Chime 2015 academic conference is going to begin next Wednesday onward. The Conference in this year will be held at Geneva Univeristy, a well-known university in Europe with the world-ranking 27. The main theme, of course, centers around all kinds of Chinese music, ranging from pop music and traditional ethnic music, to contemporary new music. It is my pleasure that my paper has been accepted and will be delivered on Oct 22, 2015. Since the website for the Conference has just finished a few weeks ago, the time to post all information about the event is not enough to open to the public. My proposal of the presentation, therefore, is published here for all friends' and colleagues' sharing.
For the Conference Event, please visit the followings:
Hope you will enjoy it.
Whose Face? China Hongkongese or Hong Kong Chinese:
Reshaping the “Chineseness” by Hearing the Quoted Tunes in
Two Contemporary Hong Kong Compositions
When the umbrellas were held up against the tear gas attack in the protest on September 28, 2014, the hot issue raised by the marathon-like Yellow Umbrella Movement was not only the matter of politics but also a coincidence created for the locals to face or be faced with an already moot cliché: How Hongkongese can redefine their identity, particularly under the increasingly hegemonic influences from the mainland. My present paper is not intended to discuss the topic of “identity” on the platform of postcolonial studies such as transculturation. But instead, I am far more interested in locating such issue on the aesthetic dimension of collective memory, which is revealed in two Hong Kong contemporary compositions, Tung’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (2002), and Chan’s The Enigma of Moon (1998). In the process of shaping and reshaping the “Chineseness”, a new face, in which the composers tend to create, and the local listeners tend to experience, albeit transient, can appear in every nuance of sonic metaphor.
It has been widely known that a sense of history and culture can often be manifested themselves in the context of collective memory. Acts of recall triggered by musical sound, I believe, have time and again challenged the destructive force of time, and drop-by-drop they have woven a picture of what we may now legitimately call Hong Kong’s “history” and “culture.” Moreover, to borrow, appropriate or quote from the other musical cultures for a formally self-contained piece is no longer a taken-for-granted or unconscious act. Such borrowing is impossible to escape the question of meaning and motivation of the composer. Yet again this quoted tune never fails to conjure up a memory in the listener or function as a representation of one such act of recall from time to time. As such, in this paper I wish to argue that given Hong Kong’s present unique situation, musical quotation – typically, a fragment borrowed from indigenous folk tune and Cantonese traditional opera – is illustrative of the workings of collective memory. Be it a tune, rhythm or sonority, a reference to a style or genre, a quotation is a tangible link between the sonic and cultural reality of the past and those of the present as well as metaphor for the formation of Hong Kong “Chineseness”, forming part of the local cultural identity.