Stephen O’Malley

Fujiko Nakaya + Shiro Takatani “CLOUD FOREST”

Posted: Jul 30, 2010

Fujiko Nakaya + Shiro Takatani “CLOUD FOREST”
Fujiko Nakaya + Shiro Takatani “CLOUD FOREST”
Fujiko Nakaya + Shiro Takatani “CLOUD FOREST”
Fujiko Nakaya + Shiro Takatani “CLOUD FOREST”
Fujiko Nakaya + Shiro Takatani “CLOUD FOREST”

Fujiko Nakaya + Shiro Takatani “CLOUD FOREST”
Date: August 7 (sat) -October 17 (sun), 2010
Venue: Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM]
Patio, Foyer, Central Park
Admission free

Sound Design & Graphic Design: Takuya Minami (softpad)
Programming: Ken Furudate
Curator: Kazunao Abe (YCAM)

Organized by Yamaguchi City Foundation for Cultural Promotion
In association with Yamaguchi City, Yamaguchi City Board of Education
Supported by the Agency for Cultural A airs Government of Japan in the
scal 2010
Co-developed with YCAM InterLab
Produced by Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM]

Dear Sir / Madam,

It is our great pleasure to announce “CLOUD FOREST” an exhibition
proposing new forms of environmental creation through a fusion of artistic
expression and technology, at Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM].

"artistic environmental spheres" formed by fog, light and sound
Large-scale project unveiled simultaneously in three public spaces in and around YCAM

The upcoming CLOUD FOREST exhibition at the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM] presents examples of newly discovered environmental creation, realized with an "artistic environments" themed fusion of artistic expression and information technology. Currently on show in three different public spaces in and around YCAM will be a large-scale collaborative project featuring "fog sculptures" by Fujiko Nakaya, an artist whose works have gained much attention at various occasions in Japan and overseas, along with the original light and sound art of Shiro Takatani.
These commissioned installations conceived in-residence at YCAM combine artificial fog, sunlight and sound, orchestrating with the help of originally developed devices and responding to changing weather conditions a variety of impressive sceneries. Visitors can experience transformations in their perception as they interact with artworks incorporating information technology while walking in the fog in the patios or surrounding park. While introducing and reevaluating foresighted art and science projects originally presented at the EXPO'70 Osaka, which eventually inspired this new project, the exhibition anticipates the future of environmental creation, "informational spheres" of tomorrow, and possible creative quests through art.

Related events
■Opening events
Demonstrative Performance
August 7 (sat) 19:00 - 20:00
Venue: Foyer, Patios Admission free
Artists: Fujiko Nakaya, Shiro Takatani, softpad (Takuya Minami, Tomohiro Ueshiba, Hiroshi Toyama) In addition to Fujiko Nakaya and Shiro Takatani, the members of Kyoto-based art/design collective softpad, who took charge of the sound design for this exhibition, participate in a special experimental live performance incorporating the fog, light and sound installations in the patios and foyer.

Artist Talk
August 8 (san) 14:00-16:00
Venue: Studio B Admission free
Guests: Fujiko Nakaya, Shiro Takatani Moderator: Akira Asada
Artists involved in this exhibition appear as special guests in a casual talk session that gives them the opportunity to introduce their works. Moderator will be Akira Asada, a specialist in the field who is familiar with each artist's endeavors to date. While referring to the work of E.A.T. at the 1970 Osaka Expo's Pepsi Pavilion, which inspired this project in the first place, the artists will look back at such trailblazing achievements as Nakaya's "fog sculptures" and David Tudor's soundscapes originally presented at the Expo, and discuss the developments and prospects now, four decades later.
* There will be guided gallery tours offered during the period of the exhibition. Please check the exhibition website for more information on additional event.

― Prospects of art-inspired new environmental creation

Rather than addressing "environmental" issues only from an ecological point of view, this "artistic environmental spheres" themed exhibition focuses on the mutual relationships between natural, social, mental and informational environments. Aiming to provide a stage for such diverse aspects of the subject matter to function as interfaces for each other, CLOUD FOREST pursues a contemporary form of environmental creation triggered off by transformations in human perception. The shifting perceptual experience of interacting with artworks incorporating information technology and YCAM's architectural characteristics makes the visitor aware of spatial transfigurations, and ultimately commands ideas related to "environments" of the future.

"Environment" as an art form
This exhibition is based on a definition of "environment" as a compound of mutually generative, penetrative and reflective areas. While there have been various movements in the past that proposed environments as stages for or components of art, such as land art or earth art, this exhibition aims to explore the creative aspects of media art for possible new forms of "environments". Think of it as an attempt to generate with the help of information technology open environments embracing multiple interlinked, mutually "environmental spheres". In this day and age, the concept of "environments" manifested through spatial transformations is surely going to write its own quiet yet forceful story.

■40 years after the EXPO'70 Osaka: E.A.T. reinterpreted from a contemporary point of view
 E.A.T. (Experiments in Art and Technology) attracted worldwide attention when the American experimental collective presented their work in the Pepsi Pavilion at the EXPO'70 Osaka. At this huge international event, the group of collaborating artists and scientists presented the astonishing results of their pioneering exploration of the relationship between environment and art, driven by the participating artists' innovative ideas. Considering the 40 years between then and the present day as a fundamental period of transition from the material productivity-based viewpoints of progressive science to invisible information capitalism, this exhibition attempts a critical review of the ideas and accomplishments of E.A.T. By interpreting such forward-thinking approaches of art and science with an eye on contemporary information society and perspectives of environmental creation, we aim to disclose a contemporary form of reality and its new environmental components.

