AV Festival commissioned the UK debut of Suzuki’s ongoing oto-date project. oto-date is inspired by the artist’s desire to find the echo points in nature. It playfully invites people to become more aware of both the aural and visual landscape, by stopping and listening carefully at a given point on the map. Standing in these locations marked with the characteristic oto-date circular ear symbol, gives people the freedom to imagine their city in a new way. To take part oto-date Newcastle maps were available from Festival venues.
The first major solo exhibition of work by Akio Suzuki in the UK was curated by the Festival at Globe Gallery in Newcastle. Suzuki also performed live twice during the Festival opening weekend, in a solo performance at the Castle Keep and in a duo with Aki Onda at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.
Akio Suzuki was born in Pyongyang, North Korea in 1941, and grew up in Aichi, Japan. He now lives and works in Amino near the Japanese Coast. He is a pioneer of sound art and has been performing, building instruments, and presenting sound installations for nearly 40 years.
His performances and installations have been presented at major venues internationally including: Yokohama City Art Gallery, Japan, 2010; The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan, 2010; The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan, 2007; Gelbe Musik, Berlin, Germany, 2007; The Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama, Japan, 2005; and DAAD Galerie, Berlin, Germany, 2000.
He has also participated in major international events and Festivals including: Tuned City, Brussels, 2013; LISTE Art Fair Basel, Switzerland, 2013; MaerzMusik, Berlin, Germany, 2012; Nuit Blanche Festival, Paris, France, 2004; Adelaide Festival, Australia, 1999; Sonambiente Festival, Berlin, Germany, 1996; Documenta 8, Kassel, Germany, 1987; and Festival d’Automne, Paris, France, 1978.
During the 1960s, Suzuki’s sense of playfulness led him to undertake a series of Self-Study Events, where he explored the processes of “throwing” and “following”, taking the natural world as his collaborator. Following this in the 1970s he invented an echo instrument named Analapos. As an extension of the principles underlying Analapos, Suzuki constructed his major 1988 outdoor work Hinatabokko no kukan (Space in the Sun) in the natural landscape of Amino. This space consists of two huge parallel brick walls, in between which the artist can sit all day and purify his hearing by listening to the reflected sounds of nature. This led the artist to discover a new method of listening. Suzuki himself comments, “Sound, which had been conceptually imprisoned in various spaces, is freed to circle the world.”
From the late 1970s - 1980s, Suzuki developed a form of performance he refers to as Conceptual Soundwork. Applying a number of self-imposed, simple and austere rules, he used objects close at hand in a mode of “intellectual play”. While these events expressed a critique of meaningless improvised performance, Suzuki was constantly aware of the audience’s process of listening by creating contemporaneous connections with the site of performance. It was around this time that Suzuki began to travel frequently to the US and Europe.
As sound art became more widespread since the 1990s Suzuki created many installations, which involved people excavating sounds from inaudible objects. These soundless works were not designed to critique the old perceptual theories of music - rather they questioned the very location of music. Through the visitors encounter with these works, past experiences and memories are reconstructed as new experiences.
Curated by AV Festival.
Supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Japan Foundation.