Dumb Type Action + Reflection Exhibition Report


Theme:Events & Concerts

The dumb type "Action + Reflection" exhibition was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, which just reopened in 2020!

The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Contemporary Art is near the Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Station, and the area around the station is full of life because it is Sunday, and the latest cafes and general stores are dotted with a downtown atmosphere. I imagine the town has gained momentum since the opening of Japan's first blue bottle coffee shop.
I wanted to eat famous Fukagawa rice, so I went to “Miyako” when it opened, before the lunch crowd! (The nearest station is Morishita Station ...) There are two types of Fukagawa rice, a porridge type with a lot of liquid and a rice type like normal rice. I personally prefer the rice type, so the Miyako Fukagawa rice was exactly what I wanted! It was the best lunch because of the scent of clams and you could taste the history of the rice.

I don't want to make a lunch report, so I'm going back to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo ...
In short, Dumb Type is a contemporary dance performance group that adds images to their performances.
Different means of expression, such as architecture, art, design, music, and dance, come together as they explore the possibilities of artistic expression. The genre is often classified as "media art".
The group was founded in 1984 and has a very long history, but its artistic expression is extremely avant-garde, and even if you look at the works of 20 years ago now, they do not feel at all outdated.
The group is highly regarded around the world, and in 2018 they held a large solo exhibition at the Center Pompidou in France.
When I start explaining, it tends to be a difficult to explain, so I would like to emphasize that it is an art that can be enjoyed intuitively!

On the music side, Ryoji Ikeda, one of my favorite musicians, also participates.
As this is a "Sound" House blog, I'll first talk about Ryoji Ikeda's music before reporting on the Dumb Type Exhibition.

There are no melodies or chords. There are rhythms, but they're definitely not the kind that you can dance to!
There may be some debate about what might be called music, but this is just purely pleasant!!
It seems to be based on academic logic, which is quite a contemporary art work.
It is a new sense of music that is made up of ultra-high frequencies and electronic noises that are not normally used in music, and that develops the hearing. (That said, Ryoji Ikeda has already been publishing such works since about 1996.) The word "electronic noise" feels rough, but its sound is extremely detailed and delicate, and its phase is calculated so that different sounds are heard depending on the listening position and the angle with the speaker. Just change the angle of your face in relation to the speaker and the sound will really change, so try it! (Around 3:00)

Now that I've introduced the music, now I'll introduce some of the DUMB TYPE expression that combines this avant-garde music with various fields such as video, architecture, computer programs, dance and design!

The concept of the director, Teiji Furuhashi, is very difficult to read from a book or the likes, but as a viewer, you can enjoy it without having to understand that much.
Since it is a highly abstract expression, you can interpret it however you feel.
However, honestly, for me there were some things that were meaningless and I couldn't enjoy, but overall it was very fun as an attraction!
Here are three works that were especially interesting!


Devices that combine 16 turntables and speakers are arranged neatly. Each turntable has a transparent record, and the sound plays occasionally as it flashes. The beauty of the device is purely exciting, and begs the question, "What does it do?"
16 units play sound randomly, stop, and sometimes multiple units synchronize. It seems that each device is unrelated and yet some kind of relationship has been programmed.
When you stand at the center of the devices, various things are happening from various angles, so in a sense you are looking at a microcosm of the world.
It is difficult to fully appreciate in an art museum with a lot of people, but it is a work that I want to concentrate on and appreciate it alone. (Weekdays may be better)


Dumb Type new installation: TRACE/REACT Ⅱ

Dumb Type new installation: TRACE/REACT Ⅱ until 16 FEB, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo https://www.mot-art-museum.jp/en/exhibitions/dumb-type-actions-reflections/ ダムタイプ新作インスタレーション(東京都現代美術館、2/16まで) https://www.mot-art-museum.jp/exhibitions/dumb-type-actions-reflections/

Shiro Takatani 高谷史郎さんの投稿 2020年2月5日水曜日

This is a work in which countless words are simply projected on the four walls, and they move randomly.
The floor was also a mirror surface, and words were projected down at my feet, making me feel like I was drowning, or like weightlessness.
I remember there was a scene that transcended space and time in the movie "Interstellar", and it felt like I was standing in that space.
The projected words and their positions are determined by their mutual relations, but do they represent the modern age of living while drowning in the swirl of information?


A video work that remastered three past works called "MEMORANDUM", "OR" and "VOYAGE" into one work.
"Walls", "characters" and "people" are projected on a super-horizontal display of about 15m in width and 1.5m in height.
The video changes dynamically by linking to Ryoji Ikeda's electronic noise introduced earlier.
I'm not sure what this work was supposed to portray, but it felt like the work was somehow controlling time.
For example, about 10 still images of people sleeping were arranged side by side, and they were projected quietly and in sequence. Suddenly a strobe light started flashing, and the people moved when the strobe flashed.
It was a strange experience, as if time had moved for a moment, as if it had been revived.
In another scene, there was an entire screen that was filled with small characters that stretched, and the characters turned into a map.
As in "TRACE / REACT II," it's clear that there is a relationship between language and information as a major theme.
This super-horizontal display was so immersive that I couldn't tell whether it was real or video, and it entertained me as if it were a VR attraction.

By the way, in the permanent exhibition, one room was occupied by Yayoi Kusama's works, which was also a very exciting space.
Only Yayoi Kusama's eccentric works tend to be featured in exhibitions, but many of the works here were simple paintings.
By viewing these works, you can get a bird's-eye view of your current situation, so it was an important time for reviewing your life.

The Dumb Type "Action + Reflection" exhibition ended on 2/16, but special screenings of past Dumb Type works was held at the NTT Intercommunication Center (ICC) in Hatsudai until March 1st.
And on March 28 and 29, a new performance will be released at ROHM Theater Kyoto for the first time in 18 years!!! (I wonder if they will do it in Kanto ...)

Even in the Reiwa era, it seems that we cannot take our eyes off Dumb Type.







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