Headlands Center for the Arts

Yingjia (Lemon) Guo & Sophia (Siyang) Shen

California/China/New York | music/sound
Artist in Residence Program 2019

Artist Statement

Our duo practice revolves around our common roots in traditional Chinese music and experimentations with sound. Trained each as a pipa player and a folk singer, we share same interests in how history, culture, and geopolitics are manifested in music. We have developed a body of work that reevaluates our positions in various ecosystems, experimenting with field recordings, immersive theater, sound walks, and found objects. We embrace interdisciplinary collaborations, working with dancers, actors, and visual artists from different cultures and backgrounds, which opens our minds to a unique sound world that is only possible through cross-cultural collaborations and intimate human-human, human-technology interactions.

While at Headlands

At Headlands we plan to develop a large-scale multimedia work that positions pipa and voice in the form of hocket, where a single-melody line is rapidly alternated between two instruments. This project is a continuation of our experimentation with this technique and how it might be used in combination with field recordings, visuals, texts, and live electronics to deconstruct traditional Chinese folk songs and their complex sociopolitical and cultural history. The piece is intimate by nature, which involves us improvising and interacting with each other. We are also looking forward to immersing ourselves in the unique local ecosystem and soundscape. We will compose new pieces that are in a dialogue with the environment, possibly in the forms of site-specific installation and performance.

Selected Works