2015- a long listening journey of a Possible thiStory

December 23, 2017

ある(超難しい)響きについて & I started taking Suona lesson!

image: 碗(it means cup) for Suona

Now I am in Taipei. So cloudy and unexpectedly cold(not as much as Japan off course). To be precise, I am participating in an exchange research residency between ARCUS(Moriya, Japan) and Kuandu Museum(Taipei, Taiwan). Kuandu Museum is located in the north of Taipei near Tamsui. In the northern part of Taipei, there were several Spanish colonies which were then taken by Dutch and later by Chinese, English, Japanese and partly English again... such complex colonial histories are a part of my 17th century research.

The Museum is a part of Taipei National University of Arts. It's up on a hill, 10-15min away from 3 stations but somehow many easy-hikers on weekends. Winds are strong and you have a great view towards the city of Taipei. It means... I am far away from downtown Taipei. Well just an hour or so to be fair.

There are fine art, music, dance, theatre, and new media department. I am staying in the guest house of the university which is in the campus, so I often eat at the student canteen. It makes me feel like I am back in school again. Very proper for research residency environment? but being in school had an advantage in cases like finding a teacher for learning instrument.

I wrote a letter explaining my desire and reasons for learning the instrument to find some people who would be willing to help my search into to the sound of Suona. Soon after my letter was handed to the staff of museum, they passed it to traditional music department in the campus. Luckily one of the graduate student, Chi-yi, found it interesting and contacted the office.

I met to-be-my teacher in the museum office for the first time. There were already several Suona on the table. The instrument has a tiny wooden body called 管 (pipe) and a metal cup 碗 and the reed is rather small for making that massive sound. Seeing it for the first time, it looked well made and yet primitive at the same time.


The curators and staff at the museum were gathered around the table chatting with Chi-yi. It was nice to see them getting interested in the instrument. Although in Tainan and also elsewhere, I feel that the temple and people lives are connected strongly even among young people, the enthusiastic conversation kind of revealed the distance between the "traditional instrument" and people who are not engaged with it.

Musicians of traditional music(include Western traditional music "classical" music) often becomes elite group and at the same time, sometimes, segregated given some "special" tasks to carry out rituals etc. So it is not just the fast pace modern or contemporary urban life and rational(for production) society that separated these music from people but l personally feel the gap or closeness between this type of music and people hints something about the condition of our society. Not quite sure what it reveals but maybe how much extra(but necessary to breath) space it has?

I feel that we all need a space and time that cannot be named. Music may have provided it. Some time-space that refuses any claim and remain unknown. Maybe... and why am I writing this?

image: Chi-yi instructing me how to read and play

Anyway, I started taking Suona lesson. It requires certain amount of breath to produce the sound and to control the pitch. It is so difficult and loud that my ear started ringing after several notes I played.

image: notation for "上管風入松

hope to upload my recording soon! or not...TBA.







-hello is this mamoru?
-ok. TA at the traditional music department contacted us that they found a musician interested in your project and she is in the library now. Are you still sleeping?!
-no no. wow that’s great.
-can you come now?
-sure. in 10min.


-I will be coming to the office in 5 min. Is she already there?
-yes but it’s ok. take your time~


-hi nice to meet you. my name is mamoru
-oh hi, my name is Chi-yi








soundartist77 at 11:55|この記事のURLComments(0)

December 10, 2017

ある響きについて & wondering what I heard in that moment

image: sky above a street in Tainan, 2017

A sentence may tell you the beginning of my recent search...

- I was in Tainan.

Not sure what triggers you by the sentence but with the image above and if you have ever been there, I am sure you can recall/imagine/hear some sound other than the fireworks and the passers by.

There was this sound. It was festive, loud, and uplifting.
I heard the sound everyday somewhere.

It's so identical that I would not miss it. It gave me this timeless feeling somehow, probably deriving from its primitive acoustic energy produced by the intense breath of the player and for sure by something more.

image: excerpt of The Trading Post at Dejima (Japan, c.1840, brush and ink on silk), Rijksmuseum

It's called 唢呐(Suona) in Taiwan. The names and the descriptions of the instrument and its history/origin varies. It can be found in various cultures along the silk road then all over the world, including Japan. Just like many other instruments. So what's so unique about it then?

It is interesting to note that in 16th century, the instrument was introduced to Japanese as "唐人笛"(flute of Tang) but later Portuguese came and called the instrument as "charmela", then more people seems to adopt the European name gradually. But it wasn't so much about this kind of information I can find easily on Wiki or my personal nostalgia that I remembered the sound of the street vendor selling noodles playing this instrument maybe 30 years ago or so. In the chorus of this instrument, I heard something more. Probably another history that I don't know yet.

