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ちとせ ももとせ  — chitose momotose

For the online live installation for New Music Gathering 2020 (June 25–27, 2020), please go to http://akikohatakeyama.com/v_chitose_NMG2020.html.

 

 

ちとせ ももとせ — chitose momotose

ちとせ ももとせ — chitose momotose is a sound and light installation using candle lights. By lighting a candle, a participant can trigger a sound that gradually changes along with candle burning – a change in the length of the candle. With seven to ten candles lit, each candle triggers a unique sound at a unique timing; as a result, they together create weaving sound streams at the site. The musical composition will always be unique due to varying combinations of sounds based on numbers, timings, and lengths of the candles that participants light. The movements of candle flames create subtle fluctuations in sound. Slow and introspective time flows in the space, and participants and witnesses will be encouraged to immerse themselves in the environment. The lights, sounds, warmth, smell, and texture of the candles will speak to the participants’ senses, and this actuation of bodily senses will trigger their emotions and memories that reside in them. If all candles are already lit, the participants will wait and enjoy the moment until a candle completely burns out. The time one candle burns may represent a period in a lifetime – may be a day, a year, ten years, or more.

 

ちとせ/chitose means a thousand years, ももとせ /momotose means a hundred years. The title of the piece refers to a sense of time, history, and life. People’s lives can be long, short, depending on how a person sees it and at a different phase of one’s life; sometimes it seems unthinkably long, and sometimes it feels like a fraction. A person’s life may be short comparing to other natural existences in the world, such as trees, seas, and the Earth. However, seeing the family history and human history, it’s an ongoing time flow of thousands of years, and we individuals are a small but crucial part of it. Our bodies exist as matters, and as a result of the reproduction processes, new physical entities are born, and the humans continue to live in this world. On the other hand, non-physical entities produced by people continue to live after the death of physical bodies and without heirs. Memories of people from the past exist as cultures, arts, thoughts, and ideas, as memes. The sound and light installation ちとせ ももとせ — chitose momotose expresses a unification of the notion of the dichotomy of a matter and non-matter by incorporating physical matters – candles and salt –, and non-physical matters – thoughts and memories – that are generated by the physical matters. Salt also is an important matter in this installation as it is both a symbolic and practical material for purifying in the culture that I grew up with, as well as in different cultures.

 

The installation has been exhibited online via live streaming during the pandemic. The artist looks forward to presenting it in person in the near future once everyone can do so safely.

 

 

The installation system

An infrared (IR) sensor placed near each candle reads infrared light that is emitted from the candle. The sensor data is mapped to parameter changes in sounds — amplitude of a sound, combination of sounds, and filters, etc. As a candle burns and its length shortens, the amount of infrared light perceived by the IR sensor changes. Thus, the sounds/music in the space gradually changes. A choice of a type of candle also affects the sounds due to their various lengths, thickness, and materials that cause different burning times.