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superposition
  • "An astonishing work" ── ArtAsiaPacific

    "Strict, beautiful" ── The New York Times

    Ryoji Ikeda, lauded as "the master of minimalist electronica", is renowned for utilising the beauty of mathematical precision to draw out the essence of sound and image, igniting a completely new visceral and aesthetic experience. Over the past two decades, the celebrated Japanese composer and digital artist has been actively exploring a wide range of creative formats, including live performance, installation and audio recording. Ikeda has collaborated with prominent artists and groups, such as Japan's avant-garde multimedia collective Dumb Type, choreographer William Forsythe and architect Toyo Ito, and received numerous international awards, including the Golden Nica Award, Giga-Hertz Award and Prix Ars Electronica Collide@CERN 2014.

    superposition was commissioned by Festival d'Automne à Paris and held its world première at the Centre Pompidou. Inspired by the world of quantum mechanics, Ikeda observes nature from an infinitesimal perspective in this work. To Ikeda, nature is everywhere, from the microscopic to the mighty, and try as we might to understand it, the unimaginable vastness will always keep secrets beyond the grasp of the human mind. Unusually for Ikeda, this astonishing theatrical concert features two performers who play various non-musical instruments and interact with 21 video screens of different sizes. Orchestrating sonic and visual media into a mind-tingling piece, the pair integrates physical phenomena, mathematical concepts, human control and randomness into an awe-inspiring symphony of the universe.

    Personnel and Cast
    • Concept, Direction & Music:
      Ryoji Ikeda
    • Performers:
      Stéphane Garin, Amélie Grould
    • Programming, Graphics
      & Computer System:
      Tomonaga Tokuyama, Norimichi Hirakawa, Yoshito Onishi
    • Optical Devices:
      Norimichi Hirakawa
    Photo credit: Kazuo Fukunaga, courtesy of Kyoto Experiment
    Stage Manager: Simon MacColl

    Commissioned by the Festival d’Automne à Paris for the musical part created and developed at Parc de La Villette (Paris, FR), YCAM Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (JP), ZKM (Karlsruhe, DE)

    Production: Ryoji Ikeda Studio, Quaternaire (FR), Forma (UK)

    Co-production: Festival d'Automne à Paris, Les Spectacles Vivants – Centre Pompidou (Paris, FR), Barbican (London, UK), Concertgebouw Brugge (Bruges, BE), Festival de Marseille _ danse et arts multiples (FR), Parc de La Villette (Paris, FR), Kyoto Experiment (JP), ZKM (Karlsruhe, DE), STRP Art and Technology Festival (Eindhoven, NL), Stereolux / Festival Scopitone / le lieu unique (Nantes, FR)
    With the support of the DICReAM-CNC (FR)

    Tour production: Epidemic (Richard Castelli, assisted by Chara Skiadelli, Florence Berthaud, Claire Dugot)

    Publicity Supported by

    Artist's Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ryojiikedaofficial/
  • Multiplicity in Simplicity

    By Edwin Lo
    A sound artist and graduate of The School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong

    superposition (2012) is one of the spectacular, large-scale works conceived by internationally celebrated Japanese electronic music composer and audio-visual artist Ryoji Ikeda. Starting out in the 1990s, Ikeda soon gained renown for his idiosyncratic style that weaves a variety of indeterminate audio and music into an abstraction of simple acoustic elements. Among others, he calls on signal processing and sine wave frequencies, together with high and low frequency tones that cannot usually be heard.

    Ikeda's works explore digital aesthetics, mathematics, physics, rationality and human auditory perception. Whether pure sound, installations, or live performances, all are an attempt to stretch the boundaries of hearing and the cognitive world, repeatedly examining the interplay between electronic definitions of beauty and those of the audience. Not only do Ikeda's sonic media pieces exist and carry resonance in the real world, they also tap directly into the senses, creating a singular experience that cannot be categorised or substituted.

    Ikeda's immersive performances and installations have attracted wide interest and recognition. Featured at art festivals, international exhibitions and art museums in different corners of the world for over 20 years, works such as his signature + / - (1996), Matrix (2000) and test pattern (2008) have formed an influential oeuvre for different generations of creators and artists through the most fundamental of creative vocabularies.

    While superposition is characteristic of Ikeda's aural style, the visuals and overall production go a step further by exploring the possibilities of linking sound and image and closely coupling such audio-visual creativity with the staging possibilities of the theatre. Ikeda uses one floor-to-ceiling giant and 20 smaller displays of varying dimensions, synchronising images, information and soundscape in multiple ways. Such an approach provides a rich feast for the eyes and ears, steeping the audience in a multi-layered sensory experience. For the first time, Ikeda also employs two performers while he himself – just like a film director – builds a complex and satisfyingly complete theatrical experience through screens, sounds, lights and space.

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