Universe Series

My impulse for these pieces was that how I can possibly achieve "comprovisation" with a non-traditional instrument.

Roland PMA-500 has a touch screen interface, and I played my constructed scores with my hand - either circular or rectangular. By doing this, I try to come up with atmospheric sound that can fill up the room.

Circular Universe
Rectangular Universe

Toy Organ Series

I found a toy organ for the age under 6 at a local RadioShack in Hornell, NY, and of course, I ended up buying it since the price was reasonable - I think it was $2.99 if I recall correctly.

I often think that we limit ourselves with certain fixed notion of sound. For instance, there was a picture of children palying "happily" on the box of the toy organ I got. I was thinking myself, "What would be the expected sound that children play with this toy organ?" It wasn't hard to think that children play "happy" sound. Nonetheless, what would be the definition of "happy" sound?

As early sound artists, such as John Cage, Alvin Lucier, and Pauline Oliveros, acknowledged, I tried to make some "interesting" sounds that have such quality so people can appreciate whether they are familiar or not.


Toy Organ 1 consists of 4 movements, and it's a result of my comprovisation. I set up all the scores, yet when I perform, I minimize my esthetic decision and let the sound itself decide next sound.

Toy Organ 2 is a noise based feedback sound piece. Sometimes, it's amazing that such noise can be very rich and so much texture in it.

Toy Organ I
Toy Organ II

"Seoul" Connection

This is a mixed sound piece that I utilized sound samples I took from Korea. As John Cage once said in interview at Seoul, there are many "sounds of Seoul." One sound of Seoul I noticed was subway sound.

Most people in Seoul take subway daily basis. When I visited Seoul in the year of 2002, I also took subway every day. Then, this subway culture became an essential part of my seoul stay, and I was fascinated by the way people socialized in subway station and subway - There were not much socialization. However, I was convinced that there should be more social interaction in subway culture since subway connects place to place.

At last, this subway establish Seoul's backbone geologically. yet, this literal network cannot help people to be connected to one another. Thus, I tried to mix this sound sample from Seoul subway with sounds generated with the wine glass. Drinking wine may represent the socialization in high-class, whileas ignoring one another in subway would be the connection in mid-class.

"Seoul" Connection

Noise-based Work - Love: Gentle Frictions

Love: Gentle Frictions
Mixed Media, Dimensions Vary
(LM386 Audio Amplifier, Various CdS Photocells, Various Capacitors, 6x9 Full-Range hi-fi Auto Speaker, Plastic Slide Container, Black Wires, Red Wires, General Purpose 213 Holes PC Board, Solder, and Universal AC Adapter)

It might be venturous for me to say this, but the meaning of the word, “friction,” in our culture, includes a negative connotation, which is often translated as conflict. If there’s a friction between two objects or two parties, it could deliver the notion that there is a negative, or unpleasant force between them.

In a sense, there are positive and negative sounds. What would be positive or negative depends on each individual’s preference. However, in general, there are some comforting sounds and uncomforting sounds. In other words, there are some sounds, which are pre-loaded with good images, and there are some sounds, which are pre-loaded with bad images. It would be still venturous to divide sounds into this good-and-bad category since good and bad sounds would be highly subjective: however, it’s true that good sounds, such as classical music, are taught in our culture.

Friction, as mentioned above, has a negative connotation. It would be neutral to some people, yet to many people, including myself, friction is caused by a negative force. One notion of the sound caused by frictional force would be high-pitched, which is painful to ears. Nonetheless, sound exists only because there is a frictional force between two objects. Without friction, there wouldn’t be any sound at all. Furthermore, there’s no perfect silent because there would be a little sound caused by friction between air molecules no matter where we go. Thus, friction would be a fundamental element in this world of sound we live in.

When we make love, we express our affection toward each other using gentle frictions, such as gentle rubbing, tapping, and so on. Throughout the piece, I’d like to reproduce that moment of gentle frictions in our daily life. I’ve tried to think about how that gentle friction would be translated into sound. It would be little buzz, not that loud, but intimate noise generated by collisions among invisible molecules.

Love: Gentle Frictions makes noise-based sound by measuring electro-negativity between audience and its capacitors and photocells. When audience put his or her hand/hands near each capacitor and photocell, he or she interferes electro-magnetic fields generated by each capacitors and photocells and those interferences are translated into analogue audio signal. It is not fine-tuned, thus it does not generate broad ranged pitches. But, that’s how we use gentle frictions: to express one feeling, love. It gets expressed under one simple word, love although each individual’s definition and the way how one practices one’s love are slightly different. Personally, Love: Gentle Frictions reflects my own love toward noise-based sound, which is often mistaken as negative, uncomforting sound. And, it could be used as a musical instrument that allows its player to have an intimate connection, which I’d like to call love and spiritual connection, to the instrument.

@ Color Theory Room, BMB39, Alfred University, Alfred, NY

Tuesday, December 16th, 2003

@ Turner Gallery,Alfred University, Alfred, NY

Feb. 2004

Transform: New Sound & Video

Using new technologies available in new media area, three young artists, Jared Ashburn, and Hisao Ihara, and Sang Um Nam demonstrate new possiblities in real-time A/V performance. Using various new media gadgets, they create totally new A/V pieces that challenge traditional notion of video art.

TRANSFORMS: New Sound & Video

by Jared Ashburn, Hisao Ihara,

and Sang Um Nam

@ Holmes Auditorium, Alfred University, Alfred, New York

Wednesday, November 5th, 2003


Track 1
Track 2
Track 3
Track 4
Track 5


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