[ISEA2016] Artist Statement: Aquiles Hadjis — Martial Law (HK version)

Artist Statement

Site specific sound installation and performance, 2016. Featuring dancer rie tashiro (jp)

“Martial Law (HK Version)” belongs to the ongoing “Martial Law” series, which consists of an evolving chain of interactive sound installations with electroacoustic, mechanic and electronic elements, which has already been reimagined for its showing in three different cities under very particular circumstances. Its main component is centered around a customized and repurposed tambourine the viewer can move with a joystick, triggering a series of unexpected visuals and sound events, as several objects glide across the tambourine’s head as viewed through a fresnel lens. The piece as a whole presents the audience with a stochastic sound and visual generator that is controlled via unclear interactive parameters, guiding the audience into an unmediated discovery process in which the artwork reveals its possibilities and nature in the midst of actual interaction. It plays with notions of free improvisation and the connections between body awareness, sound generation and synesthetic and cymatic phenomena. It stands as a complex and unpredictable self-organizing audiovisual system that the audience can influence and direct but not fully control. In all its versions, “Martial law” is a sound installation that can also be understood as an electronic musical instrument. Using Arduino, hand-wired analog electronics and digital fabrication techniques, it is always conceived as an outgrowth of the space it is placed in, animating it through sound. Through its almost continuous sound emission, it erects a live streaming sound commentary on the space’s mood changes as its lighting and occupants change in the course of the day. Its visual presentation [text truncated in original, editor]
Its first incarnation was shown in Hamburg, in the context of an event that took over low-budget hotel rooms for the staging of small scale exhibitions under several different curators. At that time, it was displayed inside a small ceramic sink at the room assigned to curator Armando Rosales. In its next version, it was reconstructed for its display at Taipei’s Japanese diplomatic office, where it became a wall sculpture with a tabletop device. Its next incarnation took shape in Tokyo, at a group show themed around anatomical drawing and representations of the body, where it became a more ambitious sound installation and performance stage, including amplified stringed platforms and proximity-activated granular synthesizer. For ISEA 2016, the work has been adapted for its ephemeral installation at Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre, entering into a dialogue with the building’s unique architecture. It will be greeting visitors in their way to performance stage, framing a performance by Aquiles Hadjis and Rie Tashiro and staying on for the rest of the day in order to be interacted with.

  • Aquiles Hadjis, born in Maracaibo, Venezuela (1981). Lives and works in Tokyo, Japan. He makes things in order to find out how to make them. That process of learning always makes him think of other things he wishes would exist. After Hadjis feels he cannot tinker with them any longer, he put things on display in order for themselves to help him figure out what they are. That movement taking them towards (and away) from other people can take place several times for a given object, slowly transforming its meaning and its functionality, as its story becomes clearer. In their meetings with each other, Hadjis himself and our audience, his works generate conversations that can be experienced as music, games, tools, or forms that punctuate space, but may actually be better described as instruments to further our understanding about the whats and whys of activities like showing art pieces and making music. In most of Hadjis’ works, he sets up an encounter for the audience to unravel. He uses sound as a metaphor for the relationship between space, time and awareness; inviting the audience to move beyond interaction (set modes of input producing expected outputs) into a free conversation (open-ended discoveries triggered by unclear terms of engagement).  aquileshadjis.com

Full text and photo (PDF) p. 132-134