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all these different lives. How do you use music to address these contradictions and commonalities? Chen: That is a rather long process. When I first got involved in the political activism, I too was vaguely

imagining the condition of the oppressed. Consequently, the music we produced at the time was a reflection of this vision. I wanted my music to take on this special form, so that it conveyed the notion of “we are in this

together.” Then, out comes the music. Even so, what is interesting is that people would always have their own sense of subjectivity no matter how beautifully the myth was created. They respond to our music differently,

some hate it, some like it, some find your songs only made for protests, and some really resonate to the musicwhether this is true or not is still a question though.

When you truly engage with these people through music, you cannot just stand on stage and constantly

channel your thoughts to the others. Based on my experience, other than being on stage, you have to get

involved in their daily struggles and lives. For example, at the worker unions, I learned that these workers were very different from what I had previously imagined. They have different factions, each of which comes with

their own agenda. Some are more dominant than others. There are men and women. The better I get to know their individualities, the more I realize I can no longer produce music that advocates a singular world view. If

my music were to truly enter their lives in order to establish a relationship with them, I had to find a different

approach to connect with them in their daily life. Therefore, I can no longer make the kind of music that is full

of slogans, which would have been done by others anyway. I deem the more urgent questions to ask are: how do you deliberate and deal with your relationship with the workers? How do you articulate this relationship?

What are those subtle, delicate differences and similarities among us? For me, this has been the change in my approach to music.

Wang: Can you talk about how you make music? Chen: I believe that creative work is a very personal thing. In the end, how to come up with each note and to connect them with one another is a very personal process.

Wang: The American composer John Cage and the British composer Cornelius Cardew both regarded selfexpression as entirely bourgeois. Self-expression is a form of class-consciousness too, don’t you think?

Chen: But, you still have to express. Proletariats are entitled to express themselves too! After all, what sets forth your heart to create an expression is a social process. The oppressed workers want to have their voices heard.

At the “laborer pedagogical workshop”1 I was instructing, when a conversation hit a spot where they hurt, they would not stop talking.

Upper-middle class is usually provided with more opportunities, or is better trained to know how to speak,

whereas the working class within the labor division of the society is less encouraged to speak up. Each song I

come up with stems from my experience as a witness to a particular social phenomenon. Sometimes not only do I witness it, I am also involved in it. Maybe it’s an atmosphere of an era that affects me, or maybe I happen

to be at where the real struggles take place and experience the force of inequality. This force propells me to say something. My music is usually brought out by these encounters.

For example, when I was writing music for Watching Dust 2 , I couldn’t say that I came up with it all on my own. The music drew upon many discussions and interactions I shared with the performers and the director in the

workshops, and was consequently generated by the convergence of the social resources and contexts around me. Therefore, the creative process does not stem from my personal talent, but rather from the environment I live in. In other words, all the social resources I have received are mutated into a personal output.

Wang: You are a composer as well as a political activist. When you make music, you are in a way organizing a



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The composer composes the future so that the composition leaves the traces of the future...  

「重見/建社會」主題策劃展第七檔:王虹凱的《作曲家書寫了未來,以便留下未來不會留下的印記》,這是她於去年參加威尼斯雙年展台灣館展覽之後,首次在台灣的個展。 The seventh installment of the thematic exhibition Re-envision...

The composer composes the future so that the composition leaves the traces of the future...  

「重見/建社會」主題策劃展第七檔:王虹凱的《作曲家書寫了未來,以便留下未來不會留下的印記》,這是她於去年參加威尼斯雙年展台灣館展覽之後,首次在台灣的個展。 The seventh installment of the thematic exhibition Re-envision...