Hiraki Sawa - Figment and O

Today is the opening of Hiraki Sawa's second solo show at James Cohan, NY. He is showing O, an installation commissioned for the Asia Pacific Triennial 2009, Did I? – the first part of the Figment project, commissioned by Animate Projects, and a series of drawings entitled Wax 1-24.
This is the short text I wrote for Did I?
A boy closes his eyes for 25 minutes and wakes up with the world gone from behind his thoughts. His language slips and shifts, he tastes orange juice without knowing anymore to describe it as sour, he likes numbers but cannot put names to faces. His room is filled with a thousand records and many more. He sees the records, unable to listen. He can't see the floor, has never seen the floor beneath them, wouldn't recognise it if he met it in the street. He meets people in the street and his only option is to trust that they know him when they say they do. His records become opaque, circular slabs of the unknown and the unknowing. A fog of landscapes without contours, without borders, that can only be read by touching. To move forward he must step out, one foot then the other, and believe that he is indeed moving. His mind like an emptied lake, the sky welling upward and outward, unable to contain the depth of it all, the bottomless, fathomless wealth of the things he lost in his sleep.

O is a multi-channel video and sound installation. I composed the soundtrack for this work, along with John Chantler's Organ Octet. It has previously been shown at the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane and Art Tower Mito, Japan. Wendy Haslem, at the University of Melbourne, wrote a beautiful piece about this work for Senses of Cinema, issue 54. 


Tom Waits and Laura Barton

This is a beautiful piece by Laura Barton on Waits's song, Johnsburg, Illinois.
He once described [his wife, Kathleen] Brennan like so: "A remarkable collaborator, and she's a shiksa goddess and a trapeze artist, all of that. She can fix the truck. Expert on the African violet and all that. She's outta this world. I don't know what to say. I'm a lucky man. She has a remarkable imagination. And that's the nation where I live. She's bold, inventive and fearless. That's who you wanna go in the woods with, right? Somebody who finishes your sentences for you."
[...] He lets the song wind her around him – warmly, tenderly, with the delicate touch of a man who can't quite believe his luck. This isn't a giddy new love, rather there is a sense of relief, a calm to its simplicity; it has the same sigh of quiet delight as the weary wanderer finally arriving at his destination.[…] We overcomplicate love. We make it perform tricks and climb mountains, we dress it up and put it on parade. Our songs portray that complication: they are frills and fusses and curlicues. But Johnsburg, Illinois tells a simpler truth: when you love someone, they become the place where you belong.