Dong Zhou (*1992) is a composer, media artist and performer. She obtained her B. A. in Music Design at the Shanghai Conservatory and her M. A. in Multimedia Composition at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg. Zhou was commissioned to compose works for the Shanghai International Art Festival, the Hamburg CLAB Festival and the Center for Art and Media (ZKM) Karlsruhe. In 2018, she won the 1st Prize in “ICMC Hack-N-Makerthon”. In 2019, she made it to the Finale of the Geran Music Competition. She is currently doing her doctorate at Leuphana University Lüneburg on the topic of “Site-specific Multimedia Performance as an Artform”.
Which topic turns up again and again in your artistic activities?
Various topics turn up again and again in my work as an artist: the sound environment and its message, particularly in industrialised urban life, furthermore individuals within a powerful system, misunderstandings and discrimination on the basis of gender and ethnicity as well as Internet culture. These topics frequently overlap since they constitute different sides of contemporary culture.
What do you seek to achieve with your cultural education activities?
While I seek to support people of different origin in expressing themselves and thus becoming visible with my cultural education work, I also want it to help people to achieve mutual understanding and self-reflection.
What, in your view, is the essence of an artistic intervention in cultural education?
Artistic intervention in cultural education finds a topic and seeks to address it with an artistic solution. Sometimes the problem is not immediately solved, although the intervention can integrate the topic in artistic practice and gradually improve the situation.
Gong project, 2017
In 2017, Wang Shiwen and I founded the collective “Gong Project”, which produces interdisciplinary music works and brings together musicians representing different music styles. In this project, we aim to provide the opportunity to look at Chinese folklore and philosophy and transform it into music and performance in order to use it to comment on and criticise contemporary society.
What have you taken home from this project for your artistic activities?
I have learnt to perceive music not only as an acoustic result but also as an approach to a context and a means of exploring its historical background. This experience has in turn inspired my compositions. Especially when I create performative works of art, they give the music a new dimension. While collaborating with musicians from various regions, I learn how they understand and express culture. I then explain some Chinese cultural phenomena. This sharing of experiences is not meant to be an exotic exhibition but is intended as a platform for mutual understanding and discussing current topics in society. Experience gained can also be transferred to the curating of concerts.