Ryoji Ikeda – data.tecture (3 SXGA + version) [Osaka]

Working with electronic media and digital data, Ryoji Ikeda explores the nature of sound and light by first reducing them down to their simplest forms, as sine waves and pixels. Out of these basic elements, applying the logic of pure mathematics, he then builds up complex audiovisual compositions, which often take the form of large-scale immersive installations, operating at the intersection of contemporary art and experimental music. Starting out as a composer, working with sound in a variety of ‘raw’ states, such as sine tones and noise (sometimes using frequencies at the very edge of the range of human hearing), Ikeda gradually developed a visual equivalent for his compositions, initially through the spectra series of light installations, isolating specific frequencies in the colour spectrum, but later via his extended research into datamatics, using pixels as the basic unit of light. Through his interest in mathematics, and his work as part of the experimental interdisciplinary arts collective, Dumb Type, he established a very particular aesthetic that transcends specific categories, reflecting as much on questions of science and the universal principles of time and space as the embodied experience of the subjective viewer or listener. The pared down, elementary nature of his installations give a powerful sense of ‘the infinite’, not only in intellectual terms, through the abstract purity of mathematics and the generative qualities of digital data (including everything “between 0 and 1”[1]), but also as an overwhelming ‘oceanic’ experience, which seems to immerse the viewer in an endless sea of data, as sound and vision. For Take Me To The River, Ikeda presented a large-scale site-specific installation in the Main Hall of the Dojima River Forum, entitled data.tecture [3 SXGA + version], specifically tailored to the vast dimensions of the central auditorium. Part of the on-going datamatics series, Ikeda described this as a project that “explores the potential to perceive the invisible multi-substance of data that permeates our world.”[2] Projecting a single, large computer-generated moving image directly onto the floor of the concert hall, Ikeda’s intense yet minimal graphic renderings progressed through multiple dimensions, in monochromatic black and white with occasional flashes of colour, incorporating vast amounts of scientific data, ranging from the human genome, astronomical coordinates of stars in the universe, molecular structures of protein to the data architecture of datamatics itself. From 2D sequences of patterns derived from hard drive errors and studies of software code, the imagery accelerated into dramatic, rotating views of the universe in 3D, appearing to flow through the space like a river, at times achieving tremendous velocity, whilst the final scenes added a further dimension as four-dimensional mathematical processing opened up spectacular vistas. A powerful, hypnotic soundtrack accompanied the imagery with a meticulous layering of sonic elements producing immense and seemingly boundless acoustic spaces. As the audience encountered this environment, they became active participants, entering into the data flow and effectively performing the work through their presence within the installation, in what Ikeda describes as “a total sensory experience.”[3]

== Text written by Tom Trevor for the catalogue of the 4th Dojima River Biennale, Osaka 2015 ==

_MG_0452s _MG_0055s _MG_0067s _MG_0259s

[1] +/- (the infinite between 0 and 1), Ryoji Ikeda, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, 2009

[2] Artists website: http://www.ryojiikeda.com/project/datamatics/

[3] Ibid.

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