|sa Sound Arts vol. 5
XEBEC SoundCulture Membership Magazine
Events, talks, interviews held at Xebec
Interview with SUZUKI Akio (Prt 1)
Interviewer: SHIMODA Nobuhisa (Xebec staff)
|It all began with the desire to hear what a bucketful of empty cans and rubbish dropped down the stairs of the train platform at Nagoya Station would sound like. For close to thirty years, SUZUKI Akio has been performing sound events based on the central concepts of "casting" and "following" leaving in his wake unpredictable audience reponses and reverberations of sound that are almost impossible to "follow." As a leader of the sound art movement and a pioneering artist, he is active throughout the world. In 1993,his exhibition was held at Xebec for two months. During that period, Suzuki gave four days of performances about which he agreed to interviewed. For the first time anywhere, we present those interviews in a three-part series..|
|Suzuki: : I first got the idea for "Howling Objects" when I attached a microphone to the Analapos stand and played with it. It made a howling "wooo" sound when I put the microphone close to the box on the stand, which surprised me, and actually made me jump back. It happened in 1976 just at the time I was doing a sound installation at the Minami Gallery in Nihombashi in Tokyo. Not only was it an Analapos installation, but "Howling Objects" became the first step in developing my floor-based sound performances. I made ten tin cylinders thirty-five centimeters high and from fifteen centimeters to eighty centimeters in diameter. And I painted them black. When I put a wireless microphone in them , I was able to line them up on the floor like a musical scale: do-re-mi-fa-so- la-ti-do. Then by placing the microphone in the center of the space, I got a lot of interesting sound variations by sticking the cylinders inside each other and moving them around. Listening to those unpredictable sounds emerge from them was kind of like performing a ceremony. For that performance, my tools were two tunable FM radio receivers designed for karaoke, which was just starting to become popular about that time, two wireless microphones, and ten cylinders. Later, when I was invited to New York, I started thinking about doing this performance again. Since the metal cylinders were too heavy to carry, I tried using large sheets of black paper cut in half to get an idea what kind of materials I would need there. As it turned out, I was able to get the same effect from paper as I did from metal. And besides that, I figured out that by just rolling the paper without gluing it, there was an even greater diversity of sound available.|
Shimoda: Was eight rolls of paper a good number for that event?
Suzuki: I just happened to buy four pieces of paper and cut them into eight, and I also thought it would be interesting to have them correspond to the eight natural elements used in fortune-telling. The paper was black because pianos are black, and I used to have this habit of painting all of the everyday objects that I was inspired to use in my performances black. Oh, I forgot to mention that the wireless microphones for those FM receivers were tuned to two different spots.
Shimoda: You use two different frequencies?
Suzuki: That's right. I wouldn't be able to do the performance if I didn't.
Shimoda: In that sense, when you do "Howling Objects," except for the sounds that occur when you put in and take out the paper rolls and the way you walk, there
aren't any rules in the event that regulate your actions are there? For example, just by walking, the sounds change and modulation between two sounds occurs, which to my ears, is quite beautiful.
Suzuki: Well, as far as rules, I just leave it up to my body to react to the sound as it changes. It's just as if my feet were continuing along the stepping stones in a garden as I was enjoying the landscape. So in the same way, when I stick the paper rolls into each other, more than trying to create a modulating effect, I try to put myself in the position of enjoying the changes that occur.
|(to be continued in our next issue)|
|The panel exhibitions, "Space in the Sun" and "Process Vol. 1" were held in Xebec Foyer from Wednesday, July 7 to Saturday, September 4, 1993 with sound, ";(B," produced by Suzuki Akio. In commemoration of this event, two pamphlets were published: "Space in the Sun" and "Festivity on the Ancient Hill." Both are on sale in the Xebec Cafe. a sound & art vision|
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