One thing related to what I am hearing may be found in the following image I have been looking into for several years.

image: *engraved image from Gedenkwaerdige Gezantschappen der Oost-Indische Maatschappy in ’t Vereenigde Nederland, aan de Kaisaren van Japan, Arnoldus Montanus, 1669

I have been inspired by the images created in the Netherlands about Japan(or East) by Europeans who gathered information and imagined it; its culture, history, and geography. It first looked odd, then made me judging that it's wrong and later caused me to wonder on what bases I was judging. I had to question myself what and by what means I assumed that I knew about the 17th Century Japan. Movies? Text book provided by schools? Can I say that I know something about it then?

Could it be true that I am less informed than those Dutch people who made that geography book?

It could. The distance between me and 17th century Japan is so far away in time and cannot compare with the geographical distance those Dutch people had back in 17th century. However, if they wish, they could go on a ship and spend 8 months to reach it(apparently with a lot of luck) while I would have no chance to travel there.

I became curious about their process, so I started gathering many materials about 17th-21st century Japan(or East) from the Netherlands, Indonesia, and now Taiwan to imagine possible histories of Japan or the world. I came to Taiwan (and will be here for a while) hoping to reflect and deepen my understanding of histories especially from 16/17th century onwards. I want to somehow pluralize the world(or my world view maybe) into worlds. Not a Japan but Japan-s. Simply to give space to breathe for myself and for other people who might also be suffocating by the standardisation or more like a singularization of nationalistic identity promoted/propagated by the authority over personal.

What did I hear in the chorus of 唢呐(Suona)?

It was festive, loud, and uplifting. It went on and on and faded out. I was walking away and they were marching on to the next temple. Though the sound faded out, it made my ears more indulged into the details of what I had experienced. And I am in this search of the name for it.

I want to know it.

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August 12, 2017

東京で久々の個展です and my latest music-work will be exibited!

solo exhibition/個展 "散華 上段-Upper Sange 2017"
2017.Sep.02 - Oct.07 @Yuka Tsuruno Gallery

image: excerpt from a video "becomings / 投げ出された身体"(HD, silent, 2017)

ご無沙汰してます。昨年オランダより帰国してから制作していた新作をYuka Tsuruno Galleryにて発表します。
I will be showing my new work @ Yuka Tsuruno Gallery in Tokyo.
(Please scroll down for the rest of English greetings!)

制作にあたって相談に乗ってくださったたくさんの方々に感謝します。そして快く取材に協力し、持てる知見を惜しみなく披露してくれ、レコーディングも快諾してくれた河合 真人上人、そして忙しいスケジュールの合間を縫って素晴らしい作品解釈と演奏をしてくれたガムラン奏者Welly Hendratmoko、パーカッション奏者Alfin Satrianiの2人に心から感謝します。またインドネシアでの録音に関してコーディネートとアシスタントをやってくれた Rangga Purnama Ajiにも改めてありがとう!最後にビジュアル・リミックス担当 Hyuntae Leeにも感謝!(まだ現在進行系ですが・・・w)

image: excerpt of the illustration from "Gedenkwaerdige Gezantschappen der Oost-Indische Maatschappy in ’t Vereenigde Nederland, aan de Kaisaren van Japan"(1669, Amsterdam)


I will be showing my newest work "散華 上段 - Upper Sange 2017" at my mother gallery in Tokyo, Yuka Tsuruno Gallery. Please come take a look or actually to listen to since it is a piece of "music" that I made with fabulous musicians from Yogyakarta and a monk from Kyoto.

The work features sutra chanting of Rev. Mahito Kawai(head of Zuirin temple of Jyodo sect) whom I met and collaborated with at a music festival in Austria more than 15 years ago! Anyway, it is the 5th chapter of my series called "a long listening journey of a Possible thiStory especially of Japanese & Dutch & something more". The recording was inspired by several illustrations in the Dutch geography book published in 1669, Amsterdam, which has been one of the most important inspiration for the entire series. Some of them shows "temples" of their-imaginary-Japan where people dance around the fire in trance and others contains instruments that are truly similar to Java gamelan instruments. I had tried to graft these inspirations with the world of 2017.

Big Thanks to all who helped me and gave advised and making this piece possible. Especially 河合 真人 (Mahito Kawai) for putting his expertise and willingness to create the piece, and Welly Hendratmoko & Alfin Satriani for understanding the concept and expressing it into great performance!! Also Rangga Purnama Aji for giving me so much time and energy coordinating and be willing to assist me during recording sessions in Yogyakarta. Last but not least, Hyuntae Lee for remixing all the images for the projection.(still in progress at this very momoment!) and not to forget Komatsu Sound Lab, who would make the sound system in the exhibition space, be sure to experience the sound if you are around Tokyo! I guarantee you will not regret to experience their sound system even if you don't like my music! ;)

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December 04, 2016

レクチャー@国立民族学博物館 & I will talk about my latest project at National Museum of Ethnology!

image: lecture performance @ National Museum of Art, Osaka(2016)

大阪の千里中央、万博記念公園にある国立民族学博物館にてAnthro Film Lab*主催のセミナー「Anthro-film Laboratory 21」にて現在進行中のプロジェクト「あり得た(る)かもしれないその歴史を聴き取ろうとし続けるある種の長い旅路、特に日本人やオランダ人、その他もろもろについて」の事など、実作のプロジェクションを交えつつ話します。

I will talk about my latest project "a long listening journey of a Possible thiStory especially of Japanese & Dutch & something more" at National Museum of Ethnology, a seminar organized by Anthro Film Lab*.


