Yakumo Honjin: an oku - or 'hidden' - performance-installation

Art Press Release from Australia. Published by Rebecca Gabrielle Cannon on Wednesday 30 June 2010.

If minimal, as in very minimal, audio performance is your thing, then there's an audio-video performance-installation worth getting along to which is touring the east coast of Australia at the moment, called Yakumo Honjin. Yakumo Honjin explores of the concept of ‘oku’ – or 'hidden' – a theory which informs traditional Japanese architecture, garden design and music.

The intimate performances, for a small audience of only 30 people, include delicate, almost inaudible sounds like that of falling sand, and fingers stroking and tapping specially-crafted wooden boxes. Viewers are invited to move around the performances, and also to sit directly in front of each musician to appreciate the quiet sounds.

The unusual element of one-on-one performances is somewhat touching, providing an alternate perspective on the music to that which a distantly-positioned member of the audience usually experiences, more akin to that of the performers with their extremely close proximity to specific instruments.

The accompanying video-art by Peter Humble was less artistic, serving more to document the development process rather than to provide aesthetic enhancement. Personally I have little appreciation for video art which includes unsightly technical errors like video interlacing residue for no significant reason.

Yakumo Honjin, composed by David Young, was developed during a residency at a remote Samurai Hotel in far West Japan in 2007. It is performed by percussionists Eugene Ughetti and Matthias Schack-Arnott, harpist Takayo Matsumura (Japan), and violinist Yasutaka Hemmi (Japan).

The work originally premiered at Matsue Castle in 2009, and a video of that performance is can be watched above.

Presented by Aphids (Australia) and Sphere (Japan).

Yakumo Honjin performance dates and times.