Kirin Telephone (2024)
for sheng and multimedia
ca. 11 min.
Everyone must have embarked on a journey of self-discovery at least once in their lives. This journey may involve physically leaving home or delving into the depths of the mind to gain perspective on one's past and present. However, the notion of finding one's "true self" is elusive; it exists as an illusion.
Throughout our journey, rather than discovering a singular "true self," we encounter numerous facets of our identity - multiple personalities that collectively define who we are. Here, I ponder: when faced with my alter egos, would I enjoy their company over a leisurely meal? Could I forge meaningful friendships with them?
Kirin Telephone is my first venture into "site-specific music" since relocating to Taiwan. The piece was composed with the intent of performance at “Mineless”, the remnants of a former mining site in New Taipei City, where the music video was filmed there in February 2024.
Every individual harbor a multitude of personas, drawn forth consciously or unconsciously from deep within, to navigate social interactions. In essence, humans boast a spectrum of personalities within self.
The piece unfolds with the viewer stepping into a chamber through an iron door - a metaphor of unlocking a smartphone. Within, they encounter and engage with various iterations of themselves inhabiting the space.
Rarely has there been a time when the vast array of one's personas could be visualized and congregated in a singular “space”. In the smartphones in our hands, we find our alter egos actively participating across different social media platforms. It can be said that these alter egos were mostly created by ourselves and we “interact” with them on a daily basis. We can also know our more introverted personas by observing the information or the sources of information we read, hear, and watch on our smartphones.
“Kirin”, or “Qilin” in Mandarin, is a mythological creature of the East. It is said to be a symbol of peace and stability. Around the world, there is a lot of talk about the “adverse effects on the mind” of smartphone use, and I have no intention of denying these cautions. However, depending on how you use your smartphone, it can become a space where you can face yourself and make peace with the many "selves" that live both in our subconscious. This is the reason I titled this work Kirin Telephone.
February 5, 2024
Mineless, New Taipei City, Taiwan
Li-Chin Li (sheng), Wen-Hao Li (movement artist)