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Rayna Yun Chou: EM Grantee

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Music, Distance, and One Minute of Just Us

Created by Rayna Yun Chou, “Music, Distance, and One Minute of Just Us” brought music, visual arts, and architecture together to create a social experimental exhibition in Taichung, Taiwan. The exhibition opened on December 24, 2016 and ran through New Year’s Eve of 2017. Rayna facilitated the creation of a conversation which brought Taiwanese musicians and the public closer. She used photography, writing, film, and cello music to build a very inspirational environment for her viewers in the middle of a busy urban landscape. Rayna is pursuing her graduate degree in Viola Performance at NEC.

Grant Project:

Rayna Yun Chou wanted to bring music, visual arts, and architecture together to create a social experimental exhibition in Taichung, Taiwan. Rayna’s inspiration was that, “life is about the special moments, and we as musicians have the ability and responsibility to create them.” She wanted to create an exhibition which was a social experiment, visual arts show, a multipurpose urban architecture, a mini concert series given by young musicians, and a social experiment.

In the last decade, Rayna saw her old school in Taiwan shut down its music department. Unfortunately, she witnessed students and their parents turn away from classical music. She also saw fellow music colleagues chose not to continue their careers in Taiwan. Rayna decided to explore where classical music and its audience fit into our fast-paced world. She wanted to give the audience and musicians a chance to step out of the worlds they had grown accustomed. She wanted to bring the audience in, and the musicians out.

Outcome:

Rayna partnered with an architect and designed two glass rooms. One of them was see-through, and the other one opaque. Both were the size of a practice room (3x3m) and soundproofed. The see-through glass room had displays of articles, photographs and films (played on stationed iPads and canvases), ranging from everyday pictures to rare sceneries (the views only we musicians see, such as instrument close-ups and concert hall back stages). The arrangements of all the photographs and films were juxtaposed to challenge common sense. There were also interactive displays, such as parts of different instruments for visitors to hold. The activity in the other room was inspired by the quote “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen”, by Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The activity was essentially a live music performance, which took place on December 24th and 25th (the Christmas weekend is predicted to have many visitors). When the visitor walked into the room, they were greeted by one solo musician or two musicians (when accompaniment was needed). The door was closed and the musician(s) played for one minute. The repertoire was the musicians’ own choosing-- one minute of the most mesmerizing, impressive, and moving music they knew. As musicians, we all have experienced and learned repertoire that on occasions leave us speechless, so finding one minute of music to leave a mark in people’s hearts was not difficult. After the performance, short interviews were conducted and video recorded.

The exhibition was shorter than a concerto and more impactful than a street tune, the multimedia part of the exhibition had many things to offer for the architecture and visual art admirers. It drew the attention and awareness with stronger appeal to reach a wider audience. Rayna knew the project wouldn’t change societal values over night, but she aimed to create an unforgettable classical music moment in the life of a spectator. One that facilitated the creation of a conversation which would in turn bring Taiwanese musicians and the public closer. Rayna used photography, writing, film, and cello music to build a very inspirational environment for her viewers in the middle of a busy urban landscape.

Her project opened in December 24, 2016 and went through New Year’s, January 1, 2017. It featured live performances over Christmas weekend. She will present the results of her experiment in March or April 2017 and share video, photos and music on a variety of social platforms.

Project Web Site:

https://www.musicinglass.com/postcards/

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