What can a musician and a visual artist do in half an hour together?

  • Arts
  • Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Calligrapher Ong Chia Koon will be performing at Imaging Music at Raw Art Space in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: Claes Chong.

What can a musician and a visual artist do in half an hour, together?

The starting point is simple: keep things minimal and modest. For the musician, it might be a note, a familiar melody - and for the artist, a dot or a line.

This is how their journey of improvisation and discovery will start at the Imaging Music event at Raw Art Space in Kuala Lumpur on May 31.

Imaging Music is a monthly series of live improvisation between musicians and visual artists.

It is an exercise in creative spontaneity, an invitation for artistic minds to react and respond to each other - and create something new, fresh and unexpected.

This month’s event, its third edition of the series, will see visual artist Tey Beng Tze paired up with Yong Yandsen on the saxophone in one set, and Chinese calligrapher Ong Chia Koon with Kok Siew-Wai (on vocals) in another.

“Live creation and improvisation is something in the moment; it can only be done once, and on the spot. What makes it exciting is the unpredictable outcome. The process itself is also intriguing because you have no idea where it is going,” says Tey, who is also the founder of Raw Art Space.

Vocal improviser Kok Siew-Wai (pic) and calligrapher Ong Chia Koon will meld voice and calligraphy art in a 30-minute session at Imaging Music. -- Imaging Music/Claes Chong

The pairing of music and art is surely not a new concept. In fact, graphic notation, where music is represented with visual symbols instead of traditional music notation, has been around since the 1950s. And music has served as the inspiration of many great visual works, adds Tey.

Visul artist Tey Beng Tze and improvised saxophonist Yong Yandsen (pic) will be pairing up to create art and music in Imaging Music at Raw Art Space in Kuala Lumpur. -- Imaging Music

Still, he notes that artists often unveil their work only when it is completed. Art and music making are often solitary pursuits.

Imaging Music, through collaboration in a live performance, aspires to encourage different perspectives on what could be.

“I hope the audience will be inspired to see the relationship between the visual arts and music, and bring home with them a unique experience from each performance,” he says.

Imaging Series presents different musicians and artists in each edition, so you can imagine the variety of works created after a few sessions.

So what’s next on the agenda? Tey shares that there just might be an art exhibition in the near future - one that showcases the works produced during these live improvisation performances.

Imaging Music is on at Raw Art Space, No.8, 4th Floor, Jalan Panggong, Kuala Lumpur on May 31 at 8.30pm. Suggested donation RM20. For students: RM15. Facebook: rawartspacekl.

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