Requiem of Our Digital Age
Set to the poetry of Xu Lizhi 許立志 (1990 – 2014), Njo Kong Kie’s song cycle uses the human voice, the piano, and video imagery to create a tragic but beautiful cry of protest in solidarity with immiserated workers everywhere.
In this haunting song cycle, composer and performer Njo Kong Kie 楊光奇 sets the poetry of Xu Lizhi 許立志 to song and delivers a lamentation for our digital age. Xu toiled in a factory in Shenzhen, China, where he, along with hundreds of thousands of others who were unseen and ignored, manufactured the digital devices we use every day. Xu’s spare and profound poetry is an indictment of labour exploitation, and it also offers a glimpse into his interior life: his hopes, his dreams, and his struggle under the unbearable weight of existence.
Kong Kie’s score for solo voice and piano is performed in Mandarin, with English subtitles that are integrated into a rich tapestry of video imagery. The result is a contemplative landscape—and a powerful insistence on Xu’s humanity. This is a work about human dignity and economic injustice, each set against the other in a conflict as familiar as it is tragic. In the synthesis of the two artists, we have a vital human document, an act of political witness, and, not least, a performance of great beauty.
“Everything about this show is thoughtful, measured, and well-pitched. It celebrates and mourns Xu and destabilizes viewers in important and timely ways. You’ll not look at your cell phone the same way again”
– Toronto Star
“Njo’s score is a marvel, conveying a vast spectrum of places and complicated emotions with heartbreaking lyricism”
– The List, Edinburgh
With the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and Fundo de Desenvolvimento da Cultura do Governo da RAE de MacauBook Now