Ⓒ Kouji Nishikawa

22nd Art Division Grand Prize


Sound installation

FURUDATE Ken [Japan]


Large-scale sound installation with over 300 speakers and LED lights. First shown at the Seikan Ferry Memorial Ship Hakkoda-Maru as part of the Aomori Triennale 2017 from January to March 2018. Speakers connected to computer-controlled pulse generators made by the artist emit discrete patterns of sound as linked LED lights flash in time with them. While each of the speakers produces only simple clicks and LED flashes according to fixed rules, their integrated, wall-spanning arrangement has an encompassing effect on the viewer, and their combination in overlapping layers of sound and light forms a new acoustic environment that exhibits complex layering. The mélange of patterned sound and light merges in the subdued lighting of the space, forming successive organic waves that wash over viewers’ visual and auditory senses. As a member of the sound art project, The Sine Wave Orchestra, the artist has magnified the minimal elements and properties of sound to produce complex acoustic phenomena. His artistic sensibility and creative intent is amply displayed in this, his first solo installation.

Reason for Award

Copious speakers and LEDs span the walls in a grid-like arrangement as switch-like mechanical pulses co-occur with continually flashing patterns of light to suffuse the vast, pitch-dark space. In this age, an excess of detailed data has taken command of our world. Taking this incomprehensible profusion of data to be emblematic of the digital world post-2010, this work might be seen as an analog, real-world reconstruction of such. Wiring up his mass of mini speakers and LEDs to control by microcomputer, the artist has installed in that immense system a sense of life. Amid the cyclic patterns and analog wavering of the installation’s abrupt pulses and flashes, the space seems to self-organize to give the viewer a sense of standing within a coherent, organic structure. The strangely comforting sensation one gets in this sound, structural space must derive from its sense of life.

(IKEGAMI Takashi)