Jasphy Zheng on Loop Song: Reimagining Community through Sound

Jasphy Zheng

In an increasingly disconnected world, contemporary artist Jasphy Zheng offers an innovative auditory bridge to bring communities together. Her boundary-pushing project "Loop Song" uses intricately woven soundscapes to connect listeners to the essence of diverse neighborhoods, facilitating understanding across cultural divides.

Zheng explains, "Loop Song is about exploring how sounds, which are so integral to our daily lives, can connect us in unexpected ways. It's about finding harmony in diversity." This concept is reflected in her collection of sounds from various communities, weaving them into a symphonic tapestry that resonates with the universal human experience.

Jasphy Zheng: A Portrait of an Innovative Artist

Born in Xiamen, China in 1992, Jasphy Zheng is an artist whose work spans environmental installations, interactive sculptures, public interventions, and social practices. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, she has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Zheng's art is characterized by its collaborative nature and open structures, designed to embrace change and transformation.

Her achievements include receiving the Special Selection Award of the RanRan Youth Art Award in 2022 and exhibiting her work in several solo exhibitions at internationally acclaimed museums and institutions including Rockbund Art Museum, CCA Kitakyushu, Para Site and the Shed. Zheng's approach is deeply intertwined with the process of creating art, focusing on the engagement and participation of the audience. Her work has been recognized for its innovative and socially engaged nature, making her a notable figure in the contemporary art world.

Capturing the Essence of Communities

Zheng's "Loop Song" project continues her commitment to creating art that unifies communities and cultures. It is a four-month participatory project working closely with local communities in Shanghai to explore areas of sound, improvisation, performance, learning, and community building. She visited local parks in Shanghai to recruit a performance group with eight members from diverse backgrounds playing instruments that don't necessarily go with each other. For four months, they met regularly in workshops to unlearn performing techniques and establish natural reactions to communicate with sound. Each attempt at a "dialogue" became a unique improvisational performance that unavoidably contained undesired noise and chaos. The performance ends when all members tacitly agree the communication is complete.

This immersive approach has allowed Zheng to explore not just improvisational performance, the boundary between music and sound but the essence of communication and community. Each live performance, scheduled weekly in the historical clubhouse in the neighborhood of Xintiandi, Shanghai, is a unique experience, functioning simultaneously as a sound sculpture and interactive conversations with the audience.

An Artistic Vision Beyond Auditory Boundaries

Zheng's artistic vision with "Loop Song" pushes auditory boundaries and reimagines the potential form of languages, offering a fresh perspective on art's role in facilitating community awareness and empathy. The project encourages listeners to rethink their relationship with verbal communication with sound and the invisible threads that link them to others. "I want people to listen and realize that every community, no matter how different, shares certain universal rhythms and patterns," Zheng notes.

This vision is particularly relevant in a world where communities are increasingly disconnected. Zheng's work serves as a bridge, using art to foster a sense of harmony and shared humanity. "Loop Song is more than an art project; it's a call to listen deeply to the world around us and to each other," Zheng reflects.

Impact and Reception that Echoes Across Communities

Since its inception, "Loop Song" has garnered attention for its novel approach to community engagement and its potential to foster greater understanding and empathy among diverse groups. This project won the Special Selection Award of the RanRan Youth Art Award in 2022 and will be developed into a series of works in various cities across the globe.

Listeners have reported feeling a deeper connection to communities they had previously known little about. "It's amazing to see people close their eyes, listen, and then open them with a new understanding," Zheng observes. The project's impact lies in its ability to transcend cultural and geographical barriers, creating a universal language understood by all.

The Future of Sound in Art

As Zheng continues to develop "Loop Song," she remains committed to exploring the potential of sound in art. "There's so much more to discover about how sound can bring people together," she states. Her future plans include expanding the project to include more cities and communities and adding traditional instruments from around the world to enrich this growing symphony.

"Loop Song" is not just a project but a journey – one that Zheng is determined to continue. Her work stands as a powerful reminder of art's role in bringing people together, breaking down barriers, and fostering a deeper appreciation of the diverse tapestry of human experience. "Art has the power to unite, and I'm just scratching the surface," Zheng concludes, her voice echoing the very essence of her groundbreaking project.