for a short while.She then went back to Moscow at the end of the Eighties and joined the experimental band Tri-O with which her vocal talent and marked melodic tendencies were best put to work. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, she moved to Vienna which she chose as base, but continued to travel a lot, performing with various groups around the world and working on the recording of albums that revolve around free improvisation. Her live performances combine her artistic research with her religious and popular music background.


March 1st 6.30 pm | LIEW NIYOMKARN
Series of ambient soundscapes, gentle folk melodies and avant-garde motifs.

​Liew Niyomkarn is an interdisciplinary artist based in Antwerp with an experimental practice in sound and performance. Liew’s work reflects on geography’s historical roots, often referencing rituals, audio culture, and forms of co-existence between human and non-human beings. She uses found objects, field recordings, coding language, video, text and spoken word; all combined with a sonic palette highlighting the properties of sound itself. Liew holds MFA Calarts and Sonology course in The Hague; she has performed in many various places such as High Zero Festival (Baltimore), Studio Loos (Den Haag), WORM (Rotterdam), STUK (Belgium), DAAD (Berlin), The Wulf (Los Angeles), Toneelhuis (Antwerp) and among other places. On Liew Niyomkarn’s new album "I Think of Another Time When You Heard It" (Chinabot), the sound artist builds a soft, dreamlike replica of the world around her with field recordings and found object samples, and invites us to slip into her subjective experience transforming the detritus of everyday life into quiet moments of beauty, reminding us to practice the same inquisitive attention to our own lives.


March 21st 6.30 pm | ANA ROXANNE
Ambient, jazz, hindustani, choral and electronic musical traditions blended in a magical out-of-body experience pondering the mutability of gender.

Ana Roxanne is an intersex Filipino-American composer. She is known for her blend of jazz, choral, electronic, and Hindustani sounds, and thematic exploration of self-concept and gender identity. She works at the interzone of electric meditation, dream pop, and ambient songcraft. Her inspirations span the secular (R&B divas of 1980s and '90s) and the spiritual (Catholic choral traditions in which she was raised and classical Hindustani singing that she learned in Uttarkhand, India), synthesized into a uniquely intuitive sonic language, equal parts atmospheric and ancient, healing and hermetic. Her full-length debut “Because Of A Flower” (Kranky, 2020) germinated gradually across five years, inspired by interwoven notions of gender identity, beauty, and cruelty. The experience of identifying as intersex informs the album on levels both sonic and thematic, from spoken word texts borrowed from tonal harmony textbooks to cinematic dialogue samples and castrati aria allusions. It's an appropriately interstitial vision of ambient songcraft, a chemistry of wisps and whispers, sanctuary and sorrow, conjured through a fragile balance of voice, bass, space, and texture.


April 6th 6.30 pm | SALAMANDA
Dub, lo-fi house, reggaeton snares, dembow rhythms, ambient, and augmented vocals weaved into an immersive cocoon of harmonious tones.

Salamanda is a Seoul-based Leftfield Ambient music producer/DJ duo of Uman Therma (Sala) and Yetsuby (Manda). The duo have been reaching out to a wider range of listeners around the world with their debut full-length albums released on Good Morning Tapes and Small Méasures labels, as well as their mixes introduced in multiple domestic & international radio stations including Seoul Community Radio, NTS Radio & LYL Radio. The title of Salamanda’s new album, ‘ashbalkum’, derives from a Korean phrase for the realisation that ‘reality’ is in fact a dream. An otherworldly, ambient album — out via Human Pitch — that feels like a portal to a parallel universe, where truth and fantasy are one and the same. A dreamworld built from ambient soundscapes and minimal beats; a spellbinding view into how we interact with the world around us––one where one’s own being, language, & nature itself are all rendered infinitely mutable.


April 27th 6.30 pm | PHEW
A haunted and strung out set of whispered vocals and submerged synths for music out of time from a legendary Japanese artist.

Phew has been a glowing figure within obscured histories since the 1970s, when she fronted Aunt Sally in Osaka’s underground scene. As a part of the cult Kansai label Vanity Records, her visceral avant-garde post-punk experimented with the techniques of amplified sound, using the newly available audio equipment of Japan’s tech boom and grating against the bubbly sheen of its pop culture.
Her explorations have spanned decades, involving collaborations with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Can and Einstürzende Neubauten. Since going on to work individually, her visions have been followed through with a genre-hopping string of experimental albums carried on till today, where she combines both software and hardware with prophetic vocals. Her latest album “New Decade” centers on the perception of time and comes across as bleak, deliberately restrained, its meditations cut through the real sentiments of our confusing years with the sincerity of a haiku. Especially amidst isolation and the uncertainties of modernity, we are reminded of the power of music as a ritual.


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Museo di Arte Orientale