Ryoji Ikeda/Formula ~ first impressions

Image of numbers from Ikeda installation

  • Elegant and minimal, I’m struck by the sparseness of Ryoji Ikeda’s music.
  • The DVD is divided into Concert and Installation sections. Both share the same audio.
  • The visuals are mesmerising and somewhat mysterious. Each visual element appears initially to reflect a sonic element. Gradually this is disproved.
  • Looking at the accompanying book, I suddenly realise that the different segments of the visuals are in fact distinct pieces that were exhibited (I think) at different times.
  • The filming of the visuals with the reflective floorspace makes for an excellent extra dimension, both literally and metaphorically.
  • I was surprised to encounter a brief section containing American vocal samples. Also, at 10:10 there’s a sound that appears to be the same as the beginning of David Bowie’s Fashion.
  • I was rather disappointed by the brevity of the DVD.
  • I concur with my friend’s wish that what we saw at Tate Modern might be issued on DVD in the near future.
  • What does it all mean? Stupid question, I know. The Tate performance appeared to finding ways to articulate big numbers and to express the depth of math that is simultaneously complex and, ultimately, simple.
  • I’m struck by the sonic proximity of Ikeda’s (and Alva Noto’s in particular) work to that of music producers such as Ken Ishii, Ryoichi Kurokawa, Mika Vainio, the tech-house of Jan Jelinek, a slew of Mille Plateaux/Clicks and Cuts acts and from there back to early to mid 90s Junglists. Is this coincidence? Unlikely. Do Ikeda and Noto acknowledge or take inspiration from such sources? I struggle a little with the parameters of their music given its ‘repurposing’ – if that’s what it is – from dancefloor to art gallery. Hence the question of meaning.
  • The bio at Ideda’s management site states “… Ikeda has been developing particular “microscopic” methods for sound engineering and composition, diffusing an aesthetic of ‘ultra minimalism’ to the art world…” Wow, if only Donald Judd and his mates had known…
  • My copy is number 2123 of an edition of 3000. I remembered these figures four days after reading them for the first and only time.

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