I met Nulling for the first time at the artist residency’s preliminary auditioning. Ci’en and Shu-Huang went through their carefully prepared bullet-points and props, one after another, so that we could discuss about their creation which combined music with installations.
Nulling consists of the two: Zhan Ci’en, a proficient writer, and Chen Shu-Huang, a devotee to music. The rationale for working together is simple: they each see in other what the self lacks, and that presents an opportunity. “In addition to writing, Ci’en has created many installation works, and though I always come up with electronic music, I have adhered to the criteria and creative style fit for art galleries and exhibition spaces”.
Parties and party culture was a starting point to the collaboration between Ci’en and Shu-Huang, and it is the key to understanding Nulling. “I have slowly begun to learn concepts and values from party culture, like sampling, sharing and the centralization of power”. For Nulling, having a DJ on site is not about stardom or creative snobbery, as it is about providing the venue audience with a language environment where there exists a lingua franca for connecting people with themselves and getting them to know each other.
“We are not very limited when it comes to the creative process. It usually starts with a framework followed by a search for theme – it is a relatively open style of creativity. We want to introduce matters, which the artists are not necessarily capable of coming up, and music, which the musicians are not capable of making.”
Nulling gathers its material from bits and pieces: driving aimlessly in the traffic and picking up interesting cues, hearing an interesting sound and recording it, or often just straightforward downloading suitable material from the internet. After dissecting and remixing these sounds comes the restructuring phase and the thematic resurgence, which will hopefully lead to a corpus of sound (and installation) that will make the audience feel intimate and present.
因為學業，牛鈴移居新竹。換了環境生活，同時也開啟牛鈴對於「水川田 (The river from above feed the land )」這系列與土地相關的議題探索。「剛到新竹生活時，洗完澡後我的皮膚就經常性過敏；洗臉完後，嘴唇也會很腫。本來以為是水土不服導致，但時間拉長，症狀沒有消減，才逐步意識到新竹在地的水質問題。」身體後來就習慣、適應有問題的水質；意識上如何透過相對中性的角度，面對並切入這個議題，牛鈴把藝術作為一種語言，讓議題浮現。
Nulling moved to Hsinchu for studies, and with a change in the scenery, the duo started “The river from above feed the land” series which touches the issues concerning land. “Right after moving to Hsinchu, my skin would often suffer from allergic reactions after bathing, and my lips would swell. First, I thought it was caused by the elements, but as time went on, the symptoms persisted, and I started to become aware of the water quality problem in the city.” Although the body became accustomed to the troublesome water, Nulling – now aware – faced and tackled the relatively focal issue with adopting art as its language.
“The river from above feed the land” talks about the three issues related to land in Hsinchu: contamination of water, the land acquisitions of Hsinchu Science Park and the mining of Yushan in Guanxi Township. By picking up litter and sounds from these locations, combined with images and music, the harsh and grim issues are morphed into tangible and participatory works of art.
Adopting art as their language, Nulling tends to creativity and the audience in hectoring the accidents waiting to happen.
牛鈴Nulling (1990-/ 1986-)