Sights, sounds, and mathematics from Japan’s leading audiovisual artist Ryoji Ikeda.
Since his arrival on the international stage in the mid-1990s via his early releases for Touch, +/-, sonic and visual artist Ryoji Ikeda has merged electronic and acoustic sound, environment, and atmosphere to advance his creative impulses. Along the way, these impulses have grown in ambition and scope.
As conveyed in his online biography, “Ikeda’s immersive live performances and installations employ an elaborate orchestration of sound, visuals, matter, physical phenomena, and mathematical concepts.”
Take, for example, perhaps his most famous audio-visual event: A [For Cars], an outdoor performance in front of Walt Disney Concert Hall featuring 100 lowriders and their combined soundsystems. Those of us who were lucky enough to witness the 2017 event have it imprinted into our minds: Ikeda and the lowrider owners converged on the top deck of an downtown LA parking lot and created what the Red Bull Music Academy, which paid for the event, called “the world’s largest synth orchestra … The project brought together 100 car owners from the Los Angeles area, who performed the piece by playing their car soundsystems via a sine wave synthesizer that Ikeda developed in collaboration with RBMA’s Tatsuya Takahashi and Berlin-based firm E-RM Erfindungsbüro.”
Last year London gallery 180 The Strand presented a comprehensive survey of Ikeda’s work. It also featured the premiere of the third in his trio of projects called Dataverse. Here’s a video of the first in the series, as performed at the Tate in London.
“The entire exhibition is based on physical experience, not only intellectual content,” Ikeda told Nowness. “It begins with works that give intense, very simple experiences, and then the works get more complicated, like the data-oriented projections such as data-verse.”
Ikeda designed it, according to release notes, by harnessing “data from NASA and many other scientific organizations, [which] is collected, processed, and converted into high-resolution images projected in the gallery. Experienced both visually and aurally, the works envelop viewers in a world composed of vast amounts of data that usually go unseen and unnoticed.”
Another stellar composition and performance, Metal Music III Cymbals for quartet Op 5, premiered in 2016. From his project “music for percussion,” it was performed by the percussion group Eklekto.
Ikeda’s creative world is vast. Thankfully, his team is devoted to documentation. His website offers a trove of data. https://www.ryojiikeda.com/