"Environments" emerging out of human perception and networking technology
This exhibition couples the "fog sculptures" of Fujiko Nakaya with the creative ideas of the late David Tudor, who was in charge of interactive sound when Nakaya's works were first introduced at the EXPO'70 Osaka's Pepsi Pavilion. The "fog sculptures" take on a variety of appearances at the main venues in and around YCAM, shown alongside a new installation piece incorporating Tudor's original concept of soundscapes based on environmental reverberation. Altogether, the displays can be considered as a collaborative attempt of new environmental creation, undertaken by Fujiko Nakaya together with the YCAM staff and such post-Expo generation artists as Shiro Takatani. These works utilizing information technology to incorporate in various ways transformations of both natural surroundings and human perception communicate a sensory idea of critical, totally new "spheres of artistic environments".

The exhibition's title, "CLOUD FOREST" is borrowed from the name of a subtropical forestal area that is characterized by a frequent formation of mist about the canopy level. It is a place that can be considered as a peculiar zone of active interpenetration right in the middle between wild nature and the realm of human society.
At the same time, the title is a reference to David Tudor's sound installation/performance piece "Rainforest". Approaching the laws of nature by means of cutting-edge technology, this exhibition pays deep homage also to the innovativeness of the "Island Eye Island Ear" project that Fujiko Nakaya conceived with Jacqueline Monnier back in the 1970s.

"Environmental spheres" in three installations

Patios  ... Interfaces of fog, light and sound
The entirely glass-walled patios - high open spaces that allow wind, rain and sunlight to fall in - are intermediate places combining/connecting the outside (natural environment) with the inside (artificial environment). This exhibition includes large-scale installations involving artificial fog, light (reflected sunlight) and sound, which transform the Center's two patios into interfaces between two different types of environments.
Influenced by the surrounding interior and exterior environments, the artificial fog that is emitted in varying intervals from multiple directions forms convections of various modes and configurations. In addition, a special mirror device is used to redirect sunbeams into the fog. As optical effects will vary significantly according to the fog's configuration, meteorological conditions, and the position of the sun, the displays will continue to take on different appearances depending on the time, position and angle. As locations, sizes, and positions of installed apparatus are different in both patios, visitors can appreciate two completely different installations. Furthermore, special sound systems installed inside the exhibition spaces allows visitors to perceive the soundscapes locally while walking through the fog. Also visible from outside the glass walls are subtle motions of fog and light that one normally doesn't see in the open nature.

Foyer  ... Soundscape defined by an intense mixture of sound and light
Exhibited in the foyer, a place flooded with natural light from the patios on both sides, is Shiro Takatani's large-scale installation based on reflections of sound and light [Sound Designed by Takuya Minami (softpad)]. Nine specially built sonic devices - two-meter-high rotary square poles fitted with four superdirective speakers each - are arranged in a grid pattern on the floor in the center of the exhibition space. While the poles rotate at varying speed, all of the 36 speakers emit alternately synchronous and asynchronous superdirective sounds to weave complex sonic carpets. Next to field recordings of natural environmental sounds, the installation uses audio sources prepared by David Tudor for the EXPO'70 Osaka. These components will form a densely complex acoustic environment while echoing in complicated patterns from the venue's walls and stairs. Visitors can look forward to enjoying an absolutely unique spatial experience in a setting bathed in a mix of artificial and natural light.

Central Park  ...Fog sculptures" flowing and merging with the environment
Fujiko Nakaya's "fog sculptures" are exhibited in wide outdoor spaces. Like in the patios, clouds of artificial fog will be generated also in the central park in front of YCAM. Due to rapidly changing wind conditions, here the fog clusters will move in instantaneously shifting patterns. While marveling at these massive formations of fog quite different from the sceneries in the patios, the visitor can witness how these "fog sculptures" flow and merge with the environment.

* Also on display are photographs and video footage of previous works related to this exhibition (Fujiko Nakaya & David Tudor, EXPO'70 Osaka "Pepsi Pavilion", etc.)

Organized by Yamaguchi City Foundation for Cultural Promotion
In association with Yamaguchi City, Yamaguchi City Board of Education
Supported by the Agency for Cultural Affairs Government of Japan in the fiscal 2010
Co-developed with YCAM InterLab
Produced by Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM]

Sound Design & Graphic Design Takuya Minami (softpad)
Programming: Ken Furudate

Curator: Kazunao Abe (YCAM)
July 2010
Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media

Photos top to bottom

Fujiko Nakaya "Fog Sculpture #47773" Pepsi Pavilion Commissioned by Experiments in Art and Technology (EXPO' 70, Osaka, Japan 1970) photo: ©Takeyoshi Tanuma

"Island Eye Island Ear" Project by Experiments in Art & Technology (Knavelskar Island, Sweden 1974) photo:Fujiko Nakaya

Fujiko Nakaya "GREENLAND GLACIAL MORAINE GARDEN" (Nakaya Ukichiro Museum of Snow and Ice,Kaga City, Japan 1994)  photo:Rokuro Yoshida

“CLOUD FOREST”[Central Park](YCAM 2010)

“CLOUD FOREST”[Patio](YCAM 2010)