NYC-based composer and performer Aki Onda and Yokohama-based sound practitioner Nao Nishihara began collaborating in 2015 while Nishihara was residing in New York as an Asian Cultural Council grantee.
Nishihara returns to New York Thursday, November 10th, to further develop their sonic and spatial exploration. The duo explores the architecture and acoustics of ISSUE's 22 Boerum Place theater site-specifically, presenting a non-directional sound/visual landscape by installing handmade instruments and analog equipment within a visually arranged set-up. Within this sonic field, the duo distinctly incorporates the movement of bodies and special lighting.
“In performance, I try to show the notion of my body. When I beat a drum on my back, I look as if I am dancing even though I do not intend to dance. At this point in time, I want to say that the drum makes me dance. Who is the boss of my body? Also, kinetic sound machines emit sound across me. When they are activated, I feel as if I’m in a band.
The machines are machines, but they help me in the way musicians do. Besides, they do not always work perfectly and they require maintenance similar to the body. I want to show the art of the normal body. Not for any nostalgic reason, but due to the further development of society and technology. During my performance, I often take the style of a crown or street performer from the medieval era. This is because I want to show my honest adoration for their sociality. They supported society from outside of the law.”
— Nao Nishihara
Nao Nishihara is an active practitioner of sound activities, research, sound art, recording, performance, and instrument production. Recent exhibitions include Tsushima Art Fantasia (2016, Tsushima, Nagasaki), Ende Tymes VI (2016, Knockdown Center NYC), Roppongi Crossing 2016 (2016, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo), IDIO Soundlab (Solo exhibition, 2016, IDIO gallery, NYC), Reinen der Ohren (Solo exhibition, 2015, Kunstraum Kreuzberg Bethanien Berlin), 燈著你回來 Lantern Festival (2015, THAV, Taipei) and more. He has also presented work at Super Delux Tokyo, Experimental Intermedia NY, Queens Museum NY, Judson Memorial Church NY. He did the Japanese translation of the books Sound Art (by Alan Licht, Film Art Inc., 2010) along with Kazue Kobata and Hiroshi Egaitsu, and A Brief History of Music (by H.U. Obrist, Film Art Inc., 2015) with Fumiko Uchiyama and others.
Aki Onda is a composer, performer, visual artist, and curator. Onda was born in Japan and resides in New York. He is particularly known for his “Cassette Memories” — works compiled from a “sound diary” of field-recordings collected by using the cassette Walkman over a span of last quarter-century. He creates compositions, performances, and visual artworks from those sound memories. Onda often works in interdisciplinary fields and collaborates with filmmakers, visual artists, and choreographers. His on-going projects include “Nervous Magic Lantern” with Ken Jacobs, improvisation trio with Michael Snow and Alan Licht, visual-sound installation/performance with Raha Raissnia, and site-specific happening with Akio Suzuki. Onda is a director of TPAM (Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama) in Japan.