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a4 flyer-a | design: teruyasu okumura (softpad)
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installation view | photo: kiyotoshi takashima
gallery talk | yukio fujimoto
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opening party | photo: kiyotoshi takashima
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catalog | design: nicole schmid

ddd gallery / the 178th exhibition “GRAPHIC WEST 3”

phono/graph -sound, letters, graphics-

2011.1.18 tue - 3.9 wed
ddd gallery
11:00 - 19:00 closed on sunday and holidays



The notions of music as a mere soundtrack for graphics, or graphics serving solely to heighten enjoyment of music, are already outmoded.

Today, our eyes and ears are awash in an unceasing stream of letters, graphics, and sound, or strands like melodies in musical polyphony, which intertwine to form a single piece of music.

In our daily lives, seeing has already become a musical activity, while hearing sounds is like encountering a picture. The merchandise, architectural structures, and signs and displays that make up our cityscapes produce a coherent, vibrant rhythm, with their graphic functions serving to form part of the ensemble. And the ambient noise and music of the urban throng form a wall of combined sound, taking visible shape before our eyes.

People today hear sounds with their eyes and see pictures with their ears.

Far from new, these ideas were advocated and experimented with a century ago by the Italian artists of the Futurist movement. Now, a hundred years on, with access to user-friendly audiovisual equipment, artists are able to express their ideas in a natural manner.

The works in this exhibition at ddd gallery testify to the ease with which the featured artists manipulate sound, letters and graphics, regardless of limitations of genres such as visual and auditory expression.

In 1877, Thomas Edison invented a machine called the phonograph.
Combining the elements “phono” (sound) and “graph” (record), the phonograph joined the already existing photograph, comprising “photo” (light) and “graph” (record), in shaping the world of information in the 20th century.

Words originally existed as meaningful voices uttered in the aural ether. Then the invention of writing gave them shape as text, and they flooded our visual environment with the rise of printing technology. With the evolution of technology in the 21st century, our eyes and ears are seeking new realms of exploration. By using their eyes and ears flexibly and ingeniously, both creators and consumers of art have embarked on a journey into uncharted worlds of the word.

Yukio Fujimoto

gallery talk

Yukio Fujimoto
18th January, 2011 at ddd gallery

At this exhibition under the title “phono/graph,” I showed my works along with four other artists; previously, however, I held a one-man show at CCGA in 2001 titled “Reading to Another Dimension.” On that occasion, based on the concept of multi-media I attempted to express the act of reading not just as a visual experience but from multiple angles. Ten years later, the trend in evidence since last year or so suggests that paper may be heading toward oblivion. Against that backdrop, I began to wonder whether it might not be possible to think about books once again — and this is what led me to plan this latest exhibition.

Three occurrences occasioned my choosing “phono/graph,” a concept having to do with sound, as my theme.
First, in 1970 I read in the newspaper that Taruho Inagaki, a novelist, was to give an interview on the radio, and in happy surprise I decided to record it using a tape recorder. I was totally enthralled by Inagaki’s works at the time and the image I held of him was of a sensitive writer; yet what I heard coming from the radio live was someone speaking in a gruff voice in Kansai dialect at great speed. On the written page later published, what he said came across quite placidly. That was the first time in my life that I experienced so powerfully that transforming sound to letters — the process of graph — is beyond the realm of possibility.

The second time was when I heard a CD of Marcel Duchamp reading the written text of a lecture he had given on the subject of art. As I listened I felt there was something unique about the rhythm of Duchamp’s speech. “This is music!” I thought. I happened to have a keyboard handy at the time, and I used the rhythm box to create a harmonic accompaniment. I immediately discovered that Duchamp was “singing along” in perfect step. When you listen to him this way, what he says no longer seems so abstruse — that’s how strong the power of the voice is, I now realize.

The third occasion also had to do with Duchamp: a work of his titled “With Hidden Noise,” which he referred to as a “semi-readymade,” something created from an existing object but with touches added. “With Hidden Noise” consists of a ball of twine pressed between two brass plates joined by four long screws. The ball of twine contains something — its actual identity unknown even to Duchamp himself — that produces a rattling noise when the work is shaken. I think the work would be meaningless if it didn’t produce any noise. When you hear the noise, you realize it actually exists. It’s an expression of Duchamp’s attempt to record something that is invisible to the eye.  Duchamp was critical of paintings that record images that are reflected by the retina; he said paintings were meant to be created by human intellect.

In the realm of design, though, the visual is accorded absolute importance and no thought is given to our sense of hearing. In my opinion, however, we actually take in and manipulate more information with our ears than with our eyes. This is what the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was referring to when he wrote how difficult it is to see what is before one’s very eyes. To see something objectively, one must put a distance between him and what he wishes to see. By contrast, it is impossible, as physicist and author Torahiko Terada said, to close one’s ears; one must always take in what they hear. Unlike the eyes, the ears hear all the sound around us — 360 degrees, forward, behind, left and right. This is an enormous difference.

