Ryoichi Kurokawa unfold. Still from video. Image courtesy of Studio Ryoichi Kurokawa based on scientific data from CEA Paris-Saclay.

Ryoichi Kurokawa, unfold.alt

Year: 2016
Medium: 4K video / stereo
Dimensions: 58m 44s running time
Brief biography: b. 1978, Osaka, Japan. Lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

Japanese artist Ryoichi Kurokawa uses various media – video, installation, recording and live performances – in order to produce stunning audio-visual sound pieces which he has been pioneering and presenting internationally since 1999. He describes his works as time-based sculptures and considers sound and image as a single unit. His works are literally compositions – symphonies of sounds imagined and produced as well as recorded – that, in combination with video material and computer generated aesthetics, change how the spectator views the familiar.

Whether the recordings of waterfalls obliterate into white noise while simultaneously forming an almost spiritual and reverential stillness around the viewer, or whether field recordings in combination with computer generated structures like glitch minimalism coexist in harmony in an un-harmonious terrifying world of war and destruction: Ryoichi Kurokawa invents and presents an audiovisual language where complexity and simplicity alternate and combine in a fascinating synthesis.

unfold.alt is a single-screen version of unfold: inspired by the latest discoveries in the field of astrophysics, unfold, is an immersive and sensory installation, which seeks to translate into sounds, images and vibrations, the phenomena surrounding the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies.

Kurokawa’s aesthetic – an alternation of abstraction and figuration – usually consists of pure geometrical shapes, pixels and impressionist colours, familiar landscapes and silhouettes, alongside audio textures as well as both natural and urban sounds. The appearance of his work, focused as it is on evolution and dissolution (sometimes sudden, sometimes gradual), takes us back to the uninterrupted flow of images and sounds which fill our daily lives, as the universe of primary cognitive perceptions.

New codes of representation
With unfold, Ryoichi Kurokawa is concerned with the synaesthetic, merging audible and visual materials, in the service of an art/science project inspired by recent discoveries. These finding have been made by astrophysicists at CEA-IRFU, based on data produced by the satellites of the European Space Agency and NASA, and more specifically by the Herschel space telescope. The telescope’s observations of far infrared radiation have revealed some of the conditions of star birth and the history of the life of galaxies, over the course of 10 billion years. In addition to this data -which allows us to trace the cosmological history of star formation, especially the filamentary structure of molecular clouds where stars are born- the artist also based his logic on numerical simulations intended to model the universe and its structures, produced by astrophysicists at CEA-IRFU, with the help of supercomputers.

The project, created under the supervision of astrophysicist (and researcher at CEA-IRFU) Vincent Minier, also enables us to go beyond research and scientific discovery, in order to question the representation and publication of the data collected.

Kurokawa’s works have been shown across the world at international festivals and museums including Tate Modern and the Venice Biennale. In 2010, he was awarded the Golden Nica at Prix Ars Electronica in the Digital Musics & Sound Art category.

Solo exhibitions include: fluxes, K11, Wuhan, China (2018); al-jabr, Galleria Civica di Modena, Modena, Italy (2018); objectum, Takuro Someya Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan (2018); unfold, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2018); A la llum de les idee, Arts Santa Mònica, Barcelona, Spain (2016) and unfold, FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool, UK (2016).

Group exhibitions include: Yebisu International Festival for Art and Alternative Visions, ad/ab Atom, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2019); Coder le monde, unfold.alt, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2018); The Dream of Forms, mol, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (2017) and ACC_R, node 5:5, ACT/ACC (Asia Culture Center), Gwangju, South Korea (2016 ).

Artist’s website: www.ryoichikurokawa.com

unfold.alt is a single-screen version of unfold which was shown at FACT,  Liverpool in 2016. unfold was co-commissioned between FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Stereolux and University of Salford Art Collection, with the support of C EA-IRFU – Paris Saclay (Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission / Institute of Research into the Fundamental Laws of the Universe), Arcadi and DICRéAM.

Produced by: Studio Ryoichi Kurokawa.
Concept, direction, composition, programming, design: Ryoichi Kurokarawa
Producer: Nicolas Wierinck
Programming: Hiroshi Matoba
Scientific Advisor: Vincent Minier, astrophysicist at CEA Irfu, Paris-Saclay
Scientific Datasets: CEA (Herschel HOBYS, COAST, Frédéric Bournaud, Pascal Tremblin, Patrick Hennebelle, Rémi Hosseini-Kazeroni), ESA, NASA, BLAST Experiment, SuperCOSMOS H-alpha Survey.