Technology as Language

‘Phantom Frequencies’ is the intersection of Wing Shya, nnscya, and Samson Sing Wun Wong’s past works and experiences. Shya's film photography is transformed as it is presented alongside nnscya's experimental soundscape and warped in real time through Wong's audio-reactive design.

Phantom Frequencies: An Audiovisual Experience by Wing Shya × nnscya at M+, 2024. Photo: Annabel Preston

Prompt: Describe the role of technology in a live performance.

Wong: The show is characterised by its immediacy. I continuously make tweaks during the performance, and no single showing is the same. All transmissions are instantaneous and simultaneous—between nnscya and me, as well as between us and the audience.

nnscya and Samson Wong, 2024. Photo: Annabel Preston

nnscya: The process becomes as important as the product. We respond to one another through the language we are each adept at, and the audience experiences this process with us live. However, we found the communication to be too superficial during our first few rehearsals. For example, Samson would hear the sounds I generate and respond through his visuals, which I’d then see and respond to with my sounds. It was not precise enough. And so we decided to use our computers to communicate—it became much more extensive and technical. Whenever I make some tweaks, Samson is able to see the change in the data itself as well. Technology becomes an additional language that is capable of reflecting minute changes that may not be picked up by human senses.

Wong: As for the question of whether we control the technology, or if they control us...I think this in itself is a process as well. It is never-ending—technology provides data for us to respond to, and we then make adjustments based on our human perspectives that will then be reflected in the data. Of course, technology sometimes produces some unexpected results, especially during a live process, but it is precisely this uncertainty that makes it so exciting.

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