Victoria Shen is a sound artist, experimental music performer, and instrument-maker based in San Francisco. Shen's sound practice is concerned with the spatiality/physicality of sound and its relationship to the human body. Her music features analog modular synthesizers, vinyl/resin records, and self-built electronics. Eschewing conventions in harmony and rhythm in favor of extreme textures and gestural tones, Shen uses what she calls "chaotic sound" to oppose signal and information, eluding traditionally embedded meaning. Her personal identity; her body; is the space her work utilizes to restructure sonic meaning. In her live performances, she proposes an exploration between meaning and non-meaning through the physical activation of noise tropes. Her probing into these melodic voids interrogate the ways we perceive value within aural experiences. The appendage-like instruments and objects she makes, exemplify Shen’s ability to embody through sound her interest in the tension created by opposition: control and chaos, the unique and the mass produced, the practical and the absurd. Shen’s multimedia practice extends beyond musical composition and performance to include installation and non-traditional methods of distribution. Her DIY approach to deconstructing the concepts of “materiality, value and mass production” both integrate and re-contextualize the formats of the readymade and assemblage techniques. For example, the album art for her debut LP, Hair Birth, utilizes copper to transform the cover into a loudspeaker through which the record can be played. In 2021, Shen produced a series of cut-up records in cast resin embedded with found materials, functioning not only as playable music media but as unique art objects. For recent performances, she pioneered the use of Needle Nails, acrylic nails with embedded turntable styluses, which allow her to play up to 5 tracks of a record at once. Needle Nails, Levitating speaker, and her Noise Combs are some of the objects created by her as part of an extensive repertoire of innovations in the design of sound augmentation. These sculptural elements invite the viewer to unpack one’s relationship with the material possibilities for creating sound. Shen has performed solo across North America, Japan, Mexico, and Europe as Evicshen and as half of the duo TRIM in North America and the UK. Some notable venues in which she has performed include Boston City Hall, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, ISSUE Project Room NY, DOMMUNE Tokyo, and Petreon Sculpture Park Cyprus. Shen has also been an artist in residence at Elektronmusikstudion EMS Stockholm SE, WORM Rotterdam NL, Kurimanzutto New York US, the Sound Laboratory of The Royal Danish Academy Copenhagen DK, and AUDIUM San Francisco. Shen is currently a teacher at the School of Visual Arts NY and a staff member of the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) Max Lab at Stanford.
Victoria Shen is a life-force of insanely creative ideas and commanding performances. We had a lot of fun sitting down with her and talking about her process, how she creates sound devices, AI rendering, iron oxide tattoos, and her musical selection, Hissing Prigs in Static Couture by Brainiac.
VICTORIA SHEN (EVICSHEN)
Cedric Bixler-Zavala (At The Drive In, The Mars Volta, Antemasque) talks about Brainiac's influence on modern Noise and Post-Punk movements.
Jeff Buckley article mentioning Brainiac singer, Tim Taylor
MUSIC & ART
Patrick Shiroishi (played with Shen at The Smell in July)
Dylan Fujioka (played with Shen at The Smell in July)
Hajime Sorayama - Chrome Women
KNOWLEDGE & MISC
Stochastic - adjective (specialized)
A stochastic process or system is connected with random probability.
AI rendering apps online
This Person Does Not Exist dot com
Christopher Royal King (This Will Destroy You, Disassembler) – Peep his IG for more weird AI stuff
Morphagene (instrument, modular synthesizer)
ISSUE Project Room (theater, performing arts)
Flower Electronics Jealous Heart (instrument)
Flower Electronics LBB (instrument)
The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction