sound Installation

Omnipresence ver.1
1999-2000


There is no center to the universe, but at the same time anything could become the center.
There is no beginning or end of time, yet every moment is in itself a beginning and an end.
All things appear for a season and fade away, transform, flow about,
and they know no stopping point.





The twentieth century was an age of mass production and mass consumerism. Our lives depended upon the consumption of huge amounts of energy sources such as petroleum as well as enormous amounts of other natural resources. However, it is said that fossil fuel sources such as petroleum will play out after another hundred years or so; meanwhile destruction of the natural environment around us continues, the environmental crises deepens, and in many ways eats away at our existence. Upon the threshold of the twenty-first century, one can only assume that we are facing an inevitable change in our lifestyles and concept of values. This work consists of roughly 450 motors which make music by ringing bells while light-emitting diodes (LED) flash on and off in the darkness. The sound the viewer hears is only the slight sound of the copper bells themselves with no electronic processing or amplification. The luminescence of the LEDs is also something quite subtle. What this work offers its audience is a chance to watch carefully and listen consciously. In our day-to-day lives, we come in contact with so many "things" and pieces of information that we may have gradually lost the inclination to actually watch and listen; to experience our surroundings. We must learn again how to watch and listen, to recover the will to experience our natural environment. With this work I would like to present a new concept of values for the twenty-first century. With "Omnipresence" it is possible to make a variety of settings with an identical mechanical composition. "Version 1" is set up so that the viewer is surrounded by the bells and diodes. A small space is most appropriate for its exhibition. This way, one is able to experience it in a more personal manner; however, the number able to experience the work at one time is of course limited.

Purpose
The purpose is to envelope oneself in sound and light that he/she may experience a feeling of inebriation and/or relaxation.

Outline
The bells and light-emanating diodes are placed at varying heights and locations surrounding the one experiencing them. The bells are made of copper and brass pipes, making sounds and producing music from the striking of a wooden ball driven by a computer-controlled motor. The lights flash on and off by motor in synchronization with the music.

The Use of Non-Digitalized Sound
All sounds in this work are produced by the striking of copper or brass pipes, making no use of synthesized electronic sounds. Amplifiers are also not utilized. Each bell has its own pitch and tone; however, by the continuous striking of the bells, the resonance of the bells with one another, various types of harmonics and rhythms are produced. Subtle sounds and acoustic effects which are impossible to reproduce through the digital data of computerized compact discs are experienced. Furthermore, the placing of hundreds of bells throughout the space causes one to experience a feeling of three-dimensional sound which could not be duplicated by the average audio system. As modern man is so accustomed to the mechanical sounds of computers, television, and compact discs, such "raw" sound may seem novel. Although not seen, electric wiring and a computer program play an important part in the work; however, the sounds which people hear will be naturally produced. In producing notes through copper and brass which could be produced more simply by using electronic equipment, a new sensation will be stimulated and the ability to detect naturally produced sounds (which is becoming dormant in modern man) re-awakened. The significance in producing this work purposely using raw materials stems from the concern that, in experiencing nothing but sounds and sights produced by television and compact discs, we may be limiting our sensations and sensitivity of sight and sound. Also, computers will more than likely continue to extend their role in our lives and in society, but within that reference it is my sentiment that it is better for computers to remain in the background of our lives and not be so evident in the foreground. This work can also be interpreted as symbolizing that ideal.

The Space of Sound
People are able to grasp a sense their own physical being and existence by awareness of the space around them. When one can no longer identify the space surrounding oneself; that is, when space becomes something undefinable, one forgets one's own physical being, the bounds of the body become ambiguous, and a transformation of one's consciousness occurs. This work gives one the opportunity to envelop and submerge oneself in sound. In this work, sound is not on the outside of the beholder, but rather one is enwrapped in it, loses the boundary between oneself and the sounds and surroundings, and it is my aim that one will experience a feeling of melting in with the space around oneself.

Light
The diode lights utilized in this work indicate the location of the sound's origin, and while giving the space a sense of depth, the stars twinkling and fireflies flashing in the darkness portray an illusory and mystic space. As a detailed and specific intention or form is not presented, the beholder's imagination is free to roam. Just as the sound surrounds one, the lights in this work are placed as to surround the beholder flashing on and off repetitively at a high speed; thus he cannot grasp it as a particular point of reference, and in conjunction with the sounds, the lights lead him into a sort of trance-like mode in which he stops thinking consciously.

The Philosophy of a Multidimensional Cosmos
In the natural sphere of this world or of the cosmos, there is no specific center and all things exist as separate and independent entities. On the other hand, many things have a mutual and organic involvement with one another, as a whole forming a single living organism. In this work, sounds are produced in different places and resound to compose a harmonic state. In other words, each bell sends out a different sound but forms an organic and harmonious state, symbolizing a sort of multidimensional perspective of the cosmos.

Music
The music played by this object is a piece composed to bring out the special characteristics of the work. In some places it is as background music with long reverberating tones, in others it is a simple repeated rhythm akin to tribal music or "minimal" music. These two elements come in turns, holding the listener's interest.

The "Background Music" Part

In this part of the sequence, the music is not accompanied by rhythm, but rises gradually, leaves reverberations and fades away. As the sounds are produced by metal materials such as copper, the sounds have depth and a lingering sensation. In Zen Buddhism, there is a concept of "emptiness" ("ku"). "Ku" is said to be the state of being filled with "nothingness" ("mu"). The purpose of this work is to realize the concept that the intervals between sounds and spaces between lights are not merely meaningless empty spots but rather are full of design. - The "Minimal Music" Part This part of the piece is composed of simple rhythm and repetitions such as in Gamelan music of Indonesia, or modern music. At the beginning, simple sounds and rhythm emerge from the quiet and gradually various sounds join, adding depth to the music; following repeated modulations the music changes on. Gradually, the sounds once again fade out and it returns to the original simple sound and rhythm, and to the quiet once again. In doing this, the music takes on a characteristic of transformational circulation; always changing, always circulating. At times quiet, at times dynamic, at times quick-tempo, at times transforming itself in symbolization of the flow and circulation of nature and appealing to the physiology of man.

How to experience the work

There are in all fifteen pieces of music, taking three hours to play through. In that period, it is the viewer's choice whether to stay the entire time or to come and leave at his/her convenience. The viewer is to experience the work by standing in the center. He/she may also make use of a chair for long viewing periods. The number of people who may experience it at one time ranges from one to ?? people, so that the viewer may experience the light and sound at as close range as is possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo-1
Photo-2
Document-japanese

sketch

floorplan

diagram