MUSICAL FUTURISM

Ng Chor Guan | Composer, Theremin Player | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

This piece is taken from ONEBEAT ZINE Vol. 1: The Golden Record

To me, being a futurist in 2018 means being innovative in resistance. It means to resist simplified versions of truth, to go about living in the world in shades and nuances, in order to build our lives collaboratively. This futurism is something I bring to every aspect of my life, particularly in conceptualizing ways that technology can be a tool of empowerment and democratization.

Although many people have pointed out the negative elements of today’s hyper- connectivity, I believe that commonplace technology now gives people an unprecedented opportunity to reclaim narratives, and tell their stories without middlemen or third-party filters. At this novel intersection of technology and art, people from halfway across the globe can see at work you’ve just made, and share something you care about. It connects us in a formless way and helps us feel less alone.

Art has always served to loosen things up, breaking oppositional concepts, making space for imagining and reimagining the world around us. I make art that focuses on reorienting our conceptions of technology and its presence in our lives. My work examines my presence in society, brings people together, and relates things that are important to me. Recently I created Futurist Diaries, a multidisciplinary performance piece that uses sci-fi tropes to discuss change and the future (think: clones, multiple universes, time travel, etc.).

OneBeat Istanbul

This work stemmed from thinking about ideas of private versus public thought, their relative value and power, and asking: “how closely we should guard our thoughts?” The act of sharing is a radical one, but sharing requires balance and tact to avoid deliberate misunderstandings or the misappropriation of ideas. In turn, this relates to the idea of stable communication, not only within artistic communities, but also with scientists, technologists, and the general public. In the context of Futurists’ Diaries, I present these conversations as different facets of a future we can all look forward to.

Project 2020

In the same vein, several years ago I started Project 2020, a five-year project inspired by the idea of growing older and constantly reviewing one’s self and surroundings. This work expands on the idea of 20/20 ‘perfect vision.’ How much do we see? The contemporary world is a cynical and distrustful one, but Project 2020 aims to look at progress from the idea that the moral arc of history ‘bends towards justice’ –with ourselves doing the bending– and building our “dreamed of” future. A response to complacency, these works are based in a desire claim a sense of belonging, as we create a collective future that we all want to inhabit.