Ryoichi Kurokawa is a young audio-visual artist from Osaka . He declines vibrant and refined universes through clips, albums, installations, and performances, where glitch minimalism breaks up and re-assembles in more complex and vertiginous structures.
Some people think he’s a visionary and genial artist while others consider him to be formal and technicist. You’re forced to confront with his work: the continuous concentration on synaesthesia, the ability to make imagination fly and the scrupulous attention to landscapes and definition made Kurosawa’s works a sort of official standard for the ones who wants to get closer to audio-video world.
We saw his works in national première at Mixed Media festival, which was held in Milan last May (after a pleasant preview of his works at the video exhibition at the Dissonanze 2006 festival) and we appreciated his unique talent – notwithstanding subjective judgements. He expresses himself with intensity both in sound and video. So we decided to interview him, because we found in this young artist an exceptional artistic and human maturity.
Bertram Niessen: First of all I’d like to ask you something about your idea of audio-video integration. Sounds and images are always very connected in your works and you keep a very close attention to synaesthesia. Can you tell us something about it?
Ryoichi Kurokawa: Audio is one thing, image is another. There is a big difference between light and sound, however when I create audiovisual works, I consider sound and imagery as a unit not as separately. Except collaboration with musician, when I imagine an idea on works, the images and the sounds simultaneously come out into my brain. Always these ideas appear into my imagination abstractly as the images having sounds and as the audio having lights.
Bertram Niessen: Your work seems to be very balanced and cool. Does design have a great influence on your work? And in general what are the artistic disciplines you consider the most important?
Ryoichi Kurokawa: For me, the most influential importance is the nature. There are various abstract forms and sounds, diverse colors, motion of sounds and light, and its velocity and perspective. I absorb and save them in memory, and they will be the origin of materials composing pieces. I get ideas from architecture, text and photograph too.
Bertram Niessen: Could you tell us something about the setting-up of your performances and videos? Do you usually start from sound or images? Or does everything come up from a specific technique?
Ryoichi Kurokawa: Before creation, I already have a finished conception and I realize them with PC. While I working, sometimes they have a little differences from the original imagination, though their various patterns are valuable for me. Basically I don’t draw what I imagine in my brain as a picture, and I directly create with PC. At first, I transform visual information. After the rough of visual part is formed, I conduct a transformation of sonic information and get through with audio, and I complete motion pictures again. Finally I adjust the close operation of images and sounds. So actually, I have big three part of general system of operarion(video>>audio>>video).
Bertram Niessen: What is the technical set-up of your performances?
Ryoichi Kurokawa: Basically live performance is a multi-channels video projection. I control audiovisual materials with two laptops and MIDI controller e.t.c. Since two laptops are connected via a local area network, I can send value/message from one computer to another. I output videos from each computer and audio form one.
Bertram Niessen: In Italy thanks to Ikeda’s, Sakamoto’s, and Merzbow’s works we think Japan is the promise land for experimental electronic art. Is it true? What is your experience in this sense?
Ryoichi Kurokawa: Maybe Europeans think so, but i don’t have that impression. Actually I think that the experimental electronic art scene is not popular in Japan. Here, there are not many big art festival like in Europe, so a lot of Japanese artists have an activity in Europe, not in Japan.