The SlowQin: An Interdisciplinary Approach to reinventing the Guqin

This paper presents an ongoing process of examining and reinventing the traditional string instrument Guqin, to forge a contemporary engagement with this unique Chinese musical instrument. The SlowQin is both a hybrid resemblance of the Guqin and a fully functioning wireless interface to interact with computer software. It has been developed and performed with during the last eleven years. Instead of aiming for virtuosic perfection of playing the instrument, SlowQin emphasizes the openness for continuously rethinking and reinventing the Guqin’s possibilities. Through a combination of conceptual work and practical production, the SlowQin works as an experimental twist on Historically Informed Performance, with the motivation of conveying artistic gestures that tackle philosophical, ideological, and sociopolitical subjects embedded in our living environment in globalised conditions. In particular, this paper touches the history of the Guqin, gives an overview of the technical design concepts of the instrument, and discusses the aesthetic approaches of the SlowQin performances that have been realised so far.