Marshall McLuhan said that the 20th century would become an era of electronic media, the result of which would be total changes on the fabric of society, its thinking and its ways of expression. The gist of what he suggested is that we should recover our aural capabilities. He states that originally it was the human sense of hearing that formed the core of the information zone within our lives; then society shifted to reading with the eyes, by the invention of printing process and development of movable type by Gutenberg. Also, with the emergence of perspective in the realm of painting, the visual came to take center stage as the source of information — a trend against which McLuhan rebelled.

Humans have an instinct desire to record things, and there exist various ways of recording — summed up in the word “graph.”
“Phonograph” is the name given by Edison to his gramophone machine. It is by no means limited to an expression of the visual alone. The desire to leave a record in some form in a different medium perhaps derives from our human curiosity. In the case of graphics, until now the process of recording something visually on paper was of key importance; but today I believe we ourselves must recognize anew that paper alone will not continue to function as the sole medium for doing so.

Some twenty years before Edison invented his phonograph, in 1860 Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville of France created a device that recorded sound. He named it the “phonautograph” from the words meaning “automatic recording of sound.” Of interest is the fact that Scott de Martinville was a printer by profession. In contrast to Edison, who focused on the recording and reproduction of sound, Scott de Martinvillewas interested only in how to record visually sounds invisible to the eye, and this was the inspiration behind my coming up with the title “phono/graph.”

It came to my mind immediately, and without wavering, just whom I should ask to participate in the exhibition. And rather than describing any specific direction for their works, I merely presented them with the title “phono/graph” and waited to see what kind of works they would come up with. Meanwhile I had everyone look at the five-part book series by Nicole Schmid, one of the participants, and proposed that perhaps the exhibition could be configured around it. The book is a compendium, without equal anywhere, of her research in the realm of letters and sound. Ms. Schmid is the daughter of Helmut Schmid, the renowned typographer who also undertook extremely interesting experiments relating to letters and sound. I had the other participants think and express themselves freely within the relationships among letters, sound and graphics, which became the overall concept.

What I learned from this exhibition is that paper is amazing — and not about to vanish after all. The exhibition produced things in a variety of forms. This is something I believe everyone who came to see the show felt also.

dddギャラリー 第178回企画展 “GRAPHIC WEST 3”

phono/graph -音、文字、グラフィック-

11:00 - 19:00 日曜・祝日休館













2011年1月18日 dddギャラリーにて

今回 phono/graph というタイトルで僕を含む5組のクリエーターと発表をしたわけですけれども、実は2001年に「四次元の読書」という個展をCCGAで開催した経緯があります。マルチメディアという考えのもとに、視覚だけではない読書というものを多角的に捉えようとしました。それから10年経って、去年あたりからの流れは、紙というものが無くなるかもしれないという状況が現実的になってきた。そういう中でもう一度書物を考えられないかと思って、今回の展覧会を企画したわけです。

phono/graph という音にかかわるテーマを取り上げた契機が3つあります。


3つ目もやはりデュシャン。彼が言うところの半レディメイド(既製品に少し手を加えている作品)に「with hidden noise(隠された音に)」があります。荷造り用麻縄の巻き玉を2枚の真鍮の板の間に入れ、4本のボルトでネジ止めした作品です。巻き玉のなかには、本人も知らない何かが入っている。この作品は振って音を出さないと意味がないと僕は思う。音が聞えて初めて存在がわかるわけです。これも「目に見えない」ということを記録しようとする彼のひとつの挑戦の現れでしょう。彼は網膜に映る像を記録する絵画を非難しています。絵画は知性で描くのだと言っています。



人間には何かを記録しようという本能があって、いろんな記録方法があるわけですが、それはたぶんgraph という言葉になるんだと思う。

タイトルのphono/praphですが、エジソンが発明するより20年くらい前の1860年にフランス人のレオン・スコットという人が既に音を記録していたんです。それがphonautograph。phono-auto-graphで「音を自動的に記録する」装置をつくった。興味深いのはスコットが印刷技師だったことです。エジソンが音の記録及び再生にこだわったのに対し、スコットは、目にみえない音をいかに視覚的に記録するかだけにこだわっていたことが、phono/graphというタイトルを思いついたきっかけです。そういったことも踏まえて、graph を軸にするともっと広がったアプローチができるのではないかと考えて展覧会名にしたわけです。

メンバーは何の迷いもせずに今回参加して頂いた方たちが浮かびました。そして、私が作品を選ぶのではなく、phono/graph というキーワードを提示したら、今どういう作品が出てくるんだろうということからスタートしました。と同時に、今回参加したニコール・シュミットさんの五分冊の本をみんなに見てもらい、これをもとに展覧会を構成できないかと提案したんです。彼女の「文字と音」という、世界でも例を見ない、音と文字について総合的にまとめた本です。なお、ニコールさんのお父さんは高名なタイポグラファーのヘルムート・シュミットさんです。ヘルムート・シュミットさんも、音と文字について非常に興味深い実験的な取り組みをされています。文字・音・グラフィックという3つの関係の中で、それぞれ、自由に考えてもらって表現をする。それが大きなコンセプトとなりました。