Yasunao Tone at ISSUE Project Room
Well known as an active member of the Fluxus movement since 1962, Yasunao Tone’s expansive practice eschews standard notions of media and embraces contradiction. His most recent sets, harsh and scrupulous digital noise generated by his own modifications to the MP3 encoding system, have been called, “chaotic and highly charged, cerebral in its conceptual intent but with a bracing sense of urgency” (Wall Street Journal). This evening, Tone performs solo as part of Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain, joined by his recent collaborators Talibam!, a duo of Matt Mottel (keys) and Kevin Shea (drums) who also celebrate their 10th anniversary this year.
Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain– a two-month festival celebrating ISSUE Project Room's 10th anniversary– revisits seminal past projects and initiates new relationships with over 60 artists working across disciplines of sound, dance, performance, and literature. Presented as a series of 24 evenings of provocative double billings, Ten Years Alive blurs the boundaries between divergent disciplines and practices and celebrating the vibrancy of the Brooklyn experimental arts community.
Yasunao Tone (born 1935) is a Japanese-American artist, writer, theorist, and composer. According to critic Alan Cummings, he is “part of a whole generation of post-war iconoclasts who followed in the wake of John Cage's discovery of indeterminacy, determined to shake music and art out of their enslavement to the high art, romanticist ideals of the 19th century.” He co-founded Group Ongaku (Music group) in the early 1960s, has been active in the Fluxus movement since 1962, and has also been an organizer and participant in many important music and performance scenes including New York’s Downtown improvisors, and the European electronica experimentalists. An outstanding experimentalist, Yasunao coined the term "paramedia art" to describe his work, and his artistic inventions include prepared CD and interventions with an MP3 system. Primarily a composer, Tone has worked in many media, creating pieces for electronics, computer systems, film, radio and television, as well as environmental art. His work is distinguished by conversion of text into music via images with analog and digital means, and with critique of medium in use (Music for 2CD Players, Solo for Wounded CD ). Tone has presented concerts at the Kitchen, MoMA, the Guggenheim, Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona, the Ars Electronica Festival, Centre George Pompidou, Sonic Lights in Amsterdam, ATP festivals and Lovebytes festivals, among many others. Select exhibitions include the Venice Biennale, numerous FLUXUS shows, "The Japanese Avant-garde since 1945" at the Guggenheim Museum, "Bitstreams" at the Whitney Museum, the Yokohama Triennale. Honors include the Ars Electronica Golden Nica award and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts award in music.
Vigilantly bolstering sonic diversity since 2003, Talibam! is proud to have arrived at their 10-year anniversary with a lucid compassion for humankind. Matt Mottel (keys) and Kevin Shea (drums) have remained devoted to their belief that the application of diversity in sound is paramount to the appreciation of diversity among fellow beings. Talibam!’s ultimate goal has always been to create music out of kindness, and to explore disparate ideologies threaded with proficiency and questioning. Talibam! has worked hard to proselytize their process -- within the last year alone, Talibam! has collaborated with legendary Fluxist artist Yasunao Tone at the MoMA, completed three theater residencies in NYC (at the IRT Theater, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space, and at the Incubator Arts Project), released 3 albums, completed 4 tours of Europe, and collaborated with world-renowned choreographer Karole Armitage in her dance company Armitage Gone! Dance. To date, Talibam! has traveled to 40 countries, completed more than 30 international tours, and released 26 albums. Matt Mottel was an ISSUE Project Room Artist in Residence in 2010.