Miya Masaoka

Miya Masaoka

October 19, 2005 7:00 PM - 7:00 AM

PLEASE NOTE ACTUAL START TIME: 7:30 PM Location: West Hall Auditorium. For directions to the RPI campus please access the college website at www.rpi.edu and click on “Visit RPI”. Composer, sound artist and writer Miya Masaoka is a virtuosic experimental performer whose musical compositions and performance works pose questions about identity, the body, and the relationship between humans and the plant and animal kingdoms. iEAR Presents! will feature composer and performance artist Miya Masaoka in concert on Wednesday, October 19, 2005 at 7:30 PM in the West Hall Auditorium on the campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Admission is $5 for general seating; free with RPI ID. For directions to the RPI campus please access the college website at www.rpi.edu and click on “Visit RPI”. For more information please call (518) 276-4829. Miya Masaoka, musician, composer, and performance artist, has created works for koto, laser interfaces, laptop and video and written scores for ensembles, chamber orchestras and mixed choirs. In her performance pieces she has investigated the sound and movement of insects, as well as the physiological responses of plants, the human brain, and her own body. Within these varied contexts of sound, music and nature, her performance work emphasizes the interactive, live nature of improvisation, and reflects an individual, contemporary expression of Japanese gagaku aural gesturalism. Masaoka's work has been presented in Japan, Canada, Europe, Eastern Europe and she has toured to India six times. Venues include V2 in Rotterdam, Cybertheater in Brussels, Elektronisch Festival in Groningen, the Cleveland Performance Art Festival, The Electronik Body Festival in Bratislava, Slovakia, Radio Bremen, Germany, Festival of Lights, Hyberadad, India, and the London Musicians Collective. iEAR presents! is a series of public performances, exhibitions and lectures featuring pioneering and emerging artists who explore the boundaries of electronic art. Curated by the Arts Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, iEAR Presents! offers a unique local forum for some of today's most world-renowned electronic media artists. For more information, please call (518) 276-4829. www.pamelaz.com/pzreviews/sfemf2000.html After Chris Salter of "sponge" said a few words about the installation "Sauna #1", Miya Masaoka began the evening's performances with her "Bee Project #6" for koto, electronics, moving image, and live bees. This work featured a newly edited version of a video made by the composer that opens with footage of the bees in their hive overlaid with a seemingly straightforward text describing the colony culture of bees. Gradually the story is diverted to that of a wayward, dissident bee who rebels against drone life and strikes out on it's own to explore uncharted territory. At some point realize that we are no longer watching bees traversing the wax compartments of honeycomb, but rather a new bee-counterculture traversing the skin of a human body. Ms. Masaoka interacted with these images- first using her PowerBook to do live processing on the live amplified bees, and later by performing extended techniques on koto and laserharp. The result was a richly textured and constantly building barrage of sound that surrounded the audience and filled the room. www.jonroseweb.com/f_projects_string_em_up_rott.html 5. RITUAL by Miya Masaoka... another purge of the Man Ray violin/body industry expressed with the spirit of Yoko Ono. 'Ritual' Multi-media body performance with giant hissing Madagascar cockroaches A visually stunning and conceptual piece, this Butoh-inspired performance reflects the progression from the extremely internalised movement of the slow-moving body-- to no movement at all. 'Ritual' seeks to re-conceptualize the body as a canvas on which to deconstruct notions of gender, ethnicity and power. A body in motion that gestures and poses inherently displays idiomatic movement references, both cultural and aesthetic. A passive, non-moving body holds multiple readings for the viewer, and the level of interpretation is broad and limitless. 'Ritual' is a multi-media piece which includes the performer, Miya Masaoka, lying naked with giant Madagascar cockroaches roaming freely on her body. Close-ups of the roaches are projected onto a large video screen. 'Ritual' is an offering to encourage the viewer to consider the relationships between the social construction of the body, race, and gender in performance. Recent theoretical work by various critical theorists suggests bodies tend to indicate a world beyond themselves, beyond their own boundaries, a movement of boundary itself. Bodies cannot be said to have a signifiable existence prior to the mark of their gender; the question then emerges, how do we reconceive the body no longer as a passive medium or instrument for which cultural meanings are inscribed? The body, can, for example, be thought of as machine, a work of art, an object of desire/revulsion, a site for hegemony and control, or... an ersatz violin. "This performance was almost like an installation... there was a certain sense of Japanese minimalism that rendered Miya Masaoka's 'Ritual' a gem, a masterful embodiment of sound and image, live and on video projection. I highly recommend this for those interested in the new burgeoning genres of performance." Anthony Burton, High Performance "Miya Masaoka's performance 'Ritual' is quite simply, a 'Tour De Force'." La Monte Young, American composer "A standing room only crowd packed the 300 seat hall for the 90 minute performance, the last 15 minutes which featured Miya Masaoka's 'Ritual'. And, as if in a church, the audience sat in silence as Masaoka ly naked. ...police were stationed outside Friday night's Watkins' Hall, and officials received more than 100 calls of complaint, some threatening to protest at the performance and one vowing a citizen's arrest for public nudity, according to assistant professor Deborah Wrong." www.plonsey.com/beanbenders/reviews97.html#010597 Miya Masaoka can play at Beanbender's whenever she wants to! On this occasion, she played a fairly short set: one solo piece (maybe 20 minutes), and a duet with Larry Ochs (maybe 10 minutes). This time around, Miya had herself taped into place and was playing electronically enhanced koto. I don't know how everything worked - Miya referred to the use of samples, but the samples blended so well with the amplified koto that often it sounded like a giant koto. A giant koto tromping down the alleyways of our city in pursuit of evildoers - or maybe a bit evil itself, but comically so. A giant cartoon koto with eight legs, crushing cars and buildings and fighting off the giant wasp, as played by Larry Ochs on sopranino sax. Ochs buzzed around and around, only provoking Masaoka to further stomping and shouting. This is all figurative, of course. Poetic license and all that. Anyway, there was a double-giant hermaphrodite, and it was twanging on a zither which Hermes had given to Apollo: the frame was a shell of a turtle. Also, there were many periods of great delicacy, but that doesn't make for as good writing. So there was a battleship - a battlestar - and a giant sun which exploded and everyone cheered!
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