Concertos No.4 (2012)
Conceived by You Nakai, Ai Chinen and Kay Festa
Premiere: 29 August 2012 (50th anniversary of the premiere of John Cage's 4'33"), National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
A: Blind Ball Players (6+1 people)
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)
D: Personal Audiences (12 people)
E: Found People (More than 200)
C: Ad-hoc Performers (12 people)
1: A collaboration with professional blind athletes from the Japanese national team of Blind Soccer, a sport in which all the information necessary to play a game is sound-based—from the ball containing a bell inside to all the codes that players would shout to one another to inform each other's location within the game field (e.g., 'B4!'). These athletes could ‘see’ the world through their ears.
3: We then worked with the blind athletes to create an environment they could 'see with their ears' 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 an extremely fast reading of texts using a special software for the blind, which to the ordinary listener sounded like static noise).
2: We constructed 'ball speakers’ to which sound could be sent through an internal bluetooth receiver, and which were robust enough to be kicked around.
4: The most dangerous, indeterminate factor nonetheless remained: 300 or more audience ('Found People') were expected to walk around the space freely during the performance. We came up with a simple solution: in the first part of the concert, performers went around in totally darkened space attaching a sound-emitting device to each 'Found People.' These were either, (1) a small 'noise insect' made by tweaking the circuitry of cheap alarms purchased from 100 yen shop; or (2) a small sound-triggered chirping bird toy imported from Hong Kong which started triggering each other endlessly when there were many of them.
5: The six Blind Ball Players then came in and played soccer with three speaker balls in complete darkness. Each ball emitted two different instrumental sounds that had been recorded in advance. Some people attempted to steal the balls but failed. Most people appreciated the sound environment composed of various sounds all adjusted carefully to the same level so that none would mask the other. Moving clouds and slipstreams of noise were created as Found People moved around with their noise devices attached.
6: While this was going on, another layer of blindness proceeded. Randomly assembled group of 12 ‘Ad-hoc Performers’ who knew nothing of the work had interacted with other audience members before the doors opened (while six 'Instrumentalists' performed an open-recording session of the music that would later go into the ball speakers) to each decide on a ‘Personal Audience’ whose phone number they then obtained.
7: When the performance started, these ‘Ad-hoc Performers’ stayed outside and called their ‘Personal Audience,’ asking all sorts of questions to figure out what was happening inside.
Tokyo, 5 July - 29 August, 2012
8: After obtaining sufficient information, they all burst in and replaced the existing performers (Blind Ball Players), continuing the piece based on what they had learned over the phone conversation. During this last section, the recording of phone conversation between the 'Ad-hoc Performers' and their 'Personal Audience' was played back. The 'Ad-hoc Performers' decided also on how to end the piece.
Sonnet for Concertos No.4 (2012)
Our contribution to the catalog of the event published from the museum was a score of a nursery rhyme whose music was a transcription of the music performed by the instrumentalists in the museum foyer before the performance (which was subsequently played out from the ball speakers), and whose entire lyrics served as the necessary instructions to create Concertos No.4. One music to remember another.
25 July-3 August, 2013