KYOTO EXPERIMENT 2012 – Ryoji Ikeda

Last night I finally got to see a Ryoji Ikeda show at the Kyoto Experiment Festival and wow! My senses are still reeling!! When I was planning my trip to Japan many months ago I originally booked for a 4 week stay, but then these datamatic v2.0 shows were announced and i was on the phone to my travel agent the next day! Turned out the 3 Tokyo shows sold out before we got organised to get tickets for it, but then a show was scheduled for Kyoto as part of the Kyoto Experiment project and we got tickets very soon after the announcement! And wow, it was so worth the effort! Here is a promo video for the show incase you have no idea who I’m talking about:

The programe for the show also noted: “In 2013, his new work, superposition, will come to Kyoto for its Japanese premiere” so I will be planning a visit to coincide with that next year (I suspect I’ll be spending quite a bit of time in Japan next year! Along with Emperor release & Tusi Nara shoot I’m also very keen to attend the Kobe Bienalle…. and I’m also applying for an artists residency here)

The show had a stern warning:

* No children under 6 admitted.
* Due to the use of the strobe effect and the high frequency sound during the performance, it is not recommended for those who have heart conditions including those who wear pacemakers.

And that warning was well justified. The 55 minute screening was HUGELY dynamic, with a lot of very hard cuts from scenes that had slowly built to the point of being oppressively loud and dense to sudden minimalism & then cutting back to sudden glitchy sub bass sounds & static rhythms that almost gave me minor panic attacks! Intense is an understatement!

The projection and sound system were extremely high quality – the screen being approx 5m x 5m and the monitors capable of making your abdomen resonate in the same way a dub reggae or dubstep sound system might… except with far more aggressive edges to the bass sounds. I’m pretty sure a few fillings rattled loose.. At one point a very low frequency sound felt like it was travelling up through my body as the frequency slowed ramped… For some people it could be torturous but despite there being a few moments where I wanted to block my ears due to the density & SPL, it was totally spellbinding!! From what I could detect Ikeda was using data from DNA/genome sequencing and also from planet/meteor spatial location to create totally hypnotic visual & sound cues… so, so beautiful – it felt like looking inside the fabric of the universe itself!

After the show there was a small store selling CDs and books, where I picked up what looks to be a very interesting book: “Creativity Seen/Unseen in Art and Technology – A compendium of media art and performance from YCAM: 2003-2008”
They also had Ryoji Ikeda CDs and books for sale, but when I was in Tokyo I visited one of my favourite galleries, the ICC Gallery, and bought a copy of his book: “+/- (the infinite between 0 and 1)” which is beautiful but also has a lengthy conversation between Ikeda and critic Akira Asada, discussing Ikedas history, influences and ideas…. totally fascinating!

For anyone unfamiliar with his work, a copy of the program notes:

“Ikeda creates sounds and visuals that are beyond our perception, making excellent use of computer and state-of-art technology. The one day only audiovisual concert takes place in the vast space of Kyoto Art Theater Shunjuza! Based in Paris, Ikeda is one of the world’s leading electronic composers and visual artists and his new work is always eagerly anticipated. His large solo exhibition “+/-[the infinite between 0 and 1]” at Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and spectra[nagoya], which was done as a massive installation at Nagoya Castle with a high voltage search light that reached the stratosphere (Aichi Triennale 2011), have both left, sonically as well as visually, a great impact on audiences.
datamatics [ver.2.0], in which Ikeda uses all sorts of data such as microscopic DNA and molecules all the way to the macroscopic cosmos in an attempt to grasp the world by exploring the limit of human perception, is the final piece of a series that began in 2006. Creating infinite sequences at high speed, he composes the almost violent performance with great precision. Ikeda’s ultra minimalistic world offers a sublime audio-visual experience. In 2013, his new work, superposition, will come to Kyoto for its Japanese premiere.”

See you in Kyoto in 2013!?

One Response to KYOTO EXPERIMENT 2012 – Ryoji Ikeda

  1. Ryoji Ikeda is a genius! I saw his C4I and formula show in 2006 at the Barbican in London and remember having exactly the same reaction. There were moments when the sub bass made my internal organs were resonating like crazy. Fantastic use of film montage, lighting and an awesome soundtrack. It was an extremely powerful audiovisual experience.

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