OCT-LOFT is located in the former eastern industrial zone of Shenzhen Overseas Chinese Town (OCT). The original businesses that were here in during the 1980’s were mostly “Three-plus-one” industrial enterprises, producing and processing furniture, paper, CD’s and daily necessities. In 2004, OCT Group transformed dozens of existing factories, warehouses and dormitory buildings built in the early 80’s into the OCT-LOFT, attracting various types of innovative industries to preserve the architectural form and historical traces of the old factory buildings.

Since 2006, OCT-LOFT has always maintained this creative work environment in an inclusive and open manner for intellectuals, designers and avant-garde artists active in the Pearl River Delta, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. It is the most distinctive innovative cultural space in southern China.

Artist Notes:

Zen: OCT-LOFT is the best area for me in Shenzhen, Actually I have no more place to go. I performed at OCT-LOFT in 2006 when it was still a broken factory. During the 10 years we organised many many events there. Nowadays OCT-LOFT became the most important cultural zone in the city, but the ART is moving away and I feel sad about it.  

Simon: Whilst visiting OCT-LOFT I recorded many sounds including bamboo using contact mics (which pick up the vibrations in an object) and gave these to Zen Lu to begin the track. I then added additional electronics using an instrument called the Cocoquantus that suits the broken down factory, in an attempt to suggest both the history of the area and Zen Lu’s sadness.

Simon James and Zen Lu

Simon’s work combines electronic sources such as the Buchla Electric Music Box (a self-contained electronic instrument) with a mixture of field recording techniques and sound treatments. He uses sound to transport the listener to fantastical audio worlds, where the lines between the sonic, physical, historical and mythical are often blurred, the ultimate aim is deep immersion.

 He has always searched for and strived to create new sounds that appear to have come from somewhere outside of this world, I hope that the audience wonders, ‘what is that sound, where did it come from?’

His music under the name The Simonsound, took inspiration from the cold war, space race, science fiction and library music, and the album ‘Reverse Engineering’ was selected by Gilles Peterson as one of his BBC Radio 1 records of the year.

Zen Lu is an experimental/electronic musician and a sound artist. He’s one of the founders of ChoP, a musical project between China and Poland. Zen is also a member of N2 New Media Art Lab. Early 2007, Zen Lu founded Shenzhen independent label ‘We Play! Records’ and started organising events with artists from all over the world. He also composes music for dramas and movies. Zen Lu’s minute, meticulous and minimalist digital music style as well as his events and label has played a major role in bringing a new wave of art activities to Shenzhen, for which the latter has been long considered a cultural desert.


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Simon James and Zen Lu