"Prison Architect" is the narrative heart of "A hollow in a world too full" solo exhibition by Cao Fei. Newly commissioned, this haunting work explores existentialism as a path to self-redemption by questioning both the relationship of the self to the self and that existing between humans and space. As the artist attempts to reconcile the world and human nature, Tai Kwun Contemporary hosts an outdoor performance of naamyam featuring The Gong Strikes One led by Dickson Dee, the music composer for Cao Fei’s work "Prison Architect". This performance will also feature Lee King Chi, Chan Chi Kong and Nero Lee. A form of Cantonese narrative singing highly popular in the early 20th century Hong Kong, naamyam is traditionally accompanied by instruments such as the guzheng (or zheng, a type of Chinese zither), paiban (wooden clappers) and yehu (a two-stringed instrument played with a bow).
Art After Hours is an evening event series presented by Tai Kwun Contemporary that will talk with you, sing with you, show and tackle something new every time. Usually held on Fridays at 7pm, Art After Hours aims to sharpen art awareness through talks, performances, and screenings by artists, writers, intellectuals, and curators alike.
The Gong Strikes One made their debut in 2012. Showcasing vocal and instrumental passages from Chinese opera, they seek to preserve the dramatic flavor of this art form while experimenting with different musical settings associated to the genre. They adore narrative singing, performing their own original naamyam compositions while also working on new arrangements for the classic Chinese opera ‘The Purple Hairpin’. In 2017, they presented ‘I, Wu Song’, their first theatrical work, at the Studio Theatre of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. "才" is the notation used in the Luogu and is employed as a short for "hammer" or "mallet". "The Gong Strikes One" refers to the name of the gongs and drums but also to continuous performance like in "a hammer and drums for ten days", which implies a continuous performance occurring over ten days.
Dickson Dee has been engaged in the music industry for more than 25 years. He began his career importing European independent labels to Hong Kong, China and Taiwan before establishing Noise Asia, his own music label, and organizing concerts. His experience includes distribution, import/export, creation, publishing, promotion, artist management and various other related works in the industry. He has made important contributions to the development of independent music in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan.
Chan Chi Kong has been learning huqin, the Chinese vertical bamboo flute used Chinese Opera, with his father since childhood. He graduated from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in Chinese Opera, majoring in opera accompaniment. He has worked as a musician, toujia and music designer in various theatrical troupes. In 2012, he established “The Gong Strikes One" and actively created a Namyaam rapping to reconstruct and reproduce the opera works.
Lee King Chi graduated in music from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and majored in zither before pursuing a Master's in Philosophy at the Music Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. From 2014 to 2017, he coordinated the Interpreting of the Early Cantonese Music Lecture Series for The Chinese Opera Information Centre, hosting a number of singers and musicians to perform early Chinese opera.
Nero Lee received his Master of Music (double majoring in Erhu and Gaohu) from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Art and is an active Huqin performer and Chinese music conductor. He has studied different kinds of Huqin with Peng Ruisheng, Huo Shijie, Yu Qiwei, Chen Yaoxing and Huang Anyuan, while also learning command skills with He Wenchuan. He studied erhu in Beijing. In 2017, he was invited to join The Gong Strikes One playing bamboo violin, coconut hu, Qinqin and other musical instruments in the opera and Naamyam performances like ‘I, Wu Song’. A freelance musician keen on combining modern and traditional techniques, he excels at traditional Chinese music, pop music and adaptations, and remains active in different types of artistic activities.