State Change is a series of public sound performances conducted in Hong Kong shopping malls documented as a single-channel video with stereo sound. The video can be shown on a TV monitor or as a video projection. Every performance involves approximately 20 persons who follow a system of Boolean rules, and so comprise a human digital sound generation system.


The work aims to illustrate the fundamental concepts of “computation” and “information” in the simplest possible terms, by transforming every performer into a living microcomputer making a sequence of yes/no decisions. When conducted in a shopping mall, perhaps the emblematic institution of postmodern consumption and control, this performance takes on subversive implications. Stage Change emphasizes that human freedom is not incompatible with rules; freedom from conformity is often made possible by the existence of rules that facilitate transgression. By allowing performances to maintain a strict subjection to an impersonal rule-system, Stage Change demonstrates that transgression and pleasure often depend on losing one’s sense of autonomy and merging with a collective in the process of making sound together.

A more detailed description of this performance is here.


Joao Vasco Figueirinhas PAIVA



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