Takehito Koganezawa had a performance at the Guggenheim Museum in Berlin on January 31st. He is a Japanese artist based in Berlin, who mainly creates visual works and recently published an art book of his drawings. He’s been in Berlin for four years where he works.

There is a time in Berlin when some museums are open until late on some weekends, and his performance was held during that time. The stage for this performance was the large space built in a well hole style just in front of the entrance. The space made us feel good visually and excited about what was about to happen.

The performers were Roberto Lippok for electronics, who are known for their release from Raster Noton or one of the member of To Rococo Roto, Christof Kurzmann for clarinet/computer, Taiko Saitoh for vibraphone, Robin Hayward for tuba and Junko Wada for dance. Takehito performed as a director bringing a radio-cassette recorder. Apart from him, all performers were blindfolded in the attempt to purify their senses. It was exciting to see their performance only depending on their ears and tactile feeling without seeing anything.

The performance had already started but there was no sound even after a while, but it created a tense atmosphere during which we kept quiet. We had to concentrate on our ears same as the performers as if we use ears instead of eyes.
After a while, the silence was broken with some little sound and it made us feel a little relaxed. However, the slight sound melted into the space, which is 30 by 20 meter big and it so it was hard to recognize it. For me, the space itself looks like resonance equipment and the sound reached our feelings rather than large sound.

Junko Wada dances in the large space with the fine sound and it seems to me she is on a comfortable trip. Contemporary dance usually looks free without sticking to a “form” at first glance but gradually it looks restricted, however, I felt complete freedom from her dance. It might be caused by the impromptu play but she must also be feeling free from the audience’s eyes with her eyes covered. Moving around without seeing anything seems very dangerous but it is a wonder that we feel easy. It looks more dangerous than musicians playing music without moving around.

During the performance, Takehito was moving around with a radio-casette rocorder without his eyes covered. I was curious with him and watched carefully, then found that he played and stopped the recorder repeatedly while approaching a performer and moving toward another person. He seemed to repeat recording and playing the sounds. Each performer was standing separately so they had to concentrate on each sound, but his act made them confused; Takehito recorded one performer’s sound and brought it to another performer to play it. It was a very interesting performance.

He sometimes brought the recorder out of the museum, repeating recording and playing with the aim to break the unseen wall between outside and inside and took over the outside environment. Every sound on earth is a component of music for him. It is not such a new idea, but it’s interesting to see that he tried to express it to the audience through his performance.

In his video art works, there is the one using an environmental sound. He uses three screens projecting different pictures on each of them. The picture is of some daily products or foods and the sound is that which is made by rubbing, snapping or scratching. All visual’s bpm is 120. That is, it is synchronizing with the sound. By mixing these three looped pictures, various rhythms are produced. This work is splendid. Corresponding well with his idea, humor and effort. I’m looking forward to seeing this work showcased in Japan.

I got an impression that he concentrates all his energies on sound and visuals adding an impromptu factor on his recent style.

This performance lasted for three hours which is a relatively long for this type of performance. During the performance, usual visitors to the museum came in and came out in the hall and even those people were a part of this performance like a “spice”. The sound of walking, whispering, breaking a glass or dropping an ash tray. Every occurrence at this place, at that moment was merged into this performance called “Blind Date”. Every audience member who looked at the whole performance or for just ten minutes or people who just walked through might have a different impression from it. Comments from the performers themselves were also various such as “I was confused”, “enjoyed a lot with an open mind”, “confused about the time sense and tactile feeling changed”. The dancer, Junko Wada said she danced like surfing on sound and environment and enjoyed the sound of a glass dropped from a table and broke. It was melted into the sound created by the other performers.

Thus, the quiet and dense three hours was created with the space, impromptu performance, field recording, dance and even audience. Usually, an audience can only see the performance but it was an interesting experience to be able to influence the work. This work is not a kind to “be completed”. It is created by the moment at the place being influenced by the environment. It’s a taste of what he is going to create from now on.

Blind Date
Date: January 31, 2004
Place: Guggenheim Museum in Berlin
Performers: Takehito Koganezawa, Junko Wada, Roberto Lippok, Robin Hayward, Burkhardt Vines, Christof Kurzmann, Taiko Saitoh

Text and Photos: Yasuharu Motomiya
Photos: Manograph
Translation: Naoko Fukushi

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Masahiro Suzuki