「Anthro-film Laboratory 21」

Date: Dec. 18, 2016, 14:00-
Venue: National Museum of Ethnology, 2F, Seminor Room 7, Osaka


*Anthro-film Laboratory

Anthro-film Laboratoryは、人類学、映画、コンテンポラリーアートが交叉する実践のなかで、言語に依拠するだけでは伝達されえない知や経験の領域を探求し、人文学における新たな知の創造と語りの新地平を切り開くことを目指します。

Anthro-film Laboratory aims to explore the knowledge and human experience that can be transmitted through non-textual form; expanding the practice of knowledge creation and storytelling in the humanities in conjunction with film, contemporary art and anthropology

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October 07, 2016

あり得た(る)かもしれない歴史にまつわる作品発表! & I will show works I have made in The Netherlands!

left: video still, detail, Further(2016), dancer: Madoka Kariya, right: research material, engraved illustration, detail, Gedenkwaerdige Gezantschappen der Oost-Indische Maatschappy in ’t Vereenigde Nederland, aan de Kaisaren van Japan(Arnoldus Montanus, 1669, Amsterdam)

(Please scroll down for English)

a long listening journey of a Possible thiStory especially of Japanese & Dutch & something more / あり得た(る)かもしれないその歴史を聴き取ろうとし続けるある種の長い旅路、特に日本人やオランダ人その他もろもろに関して

viewing space vol.002: mamoru
会期: 2016年10月29日(土) - 12月3日(土)
Yuka Tsuruno Gallery
140-0002 東京都品川区東品川1-33-10 TERRADA Art Complex 3F
tel. 03-5781-2525
営業時間: 11:00-18:00(火・水・木・土)/11:00-20:00(金)/日・月・祝休廊


今回、この新シリーズの現時点を披露できることになりました。場所は、私の所属ギャラリーであるYuka Tsuruno Galleryの新拠点となった天王洲のアートコンプレックス内の共有ビューイングスペースです。


*1669年にアムステルダムで出版(アルノルドス・モンタヌス著)原題は「Gedenkwaerdige Gezantschappen der Oost-Indische Maatschappy in ’t Vereenigde Nederland, aan de Kaisaren van Japan」。日本語では「日本誌」とか「東インド会社遣日使」等と呼ばれる。


I will be showing my works I have made in the Netherlands in the past year, screening a documentation video of my lecture performance(20.5min) and 2 video works(10 + 3.5min). All together about 35-40min.

The project is inspired by a geography book published in Amsterdam in 1669, titled "Gedenkwaerdige Gezantschappen der Oost-Indische Maatschappy in ’t Vereenigde Nederland, aan de Kaisaren van Japan." This book, 456 pages of text with 71 engraved illustrations and 23 double-paged engravings folded in, comprehensively showcased Japanese people, culture and history and introduced to Western society. I have been making a series of works that, in some way or another, graft today, the world of 2016, to the Possible history that these Dutch book makers had once generated.

The screening will take place in the viewing space of the new art complex, TERADA Art Complex, in which my gallery has moved in. It will run for 5 weeks and the videos would all together be about 30min long so please plan to visit when you have time! I have the privilege of having Komatsu Sound Lab. to assist my sound set ups. It is sounding. (By the way, I am already making a new chapter of this series, and it will be shown in 2017.)

Screening will include the following/スクリーニングの内容:

The 1st chapter: 
this voice・a place・all that is resonating/この声・ある場所・残響するすべて (2016)
a lecture performance, 9:30, language English
viewing link: https://youtu.be/8DyEZ7TMYOI
Documentation of a lecture performance/レクチャー・パフォーマンスのドキュメンテーション映像

The 2nd chapter: 
The Art of Japanese Bowing/(ジ)ヤパニーズのお辞儀 (2016)
a lecture performance, 10:41, language English
viewing link: https://youtu.be/VuQmsxKO-zE
Documentation of a lecture performance/レクチャー・パフォーマンスのドキュメンテーション映像

The 3rd chapter: Further/遠くへ(2016)
HD 16:9, stereo sound, 10'10", dancer: Madoka Kariya, camera: Sol Archer
viewing link: https://youtu.be/91QRUELHkQE

The 4th chapter: outstretched/伸ばした手(2016)
HD 9:16, silent, 3'20", camera: Sol Archer
viewing link: https://youtu.be/Hp8_mPrEYYU

image: a excerpt from "Gedenkwaerdige Gezantschappen der Oost-Indische Maatschappy in ’t Vereenigde Nederland, aan de Kaisaren van Japan." (Arnoldus Montanus, Jacob van Meurs, Amsterdam, 1669)、画像:モンタヌス日本誌、アルノルドス・モンタヌス、1669

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