Mei-Jia & Ting-Ting & Chih-Fu & Sin-Ji: C. Spencer Yeh

Curated by A. Will Brown, Assistant Curator

February 16, 2018June 10, 2018

Mei-Jia & Ting-Ting & Chih-Fu & Sin-Ji (2018) is a new two-channel sound work by artist and experimental composer C. Spencer Yeh (1975, Taipei, Taiwan). This experimental composition presents four resonant singing voices that are named in the work’s title. Mei-Jia, Ting-Ting, and Sin-Ji are female text-to-speech computer voices created to portray spoken Chinese language from Taiwan, Mainland China, and Hong Kong. For each voice, the artist wrote a score resembling concrete poetry. Yeh’s scores were composed to generate unconventional vocalizations made by the computer voices. The final voice, Chih-Fu, is sung by Yeh in the same unconventional style, mirroring the computer voices.  

The work is inspired by the traditional Chinese performance form of Kouji, which emphasizes vocal mimicry. By attempting to imitate the glitchy and machine-like text-to-speech voices, Yeh creates his own form of Kouji to explore their capabilities and limitations. Mei-Jia & Ting-Ting & Chih-Fu & Sin-Ji questions the processes that are used by composers and engineers to represent specific identities and social conditions by fabricating human speech patterns.

C. Spencer Yeh (1975, Taipei, Taiwan) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and is recognized for his interdisciplinary activities and collaborations as an artist, improviser, and composer, as well his music project Burning Star Core. His video works are distributed by Electronic Arts Intermix and he is a contributing editor to Triple Canopy and BOMB magazine. Yeh also volunteers as a programmer and trailer editor for Spectacle Theater, a microcinema in Brooklyn, NY. Recent exhibitions and presentations of Yeh’s work include, Shocking Asia, Empty Gallery, Hong Kong (2017); Two Workaround Works Around Calder, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2017); Sound Horizon, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (2016); Tony Conrad Tribute, Atelier Nord/Ultima Festival, Oslo, Norway (2016); Great Tricks From Your Future, D-CAF, Cairo, Egypt (2015); LAMPO, Renaissance Society, Chicago, IL (2015); Modern Mondays, MoMA, NY (2014); and The Companion, Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, England (2014). In 2015 he was an Artist-in-Residence at ISSUE Project Room in New York City, and was included in the performance program for Greater New York at MoMA PS1. A new project on vinyl record, "The RCA Mark II," was recently published by Primary Information.

All current exhibitions are funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Leadership Circle gifts from anonymous donors, Yuval Brisker, Joanne Cohen and Morris Wheeler, Margaret Cohen and Kevin Rahilly, Becky Dunn, Harriet Goldberg, Agnes Gund, Michelle and Richard Jeschelnig, Donna and Stewart Kohl, Jan Lewis, Toby Devan Lewis, and Scott Mueller.

All MOCA Cleveland exhibitions are supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the Cleveland Foundation, the George Gund Foundation, and the continuing support of the Museum’s Board of Directors, patrons, and members.