Concertos No.4 (2012)

Conceived by You Nakai, Ai Chinen and Kay Festa

Premiere: 29 August 2012, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Tokyo, 5 July - 29 August, 2012

A: Blind Ball Players (6+1 people)

Crystal (Support)

Zico (Koji Iino)

Kazu (Kazuya Takahashi)

Buchi (Daiki Tabuchi)

Haji (Hajime Teranishi)

Hina (Ken Hyuga)

Yoshi (Shigeo Yoshihara)

 

B: Instrumentalists (6+1 people)

Naoki Sugihara (DJ)

Hikaru Toho (Bass)
Natiho Toyota (Drums)

You Nakai (Banjo)

Noko Nonomura (Piano)

Yoshihito Mizuuchi (Vocal)

Tadashi Yonago (Trombone)

 

C: Ad hoc Performers (12 people)

Yuka Unai

Tomoyuki Okuyama

Motoko Oohinata

Kureko Onobuchi

Rie Kitazawa

Satoko Kono

JuRit

Arata Takagi

Yoshinori Tanaka

Asao Sekine

Tomoko Hojo

Aya Momose

 

D: Personal Audiences (12 people)

Unidentified

 

E: Found People (More than 200)

Unidentified

Understanding the functional role of sound for the visually impaired, we worked with professional blind athletes from the Japanese national team of Blind Soccer, a sport in which everything necessary to conduct a game is based on sound—from the ball containing a bell inside, to all the rules which included the articulation of the game field into a matrix, so that players could transmit one’s location by shouting out a combination of x and y axis (e.g., ‘B4!’). As a matter of fact, these athletes could ‘see’ the world through their ears. Making the most out of their exceptional abilities, we constructed ‘ball speakers’ which had two amplifiers each connected to a Bluetooth receiver, and was robust enough to be kicked around. We then worked with the blind athletes to create a soundscape they could see and move through by putting different sound emitting devices to every single physical object in the 16,000 square feet performance space (these included, for instance, radios playing out a superfast reading of texts using a special software for the blind, which to the ordinary listener only sounded like static noise). However, the most dangerous and the most indeterminate factor remained as we expected 300 or more audience who would walk around freely during the concert. A simple solution was posed: in the first part of the concert, performers went around in totally darkened space attaching to each audience member, either, (1) small noise devices made by tweaking the circuitry of cheap alarms purchased from 100 yen shops, or (2) small sound activated chirping bird toys which after reaching a certain threshold quantity, would start triggering each other endlessly. Then six blind athlete performers came in and played three speaker balls in complete darkness, each emitting two different instrumental sounds that had been recorded in advance. Yearning to participate, some audience attempted to steal the balls but proved to be too inapt, but still creating streams of noise as they desperately moved after the blind performers with their noise devices attached. Others appreciated the sound environment with a variety of sounds (all adjusted carefully to the same volume so that none would mask the other) in a purely aesthetic manner, but never realized the functional aspect of it all due to their blind belief to see with their eyes and hear with their ears. Underneath all this, another layer of blindness and visibility proceeded. Randomly assembled group of 12 ‘ad-hoc performers’ who knew nothing of the work interacted with other audiences before the concert to decide each on a ‘personal audience’ whose phone number they then obtained. Ensuing the start of the piece, the ‘ad-hoc performers’ stayed outside and called their ‘personal audiences,’ asking all sorts of questions to figure out what is happening inside. After obtaining sufficient information, they all bursted in and replaced the existing performers, continuing the piece based on what had learned over the phone conversation. During this last section, the recording of the phone conversation was played back until the substitute performers decided also on how to end the piece. Sonnet for Concertos No.4, our contribution to the catalog of the event published from the museum, is a score of a pop song (or more accurately, a nursery rhyme) whose entire lyrics (in Japanese, translation in progress) are instructions to create Concertos No.4.