Provinces is essentially a year long project, the aim of which being to produce a new piece of music, once every calendar month, that focuses on a particular province of China, and highlights a story from that province. Thus far Xinjiang, Guangdong and Beijing have been covered. This month, Qinghai, the province bordering Gansu, Tibet etc. is the focus, or more specifically a man currently imprisoned in Xining, the state capital.
There is some crossover here with another Silk and Dogs project titled ‘Laogai’ that will start up again in the summer, focusing on the use of forced labour camps (Re-education through labour) in China. Visits the main Silk and Dogs site for more details and links.
As a precursor to Laogai, this 4 minute composition features a Tibetan singing bowl reverberating through numerous filters in a 10 x 10 room. The idea is that it reflects the confinement and inescapable decay of the physical and mental environment; it is a small, short piece, and in no way does justice to the thousands imprisoned on exaggerated charges in the People’s Republic. Rather it is designed to create a moment for reflection and consideration. It is also a tool for highlighting one particular case, that of Dhondup Wangchen, a Tibetan filmmaker who was sentenced to six years in prison for filming interviews with Tibetans about their hopes and frustrations of living under Chinese rule. He was sentenced on Dec 28th, in Xinjing, Qinghai, without the knowledge of his family and friends, and has until January 7th to appeal the conviction. Rather than my simplified ramblings, here are some links to the Reporters Without Borders site, where you can read the back story to the case, and Leaving Fear Behind, a site featuring some of Dhondup Wangchen’s work. Finally, I would urge people to sign the Writers Without Borders petition for his release.