Yuko Hasegawa


Ryoji Ikeda

+/-[the infinite between 0 and 1]

Venue : Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT)



Organization : Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

Artists :
Ryoji Ikeda

Can you imagine a world that is a sphere of air with no solid ground? it has oxygen, but no natural gravity Internally. it has a number of suns, and in dark areas where their light does not penetrate. there is a freezing winter where nothing can grow. Artificial gravity is needed, and this is achieved locally by providing a gentle spin as a public utility. With no ground to walk on. people fly. and since there is no distinction between sea and sky. birds catch feathered fish. This is "Virga. " science fiction writer Karl Shroeder's constructed world that presents a reality so detailed as to be totally plausible. ' The worlds of Ryoji Ikeda's creations involve a similar attention to detail, devoted to the construction of an immaculate fictitious space. Likewise, viewers are surprised by the completely different physical and perceptual experience of the world in Ikeda's composed spatial and temporal environments. For instance, in a white-out space he converts sounds into vibrations that can be sensed by the body but no longer heard. in contrast. in a pitch-dark space. all the phenomena and events of the world are converted to what he calls "data. " numbers that are accumulating and blinking. Our perceptions and our bodies are limited. They can only gain a partial grasp of the enormity of this data from the vibrations of the air sufficient to make our bodies jump. or from the countless numbers reconfigured from data and covering all the walls as a composition reduced to pixels, the smallest unit of resolution, or from white light so powerful as to threaten our eyes. Ikeda produces worlds that are 100-percent constructed. They are controlled worlds that take perceptual experience to the limit. If he were to produce a white cube full of light or a darkroom in which images are projected onto a large screen. viewers would be able to "simply" walk on by. However. because of the way that his spaces provide stimuli at the edge of our perception or awareness. they trap viewers in a world of rich. dense, three-dimensional aural and visual information For a short time. viewers are put in the position of having to be in that world, just like the people with no choice but to live on Virga. On realizing that the massive numbers rising up in that space are all data for external phenomena, or on being caught up in the delusion that the data passing in front of you is connected in direct series with the genome sequences that are part of your own body, we are struck with amazement. Face to face with the infinite progression of data assaulting us, it is as if viewing a mirror of our own perceptions as they attempt to take in that data ad infinitum, seeing in daytime. and then forgetting, how the hippocampus throws out 99 percent of that data each night while we sleep Beginning as a performance music producer, then as a composer. Ikeda worked predominantly with sound. but from 2002 he has enhanced visual elements, first in 0'1, then to an increasingly greater extent with data.tron, and datamatics. We have the ability to choose what we let into our vision. but sounds are obligatory. Ikeda's formula is an audiovisual performance. but there is a big difference between experiencing it at a performance venue and watching a DVD on a monitor. The progression of pictures relativized and extracted as images reveals his strength at composition for a two-dimensional screen Conditions such as the bodily sensation of sound and the size of the screen diffuse the purity of the images. unsealing our warm receptiveness for pleasant images. Humans have good dynamic vision, but if their field of vision is blocked, they are likely to retain their memories of images and attempt to interpret their meaning. However, as composer. Ikeda works to ensure that the sequences of images he produces are non-signifier signs. The chain of syntagmatic signs works as a mechanism. but the images are directly connected with their referents within the framework of composition and there is no production of signification effects in the linguistic sense.
When Ikeda calls himself a composer, he uses the term in the sense of reducing material to the minimum unit and using it in a composition. He is a composer who produces time-space compositions using materials such as sine waves, light, and pixels. all handled equivalently. He even orchestrates irreducible elements such as images (fragmental documents), performers, stage design elements, and props Concert hall floor plans. equipment lists, and system flow charts are his scores. Ikeda permits (turns on) or cuts off (turns off) appearances, adding and subtracting elements. His ideas take daring flights, and using materials found through differentiation of differences, or with materials from which the signifier has been scraped away, he seeks out the largest common denominator-the corresponding points between disciplines for events and phenomena that are completely unrelated. The objectives of his compositions can be found in "scanning various elements. connecting their juxtapositions and deriving the intersections. "

"Ikeda Ryoji is EMERGINGn - Necessity and Inevitability" Yuko Hasegawa (Excerpts from the Catalog text)