Tuesday, April 12, 2011

►Kasumi - Filmmaker, an innovator of a new art form synthesizing film

►Kasumi is internationally celebrated as one of the leading innovators of a new art form synthesizing film, sound and video in live performance.
She has won global acclaim for her richly expressive and compelling compositions in venues worldwide:  from Lincoln Center with The New York Philharmonic to collaborations with Grandmaster Flash, DJ Spooky and Modeselektor. She performed and exhibited work at Württembergischen Kunstverein Stuttgart and at the Chroma Festival de Arte Audiovisual in Guadalajara, Mexico, and her newest work, BREAKDOWN, premiered at Carnegie Hall in concert with the American Composers Orchestra.  

She was recently awarded an EMPAC Dance Movies Commission 2009- 2010, supported by The Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts, Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  Her work, QUADRASCOPE, premiered with The Cleveland Orchestra in April. PANOPTICAL DELUSIONS was featured at The Ingenuity Festival, 2010. Kasumi, executive producer or AARDVARK the internationally acclaimed feature by young filmmaker, Kitao Sakurai. nakedfacesfilm.com, was named one of Cleveland Magazine's Most Interesting People of 2011.

My celebration of receiving a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship (kasuminews.tumblr.com/​) is tempered by the ongoing catastrophe in Japan. For this reason I've created SAIGAI, an elegy for the lost and deceased.
"SOUNDBOARD"... An experimental work in which the image and sound are composed simultaneously in a sound editing software: the work is as much about the sound as is it the image. 

Soundboard still
Using only the percussive sounds of the dancers' bodies hitting the floor and each other, I created the audio mix by layering the un-effected sounds in Ableton Live, a music editing software as opposed to a video editing application, while simultaneously cutting up the video.

Didier Feldmann,  VIdéaste Etalonneur: Color-grading
Christopher Bell and Da-Rell Townes, dancers

"CHRONICLES OF LAUGHING YESTERDAY", created for the BIGBOX series at Cleveland Public Series, echoes the flow of unconscious thoughts: everything moves forward in uncanny directions towards unknown realms.

I do this by forming layers of imagery into uninterrupted cascades, creating a kind of visual polyphony as opposed to the counterpoint of montage editing of traditional cinema.

"EDGES",... Worked with long-time collaborator Gary Galbraith to create a new multi-media dance/video/sound art work "Edges".  Combining live contemporary dance with innovative video art, "Edges" continues to diminish the boundaries between these media. 
Edges still
"MO-SO  妄想" , a three-channel, six-channel audio videoart installation was awarded an EMPAC Dance Movies Commission 2009-2010.

Supported by The Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts, Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York. Premiere Oct 2-3, 2010. 

"PANOPTICAL DELUSIONS",... Alice went through the looking-glass, but "Panoptical Delusions" takes you through the fun-house mirror of pop culture and the human mind, exploring how one affects the other in “Panoptical Delusions,” a stylish, darkly humorous and dizzying drive through a world of mental manipulation that coaxes our ability to think and act as individuals ever closer to the vanishing point.    

Commissioned by The Ingenuity Festival, Cleveland

"SLEEPWALKERS",... An exhibition new and rarely exhibited works by Douglas Max Utter and Kasumi ... http://www.flickr.com/photos/14773123@N07/4745862936/lightbox/
Effortlessly Consenting Obstacle
Book of Whisper Marionette

"QUADRASCOPE",... Kasumi’s newest videoart/film/animation hybrid, Quadrascope premiered in concert with The Cleveland Orchestra on the Baxter Stage at The Cleveland Playhouse, April 22-25 for Fusionfest 2010.

The music "Catch and Release," was composed by Esa-Pekka Salonen, formerly Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Tito Muñoz,  performed the music.
The style of Quadrascope was inspired by the mathematical playfulness, intensity and structure of the music, and at the same time reflects upon the emotional power and movement of the dance.  Much of the gestural quality inherent in Shimotakahara’s choreography was incorporated into the movement of the elements in the videoart.


Quadrascope is at times in counterpoint to the structure of the choreography, employing multiple and ambiguous orientations.  The use of symmetry comments on the square shape of the stage onto which the work is projected: it was designed to be viewed from all angles with the audience sitting in raised, stadium style seating on three edges looking down at the projection and dancers.  The orchestra is on the fourth edge, also facing the stage.

 In addition to characters extracted from her vast array of old film samples that are woven in and out of the kaleidoscopic media tapestry, Kasumi incorporated a film countdown at the beginning of the work that, on David’s suggestion, would echo the first few measures of Salonen’s score.  That element grew into themes inherent in film leader: counting, time-code, circular movement, abrupt change, and numbers – or digits, logically followed by hands, sometimes used in place of a clapper on film shoots. There are moments in Quadrascope where rows of hands transform into turning film reels on a projector, and times when fingertips are used as an abstract organic texture that envelops the dancers.

