Protagonists: Wu Wai Chung

Communication, between chaos and silence


An anechoic chamber of paper which is intended to make us reflect on how it is difficult to communicate and the silence in which we take refuge gives rise to chaos. Wu Wai Chung is the creator of this interesting work. She is a Chinese architect who took part in the last edition of the Lucca Biennale in Italy.

Wu Wai Chung is a Chinese architect who wrestled with the creation of a monumental cardboard piece of work, with the evocative title: “No More Message”. It is an anechoic chamber, within which communication is lost and chaos reigns. But what is it? We interviewed her to learn more and inform those who did not have the pleasure of seeing it displayed last summer in Lucca (Italy). In fact the work was displayed within Lucca’s Palazzo Ducale, as part of the Outdoor section of Lucca Biennale.

«Lucca Biennale was a great opportunity to exhibit my work to the world» said Wu Wai Chung. «My work “No more message” was inspired by the anechoic chamber which can absorb sound and is so silent that it causes chaos because people can become terrified when seeing it or entering it».

 A cardboard anechoic chamber

An anechoic chamber, for those who don’t know, is a structured environment which reduces as much as possible – like a laboratory – the reflections of signals on the walls. The term, from the Greek, actually means “echo free” and is useful for creating simulated conditions of open space of infinite dimension.

In her work, the artist has indeed created a structure similar to a tunnel, with the internal walls made into a pyramid which reduces sound waves as much as possible. Anyone who wants to enter will be able to check that the sound does not arrive clearly. Visitors, in fact, can try to communicate from one end to the other, but the sound will not travel clearly. The work therefore – explains the artist – aims to make us reflect on how we would sometimes want to communicate something, but because of some filters we don’t succeed in doing so or we are not understood and, in this way, the silence in which we take refuge gives rise to chaos.

Wu Wai Chung studied architecture in Hong Kong and then in London. An unobtrusive person with artistic gifts which show great human sensitivity, her passion is to interact with the public through her innovative architectural work and her dreams, “take part in more exhibitions and enable more people to see my work”.

She defines herself as an architect but she is also an actress, curator, artistic director and artist. Despite her architectural studies, she specialises in the merging of art and craftsmanship thanks to contemporary architecture. Amongst her “teachers” are Peter Zumthor, Anselm Kiefer, Van Gogh and Gandhi.

Her work can be seen in Hong Kong, Italy, France and Russia.

Her sculptures and art designs include “The Energy Flow”, which won a competition organised by the Hong Kong government and “No More Message”– to which this article is dedicated – a sculpture which was exhibited at Lucca Palazzo Ducale at the Biennale Italy and received the Outdoor Artist Award in 2018She was selected as an artist to exhibit her work in Moscow, Nice, Ghana and Shanghai and is also founder of Soti Design Studio, a multidisciplinary practice which concentrates on innovative projects.

What about you?

«I am an architect and artist who passionate about what I do, born in Hong Kong, and live in France and India».

You are architect, artist, and curator-founder of SOTI Design Studio: how did you study?

«I studied architecture in university in Hong Kong and London».

Which were your teachers, also the famous artists who inspired you?

«There are so many teachers in my life: Peter Zumthor, Anselm Kiefer, Van Gogh, Gandhi, my mother».

How did you approach this exhibition?

«I saw the open call of artist in Lucca Biennale. So I submitted my work and got selected. That’s the first time I use paper as medium».

Do you also use other materials?

«I do use other materials, like fibreglass, concrete and stainless steel. I would use different materials to express whatever I think is suitable».

Regarding you operas with paper, what kind of paper do you use and why did you choose it?

«I use carton. It is hard and thick enough to have sound insulation effect».

Do you have a particular technique, which one?

«The cardboard should be folded with extreme care. Any scratches on the surface will destroy the artwork».

Who do you inspire for your subjects?

«John Cage, certainly».

Which are your customers?

«Usually they are government or private collectors, they commissioned me to create artworks in the city. Recently examples are Hong Kong and Moscow Government».

About “No More Message”, how the project was born?

«It was inspired by the anechoic room. I love objects that are highly engineered. How could it match with the theme of Lucca Biennale: Silence and Chaos? Anechoic room is so silent that you could hear your blood flow, however, no one could stay in the room over 45 minutes. You will get scared».

What message did you want to send and why?

«We are looking for silence and peaceful all the time, but if we eventually have it, we would be scared, and chaos arise. We could communicate through this artwork, but the other actually could not hear from the other sides due to the spikes are designed to absorb sound. That’s why it is called “no more message”».

Did you make other works with paper? Can you tell us about it?

«Recently I am working on a collection of artworks using paper to explore the pattern of nature».