My name is Sanford Biggers, and the title of my piece is Hip Hop Ni Sasagu (In Fond Memory of Hip-hop). I lived in Nagoya, Japan, for around two years in the early nineties, and while I was there I became very fascinated by Buddhism and started to study Buddhism, Taoism, a bit of Shinto history as well as the Japanese language. So fast forward around ten years, and I was invited to Ibaraki, Japan, to do a residency with the ARCUS Foundation. I went there with the intent of doing a project based on bells – singing bowls, actually. And I learned in my research that if you were to mix gold and silver into the alloy that makes the bell, it changes the tonality and the tone that you’ll be able to get out of the bells. [Bells chiming] So I came with this idea that I would melt down Hip Hop jewellery – necklaces, bracelets, rings, and make them into this alloy to later become a singing bowl. I made around seven or eight bells myself, and then there were seven or eight additional bells that were provided by the temple. And some of these bells were as old as 200 years old. So when you are listening to the video, and the audio that is outside right now, you will hear a lot of different tonalities because there are 16 bells in total being played, each one having a different sound. [Bells chiming] The way we performed the bell chorus was actually from a diagram that I created, which was basically an improvisational structure that everyone can follow. The idea was to get the performers to play the bell when they thought it needed to be played. To really be present and listen to all the sounds in the room, and decide when their sound, or voice in this case, was necessary to complete the full spectrum of sound we were looking for. The title Hip Hop Ni Sasagu actually means ‘in fond memory of Hip Hop’ because in essence, this becomes an homage to Hip Hop past, Hip Hop of the eighties and nineties, which I consider to be the golden era of Hip Hop. When I was growing up in Los Angeles in the eighties, I was very involved with the early movement of Hip Hop and rap music. So I was DJ-ing, I was doing graffiti, I was break-dancing, and a little bit of MCing. The thing that made me connect that to the idea of spirituality and Buddhism and meditation was that my friends and I, when we would do these break-dance arts or these Hip Hop arts, we would go into it with the same idea as a martial artist might go into his or her practice. So it would be a ritual that we would do daily, we would have stretching and conversation, and then we would go into the actual rehearsal of moves, and then we would go on to battles and so on. So it became very much like a martial arts practice. The Hip Hop artists really considered themselves somehow soldiers or warriors defending their own honour and battling and so on, and so it was very much like a Samurai mentality. I think it’s very different now, because it’s not so much about protecting your honour and your skill, and showing that off, it’s more about making money. And that’s ultimately what this piece was about – Hip Hop Ni Sasagu took that idea of money and bling and materiality and melted it down to immateriality, back into pure sound.