You Nakai, Ai Chinen and Kay Festa
2012. 8. 29
(50th anniversary of the premiere of 4'33")
National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
Zico (Koji Iino)
Kazu (Kazuya Takahashi)
Buchi (Daiki Tabuchi)
Haji (Hajime Teranishi)
Hina (Ken Hyuga)
Yoshi (Shigeo Yoshihara)
Naoki Sugihara (DJ)
Hikaru Toho (Bass)
Natiho Toyota (Drums)
You Nakai (Banjo)
Noko Nonomura (Piano)
Yoshihito Mizuuchi (Vocal)
Tadashi Yonago (Trombone)
A collaboration with professional blind athletes from the Japanese national team of Blind Soccer, a sport in which all the information necessary to play a game is sound-based—from the ball with a bell inside to all the codes that players would shout to one another to inform each other's location within the game field. These athletes could see the world through their ears.
We constructed 'ball speakers’ to which sound could be sent through an internal bluetooth receiver, and which were robust enough to be kicked around.
We then worked with the blind athletes to create an environment they could 'see with their ears' by putting different sound-emitting devices to every physical object in the 16,000 square feet performance space (these included, for instance, radios playing out an extremely fast reading of texts using a special software for the blind, which to the ordinary listener sounded like static noise).
The most dangerous, indeterminate factor nonetheless remained: 300 or more audience ('Found People') were expected to walk around the space freely during the performance. We came up with a simple solution: to attach noise-bugs to each Found People. These were either, (1) cheap alarms purchased from 100 yen shop whose circuitry were tweaked to adjust their volume and sound pattern; or (2) a small sound-triggered chirping bird toy imported from Hong Kong which started triggering each other endlessly when there were many of them.
Before the doors opened, six 'Instrumentalists' performed an open-recording session of the music in the foyer of the museum, by listening and reacting to a "pre-text" track which in this case was a remix of recordings from Concertos No.1. The vocalist's role consisted in listening to what the instrumentalists were performing and singing his response to what he heard (e.g. "that sounded like a big elephant"). The individual instruments were recorded and later played out from the ball speakers.
While this was going on, another layer of blindness proceeded. Randomly assembled group of 12 ‘Ad-hoc Performers’ who knew nothing about the performance, interacted with other audience members in the foyer until they each decided on a ‘Personal Audience’ whose phone number they then obtained.
At the start of the performance, all the Found People, along with the 12 selected Personal Audiences entered the venue. When the lights turned off, the Instrumentalists (who had been closing their eyes to attune to darkness) went around attaching noise bugs to each person.
Then the six Blind Ball Players came in and played soccer with three speaker balls in complete darkness. Each ball emitted two different instrumental sounds that had been recorded earlier in the foyer. Some people attempted to steal the balls but failed. Most people appreciated the sound environment composed of various sounds all adjusted carefully to the same level so that none would mask the other. Moving clouds and slipstreams of noise were created as Found People moved around with their noise bugs attached.
When the performance started, the 12 Ad-hoc Performers stayed outside and called their Personal Audience, asking all sorts of questions to figure out what was happening inside.
After obtaining sufficient information, the Ad-hoc Performers all burst in and replaced the Blind Ball Players, continuing the piece based on what they had learned over the phone conversation. During this last section, the recording of phone conversation between the Ad-hoc Performers and their Personal Audience was played back. The Ad-hoc Performers were left on their own to decide how to end the piece.
| Tokyo, July 5 - August 29, 2012 |
Our contribution to the catalog of the event published from the museum was a score of a nursery rhyme whose entire lyrics served as the necessary instructions to create Concertos No.4, and whose accompaniment was the transcription of music performed by the Instrumentalists in the museum foyer before the performance and subsequently played out from the ball speakers. One music to remember another.
| New York, July 25 - August 3, 2013 |