Yi-Ling Lam


sound-videoinstallation (5:23 min.)

The video projection shows two hands of a pianist playing a piece of music. Even though the hands are playing the tune precisely, the keyboard is missing from the picture, resulting in the hands performing on an empty white surface. The breathing of the pianist recorded during the performance is heard from the speakers installed in the room, but the sound of the music is nowhere to be heard. The title "pp" is a musical notation meaning pianissimo / very softly, and these tiny signs also have a visual resemblance to two hands. The first version of the work was presented at the group exhibition 45 SYMBOLS in Kunststation St. Peter, Cologne (2014), with a projection of the video on the wall and four loudspeakers installed at each corner of a chamber in the church.

In the second version of the work shown at the "Rundgang" exhibition of KHM Cologne, the image was projected on a table with a long thin top resembling the form of a piano keyboard. The breathing of the pianist was heard directly from the tabletop installed with sound transducers.

The work presents corporeality of musical performance which is usually impossible to experience in a normal situation of listening to and watching a musician playing. The elimination of the sound of music and the appearance of the instrument reveal the complex body movements of the pianist that remains otherwise unnoticed. What the viewer discovers here is a hidden layer of music, a replay of the quiet but intensive exchange of energy taking place in a musical performance.

installation view | Kunststation St. Peter, Cologne | 2014