I remember reading Jonathan Jones’s review in The Guardian of Rioji Ikeda’s supersymmetry when the work was launched in 2014. I went back and read it this week, and I agree with Jones’s assessment that there is something a bit dangerous about doing “science-y” looking art that claims to “respond” to a major advance in modern physics. This quote seems pertinent:
[supersymmetry] is spectacular, but it doesn’t add up. If the Large Hadron Collider were anything like this it would probably have blown a hole in the universe … as some feared when it was first switched on. Every time anything like sense emerges in the play of digital plasma, it gets broken to pieces by feedback and lightning. This is not a work of art about physics. It is a work of art about how crazy everything is. That’s a trivial misunderstanding of what goes on at Cern, surely.
Certainly what little I’ve read online today doesn’t give me a right to judge Rioji Ikeda impressive oeuvra, but neither am I particularly inclined to pursue this particular artists work, despite its superficial similarities with my interest in ecology-influenced sound art. My impression is that “science-like” practices that are not in fact scientific (“all the trappings of science”) are often not positive influences are human beings (pseudo sciences, conspiracy theories, etc.), and I think Rioji Ikeda’s work sometimes skates dangerously close to this line. Then again, perhaps I am misreading this work, and my opinion will change with further research.
I find Yoko Seyama’s Plane Scape absolutely fascinating. I think this work is interesting because of how seamlessly it blends cinematography, environment (architecture), and sound. I see a parallel with the artist’s earlier work with rain drums, acoustic resonators that respond to the viewers micro-environment, except here, in the dark, with just sound and points of light, the experience has been stripped down to first principles of observed visual-sonic causality. Although I don’t see any mention of it in the project description, I wonder if Seyama is playing with this causality here, setting up expectations for the viewer, and later undercutting them. After all, the physics of this cloistered world of darkness, light, and sound need not behave precisely as we are accustomed. Yoko Seyama clearly has an interest in color, and sound, and staging for multimedia performance works with music. While her gallery work is tangentially related to my preposed project, the greatest body of her creative output is not significantly relevant in this context.
Max Neuhaus’s work has more in common with the work I plan to do with piezo’s and derelict agricultural structures. I was surprised at how limited his total body of work is, however. Certainly Time Square is more “gorilla” than the kind of gallery or online installation I envision, but it plays off of the subtle enhancements of expected sounds in an environment, and that’s certainly a goal of my project as well.