FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) until 12th June
Kurokawa is a Japanese multi-media artist. He specialises in installations combining sound and vision. His work has been described as synaesthetic. These two pieces, unfold and constrained surfaces, are on display in Liverpool at FACT in Wood Street.
The story is that NASA provided him with data collected from The Universe. One set represents the birth and death of a star. The second is two galaxies fusing together. Kurokawa took the digital data and converted it into images, infrared images. He also made some sounds, which, at that point, were like random clicks. There is a gallery of selected stills with headphones.
The first piece, unfold, is the birth and death of a star. In a darkened room, three screens, in landscape, are positioned in a column. The top one is leaning forward. The projector for this screen is in the floor, which means the observer has to stand to the side to avoid casting a shadow. The sound is surround with the bass in the floor.
The images float across the screens, forming and reforming over a fifteen minute cycle. Mostly, there are spidery lines, multiplied with lots of fine detail. It reminded me of the Kanō school of Japanese art, whose work was spread over huge room dividers. The Great Wave Off Kanagawa similarly depicts, in monochrome, a colossal force of nature, the main difference being that unfold is not fearful, it is simply in awe. There are splashes of colour and explosions of light but the soundscape enhances the whole experience. The bass thrums, the scratches and screeches underline the visual transitions. unfold holds the observer’s attention throughout and invites close scrutiny.
The second piece, constrained surfaces, is displayed on two portrait rectangular screens, offset and angled. This time, there are no spidery lines but rather blocks of light and colour that change in shape and intensity. The soundtrack fuses with the visuals synergistically. constrained surfaces is best gazed at and absorbed with secure footing. The bass throb and the light pulse could upset human equilibrium.
Work colleagues. We were on an away day.
It made me think..
The rhetoric for this exhibition is over the top. I certainly didn’t feel immersed in The Universe. I saw 2001 on a huge screen when it came out and the closing sequence with the Ligeti music was far more challenging and exciting. unfold felt feeble in comparison. constrained surfaces was much more engrossing that tickled a variety of senses. I’d happily experience it again.
FACT is a cool venue with a great looking bar and a cinema. The Hunger is on this weekend.