Huang Cheng’s works are concerned about urbanization, especially the phenomenon of village in city. Yet the way the artist explores and records the issue is quite different, which is experimental music. On the bookshelf in the exhibition, there are four CD albums. They were recorded in the Pearl River Delta since 2015 and named after the village where the recording took place: Baishizhou, Hubei, Huanggang Village and Xinji, the last of which is put on loop in the CD player. Each recording is special on its own. They focus on memory and discuss the relation between individual and collective; they use autobiography and noise; they use documentary techniques and stream of consciousness. In an interview, when talking about Baishizhou, the largest urban village in Shenzhen, the artist said, “From the perspective of the documentary, I would use VR devices to record Baishizhou and preserve it as a historical archive. For the city of Shenzhen, this is an epitomic database documenting its own development. More often, however, I listen to the ‘documentary’ sound as ‘music’ and use it to present my works’ ideas. I don’t think too much about whether the work itself can be categorized as documentary.” Here we can see that the artist has the ambition to record realities and intends to historicize the transformation of urban cities; meanwhile in the creative process, recordings are transformed into a form of music, staying away from the blunt presentation and mimesis of reality. Yet from his works, though only vaguely, we still feel the entanglement and competition of “social concern” and “artistic taste”.
----------Tian ge Yang