When waterfalls are seen from afar, they seem to maintain static forms; yet, when one zooms into the same objects at a microscopic level, it is noticeable that they have consisted of ceaseless motions such as swells, waves, vortex and crosscurrents. In everyday life, humans assemble a plethora of informative signals into manageable units and recognize them, for instance, as an individual, an object, or certain scenery. Reckoning with quantum physics, Japanese avant-garde art scene “maestro” Hiroaki Umeda hypostatizes that these batches of abstract information are merely human belief system: “When one has confidence in an object’s factuality they name it as real, and when this confidence is slightly undermined they rename it as virtual” he stated.
If everything is dissolved into atoms and protons, there is not much difference between humans and objects, and not much certainty between individuality and entirety. And when the world is observed through this newly adopted lens, an ethically more humble, non-anthropocentric, post-humanist world eventually emerges. Based on this creative concept, in its live media performance “Intensional Particle”, Umeda reinterprets the particles in space as not static molecules but rather as active particles; and visualizes, in space, the intensional force that particles conceal.
“Light can be also choreographed. Light can be there like human body.” – H. Umeda
“If all kinetic movements are equal aesthetic components of choreography, then there could be a choreographic piece with no human beings. Moreover, if the aim of the artist lies in providing the audience with a pre-linguistic and pre-emotional physical sensation, which alternatively could be called an impulse, that experience can be generated possibly without the medium of the moving body.”
His work is acknowledged for its highly holistic artistic methodology with a strong digital background, which considers not only physical elements as dance but also optical, personal, sensorial and, above all, spatiotemporal components as part of the choreography. It seems to perfectly embody Karen Barad’s concept of performative intra-action between humans and machines. Conversely, digital cultures are performative cultures: performativity in its heterogeneous dimensions cannot afford to ignore the agential forces and effects of digital technologies and their entanglements with human bodies. And so do Umeda.
After an offline debut in 2015, during pandemic times Intentional Particle has found a play remote live version online, now virtually on tour. The challenge has become to form the best conditions for the viewer, at home: as if it were being quantistically teleported, Umeda’s silhouette appears in action and transmits the energy flow to remote bodies. Although through the black mirror, the audience will be immersed in a saturated digital reality with “unstable stability”, triggered by a stream of optical and sonar stimuli.
Merleau Ponty would say that “the body is our general medium for having a world” after all.
Choreography & Dance: Hiroaki Umeda
Image Direction: S20
Visual Research: Ludovic Burczykowski
Image Programming: Shoya Dozono
Video Editing: Guillaume Gravier
Sound & Lighting Design: S20
Coproduction: Le Manège – Scène Nationale, le manège.mons, la Gare Numérique – Jeumont, la Maison des Arts de Créteil, Stereolux – Nantes, Mapping Festival – Geneva.
Kõheda vastasmõju festival / 1.–4.04.2021
Hiroaki Umeda (JP) “Intensional Particle”
April 2021 15:00 BST → 1. April 2021 15:10 BST
Hiroaki Umeda is a choreographer and a multidisciplinary artist recognized as one of the leading figures of the Japanese avant-garde art scene. Since the launch of his company S20, his subtle yet violent dance pieces have toured around the world to the audience and critical acclaim. His work is acknowledged for the highly holistic artistic methodology with strong digital background, which considers not only physical elements as dance, but also optical, sensorial and, above all, spatiotemporal components as part of the choreography. Based on his profound interest in choreographing time and space, Umeda has spread his talent not only as a choreographer and dancer but also as a composer, lighting designer, scenographer and visual artist.