A particular challenge in presenting this work is the problem of keeping the elements of this collaboration in perfect time with each other.  Rather than using a click track, Tito suggested that Kasumi built visual cues into the work that correspond with events and phrases found in the score. She used additional hand-imagery to express phrasing and timing.  This mimics cheironomy”, the use of hand gestures to indicate melodic shape and phrasing – an early form of conducting and communicating artistic directions during a performance. Tito will have a reference monitor displaying the work at his podium, ensuring that the videoart, dance and music comprising the performance are tightly synchronized, and the audience is able to derive the fullest emotional impact through the work as a unified, artistic union.
"Throughout CATCH AND RELEASE, Kasumi’s video was projected from overhead – swirling numbers, hands, dancing feet. Multimedia artists would do well to take Kasumi’s work here and in SOLDIER’S TALE as a model, for it was richly allusive but never overwhelmed the live performers." Elsa Johnson and Victor Lucas, coolcleveland.com


A live videoart, VJ performance, commissioned by the Ingenuity Festival of Art and Technology, Cleveland, Ohio, July  2009
"BREAKDOWN",...a sample-based, hybrid Dada opera. Conducted by George Manahan of the New York City Opera , ... http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1540798/

BREAKDOWN was commissioned by The American Composers Orchestra for its "Orchestra Underground" series, an experimental series designed for the newly-constructed state-of-the-art Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall. The series challenges conventional notions about symphonic music, embracing multidisciplinary and collaborative work, novel instrumental and spatial orientations of musicians, new technologies and multimedia.   


The work - about the vulnerability of populations to disinformation and the often corrupt agendas of those who control mass media - is a video/sound/animation art operetta composed from symbolically resonant, fragmentary phrases, gestures, sounds and utterances entirely sampled from public domain film sources – into a multi-dimensional narrative and musical structure. 

Juxtaposing, layering, stacking, cutting, slicing, stretching, shuffling, remapping, warping, looping, re-ordering, filtering and otherwise manipulating sounds and images based on formal musical and visual qualities as well as multiple levels of meaning, allows me to find and create further connections and analogies outside of their original context, triggering sequences of perceptual, cognitive, and emotional processes in the minds of viewers. In BREAKDOWN, these samples are woven into a polyphonic, contrapuntal tapestry of memory and expectation, of music and meaning out of which a story emerges: the eternal tale of greed, fear and fall of empire.

RECURSION. A single channel silent installation consisting of separate but adjacent looping video streams timed to intertwine and reverberate in varying intervals. The result is an evolving meaning of appropriated memory and an expression of the complexity of experience and the illogicality of our perception in which time events are manipulated in unexpected reinterpretations.
"UGOKU 動く ",... Experimental Film/Animation Hybrid, Found footage, Live performance. The use of vibrant color, visual rhythm and repetition to flesh out the abrupt juxtapositions of classic montage technique....http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1578827/  

A bizarre legion of ever-evolving characters culled from hundreds of found footage sources move with heart-pounding, eye-popping precision to intense beats while kaleidoscopic arrays of colors  explode like digital mescaline.  This Warhol meets Escher hybrid film+animation unfolds in a surrealistic, multi-dimensional vortex that gives "rock the body" a new meaning. Every element of each image: movement, gesture, color, tempo, etc., is reanimated and synchronized to specific sounds in the music, creating layered and hypnotic psychotropic rhythms which in a normal state of consciousness would go otherwise unnoticed. Objects and characters are placed in unexpected contexts and tiers revealing entirely new structural formations, penetrating meanings and subliminal interpretations.  "Like a Tool video on acid."
"HEADBANGER",... A single clip, sampled and extracted from its original film material, is scratched and looped, DJ style, with its original sound.  It is played at different speeds, backwards, inverted, repeated, layered, piled on top of itself along with its own sound. Layered with other clips similarly treated creates multi-layered flows- creating a narrative of hallucinatory sound/image counterpoint.  
"MEMORIES OF A DEAD PRINCESS",... An impressionistic ballet solo incorporating videoart created for the L’Histoire du Soldat piece. This short film is based on the emotional content of gesture and attempts to read into the small increments of physical movements by the dancer. Densely painted celluloid and ballet footage are composited, layered and rhythmically cut to an original music score. 
"FIVE PORTRAIT STUDIES IN FIVE MINUTES" ,... An experimental work figurative expression that derives in part from my interest in the expressive theories and exercises of Konstantin Stanislawski, whose philosophy inspired much of modernist theater. These ideas contributed insight to the mix of structural formalism and explorations of psycho-dramatic space in the visual arts over the past century. 
As a theme the struggle for the essential self suggests the ominous possibility that we may render ourselves accidental by our own false sense of necessity. Instead of a portrait fixed in time or images arranged in a staggered sequence, the movement in these works turns back on itself and revolves around a hidden center of gravity as if it were revolving around its own axis.  Each portrait, animated by love and hate, sympathy and antipathy, expectation and disappointment leaves a residual trail of the human presence and memory of past events, emotion always exposed and betrayed by physical movement.  

"JIMMY",... Production format: 35 and 16mm film, digital video, painted celluloid, found footage. Adriano Asti Award for Best Experimental Film, Montecatini, 2003 
This film is a disturbing mixture of images constructed in the subconscious mind, unsettling visions and hard break beats. Little Jimmy becomes the frightened human center in a glaring accusation aimed at our loud, destructive and corrupted world whose message is “Society Reaps what is sows in its abuse of the weak”.  

"MADHOUSE",... Found footage. A rhythmic study in paranoia.

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