“dorkbot?”, what’s that? I hit on that question. I’d never seen it, so that’s quite a natural…however, regardless of it, that question got bigger while I couldn’t catch the detail if I visited Web site of it. As information, I could imagine that it was “a group of those who performs something interesting with electricity” and that those whom I knew a little joined it.
The event had already been held 4times and the 5th was at The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. The start was after closing hour and the visitors had to enter not through a front door, but through side door. There was air of secrecy from the beginning. The concern “Is this the true entrance?” did I eliminate when I found those who would head for it.
However, the situation drastically changed once I saw the event site. The site was a court of a roof of the building. It was cloudy that day, but I could imagine vast, starry sky. There was a projector, lighting, sound system and food stands. There gathered audience and there was atmosphere of expectation that something special would happen though the space was a roof of the building on an average day. The dorkbot was performed at this extraordinary space, inside and outside at the same time.
A coordinator Kensuke Sembo, who is a member of the art unit Exonemo, briefly experienced what was “something interesting with electricity”. Digital representation itself was good enough, but electric representation coupled with analog part was also interesting. It was the dorkbot that functioned as a place for representation by those who made pieces from strong seeking like “Radio Life”, a magazine for radio maniacs, I heard.
Muneteru Ujino did a live performance, which wasn’t simply categorized as a sound sculpture, with “The Rotators”. “The Rotators” is an original equipment, which doesn’t only exist as an instrument that enable to play music made by rebuilding various electronic products, turn table, guitar amp and so on, but also comes into existence as a piece.
I heard that “The Rotators” wholly consisted of analog equipment and there wasn’t digital control at all. It means that the machines in front of us make raw sound and repeated sound unique to machine makes overlap beats like techno music.
Next, JUN’ICHI OKUYAMA, who presented an answer with idea of genius to what experimental films were, hot up the end of Tokyo’s summer, which was a bit cold, without doubt. His performance with microphone, from which I couldn’t help feeling his love with films, was almost equal to Antonio Inoki in full power. He high-handedly ended “Human Flicker. Eiga Tanjyo” for the last time, saying “I’m poorly today, so go to next”.
However, whether the piece’s coming into existence or not, we in mysterious ways understood what he wanted to tell, which was proof that he had seriously faced films from the 60’s. His final piece was “FILMUSICA”. For the piece, 1.he answered to pure question what the sound of old films with no sound was like, 2.he performed experiment of new kind of movie by the ear, 3.he did live performance, which was like Jimi Hendrix at Monterey Pop Festival, with sparkling equipment of film as strings and projector as instrument. Films, art, electricity and music, he expresses them in a cross-sectoral manner with great passion, which was really cool.
Moreover, as time for everyone, various interesting pieces with electricity appeared at “public offering presentation/live for 5min”. Shigeyuki Hirai made a persuasive presentation about an interactive piece of humor that functioned in a bathroom, though he had 5minutes.
I’ve heard that this dorkbot is an event and project, which proceeds not only in Tokyo but also all over the world at the same time. Electricity, it is so fascinating and dangerous an existence, and those who are attracted. We should pay attention to how the network like this develops along the way.
Date:September 16th, 2006
Place:The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
Text and photos: Yasuharu Motomiya