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PEOPLEText: Aya Shomura

"The Visitor", collaborated with Jeff Mills, 2015

“The Visitor”, Collaborated with Jeff Mills, 2015, Photo © Ryu Kasai

Could you tell us about “The Visitor”?

This object is something that positions between sculpture and instruments. I worked on this collaborated with a Techno artist, Jeff Mills. It was exhibited only for one night at Warehouse Terrada in Tokyo last year. In the process of creating this object, I observed Jeff’s performance and exchanged opinions with him. I designed a control panel paying close attention since Jeff controls equipment gently as if he were a wizard.

"Juke Box" Learning gallery, Tate Britain, 2014

“Juke Box”, Learning gallery, Tate Britain, 2014, Photo © Yuri Suzuki

I feel that all your work have a feel of “the viewers themselves can create sound.” Also, they are all visually stylish. Is there anything that you are particularly careful about? Also, aside from songs themselves, your work provides an impression of “having fun with sound that you collect” rather than “music with sheet music.” What is “Sound” to you?

As I mentioned before, due to my dyslexia, it’s hard for me to digest information from visual. I’m very happy to hear that my work is stylish, but I’m just putting my feels into a shape being lead by interaction and sound. I have been a fan of the trombone and practiced it since I was little. But since I have dyslexia, I wasn’t able to follow sheet music and got kicked out from a band. Because of this bitter memory, I came across the idea of creating “music” just to enjoy the sound itself rather than music. To me sound is necessary and I listen to music as much as time allows.

I found an episode that you lost all your mp3 data during the move to Europe. Do you still find the difference in distance between analog and digital to be the same as before?

Since digital is so easy and convenient, I usually listen to music digitally. Analog format holds a value to me. So I prefer analog format when I want to enjoy music or DJ which I control music using my hands. I use them both depending on the situation. 

"Sound of the Waves" Installation, 2015

Installation “Sound of the Waves”, 2015

Anything that you are interested in now? If so, please share the reason as well.  

I came across an idea of wanting to design sound to work as a background. My recent work “Sound of Waves” was created with the idea which reflects sound that no one realizes like the white part of a painting on canvas. 

You offer lots of workshops. Any particular reasons?

Workshops provide good opportunities where people can touch and enjoy my work in person. There, I can see how people see my work and that gives me ideas for next projects. 

"Pied Piper",  Production, E&Y Japan, 2015

“Pied Piper”, Production by E&Y Japan, 2015

Can you tell us about your performance happening in February in Japan and your schedule for this year? 

I am doing a performance called “Dialogue without vision” at Kanagawa Arts Theatre from February 7th to February 11th. I also have an installation at Mudam Luxembourg in Luxembourg later April. My new work premier is planned in May and an announcement of Swarovski Award commission at Design Miami in Basel. 

Lastly, please share the reason why you became a sound artist and designer.

My father is a record collector, so I grew up seeing a wall filed with records at home. I naturally started to like music. When I was little, I watched to Betamax video that I recorded from MTV until the tape got worn out. The reason why I didn’t become a musician is because of my dyslexia and luck of talent. I was looking at my mother’s school catalogue and I got interested in studying design due to the cool looks of industrial design. However, I gave up on industrial studies since I couldn’t find meaning into doing it as school homework. After Maywa Denki and grad school in England, I started to title myself as sound artist designer. 

Text: Aya Shomura
Translation: Yumico Miyagawa

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