Interview with Satoshi Morita: On sound experiences through the body…

by deborah on 03/3/2009

Satoshi Morita is the sound guy… completely…  he explores the possibilities of our perception through sound and body…

I’ve met him in December at Touch me Festival, where he presented his latest project, the sound capsule, artwork rewarded with honorary award at Arts Electronica in 2008.

sound_capsule.jpgSound capsule by Satoshi Morita (c)

Satoshi Morita holds BA from Tokyo Zokei University and MA form University of Arts Berlin where he has specialized in Sound Studies. He participated at many new media art oriented exhibitions, such as: paraflows, CyberArts 08 – Prix Ars Electronica, LAB 30, Kristallrauschen, Höhlerbiennale 2007, x sounds, 3. Berliner Kunstsalon, sonambiente berlin, Gropiusstadt Kunstprojekt, Sounddesign for performance project, Sounddesign for theatre, etc.

About the project sound capsule he says that ‘When you lie down in the capsule, you are physically covered and in a relaxed position. Because of the sound material and the total setting of the experience in the capsule, your consciousness to your own body will be gained and built an extraordinary sonic experience – bodily listening’.

sound_capsule_2.jpgPhoto by Kontejner (c)

Hence, all interesting guidelines for me where here: sound… body… space… enough to grab some precious time of Satoshi Morita’s freedom to talk about his ideas and creations…

You have started as fine artists, than studied in Berlin sound art… Now you are doing sound installations, what has pushed you into that direction in the first place?

SM: For me the sound is itself the space, because you hear the sound, you hear the space. And then also, this space has a connection with your body. So, sound is for me the best media to communicate. To let them communicate, between space and body. Then I use sculpture or installation as a tool. I’m interested in how your body communicates with your space. And sound installations and sculpture are the best media for me.

saound_capsule_3.jpgPhoto by Tom Medak (cc)

You described me the idea behind that choice you made in switching to sound installation… but could you tell me something about technological aspects… recording, transmitting, diffused sound in your projects… basically a little bit on technique…

SM: Yeah, technical aspect… yeah. So, I made special recording for my sound capsule. Actually, I used eight microphones around my body. So, like on my both hands, in front of my head, and than above my head, in front of my mouth, on my chest, too.

In which amount is it based on tactical concept?

SM: It was acoustical, yeah. But each microphone has its perspective. For instance, microphones on my feet have this listening perspective from down there. So, if I hear this sound on my ear I feel my head is like underneath, near my feet. Than I mixed eight channels into the stereo to design kind of soundscape in which you can travel around someone’s body.

sound_capsule_5.jpgPhoto by Kontejner (c)

So, it’s about perception…

SM: Perception of listening and space. Perception of space throughout the listening perspective; and this is also the material for the tactile signal. For example, heart beat goes like boof boof boof, so I recorded this sound acoustically, but I transformed… transmitted it with special device into a vibration. So, then you can listen to the sound, and also at the same time you can feel the vibration on your body in the capsule.

In 2008 you also finished the helmet and it was a kind of similar project…

SM: Yeah! Exactly, the similar project.

With the helmet you focused only on the head, but now you moved the concept to the whole body… what was first?

SM: Yeah. The first I made capsule, than I made kind of smaller version of capsule (laughs)

sonic_helmet.jpgSonic Helmet by Satoshi Morita (c)

Oh, I see… (laughs)

SM: Because it’s not really easy to transport the capsule, with helmet… I can bring it with me. But this is also very intense experience because with head, I mean when it’s around your head you have everything, maybe not everything but a lot of perceptual organs and elements like ears, eyes…. Than you listen to the sound and feel the vibration on top of your head, so than you feel really really intense.

You have enriched the concept with these structures…

SM: Yeah. You can also see the thing, touch the thing, wear the thing, listen to the thing; and than feel the vibration. So, this is how I wanted to combine these different aspects of perception. I don’t want to keep distant from art piece like ‘don’t touch it’. For me it’s like ‘really touch it’.

John Cage replaced music with sound and you are exploring the essence of sound. I’m interested what do you think about this compositional sound, maybe as music, but not necessarily.

SM: So, definition of the composition is now very bright, very wide. I also compose in a sense that I use time to reach some kind of feelings by using these recordings from street or something. It’s not in a traditional sense composition, because I don’t use instrument and these things. But, as far as I use time to create, or to create a special time for ‘the listening’ perception, that‘s for me also the composition, but in a different way.

sonic_helmet_1.jpgSonic Helmet by Satoshi Morita (c)

Where would you place yourself, among high tech or low-fi … I know that you are going to present Sound capsule at Ubiquitous Oscillations in Berlin… what do you thing about such  concepts…

SM: I’m based on very analogue things, king of very low level or very simple mechanism, because I trust our body. Then, sometimes I have a problem with this interaction. Because, you touch something, then you get some kind of reaction but often it ends. This is not an interaction, but a reaction. It’s not really a dialogue. What I found than was that it doesn’t need to be that kind of thing; you can not really design this interaction in a way, because the thing that we perceive is very different from each person. For example, my sound capsule is not really interactive, because I play the sound…

You mean that people are physically passive…

SM: Yeah. But… But people experience something, and they get imagination and they start to interact in their imagination. Not in a way that you get a signal and I give back the signal. You know, not in that direct way. But inside of the imagination they interact. For me it’s the good form of interaction. It’s a good form of communication between art and people. So, for me Artificial Intelligence is not really my topic at the moment, at the moment. Probably I may find a good approach using this, but at the moment it’s really not my topic, to use what we call AI.

sound_capsule_6.jpgPhoto by K0ntejner (c)

I have my body, this is my presence here. This is one kind of reality. People forgot to use this tool, because we are becoming very mentally, more than physically oriented. Body is an essential part of us…

SM: Yeah! Exactly, this is also very interesting point that we think that we know body, we sense something, but it’s really visually oriented. Of course, we use our memories how it could be; and we use imagination how it could feel. But, as far as I don’t touch, I don’t know actually how this material could be. Probably, this could be very soft, or not. Then this direct contact with material or, for example, with people like right now… For me it’s the most intense experience. I kind of believe in this, not using kind of media thing. I want to have this whole experience.

You had very successful 2008, you were presented in Linz at Ars Electronica…

SM: Yeah. In Linz, and in November I was in Augsburg at one media art festival. I’m very happy to explore or to meet people, get many inputs. I’m very happy about it.

You live in Europe now…

SM: In Berlin for last four years…

Seems like you perfectly fit into German discipline… you can easier find connections with Japanese approach…

SM: I think, I’m not really Japanese (laughs).

OK… (laughs)

SM: Otherwise… (laughs) I think I would stay in Japan, but I like to go or to get the new input, to see different things. And in Germany is good at the moment. Berlin is very good city, because lot’s of interesting artists came, they try out something. I meet people, and get connection in a very high level. So, I think I’m going to stay in Berlin much longer working further on my body based projects.

TNX a lot, Satoshi!

  • http://112mirabela.wordpress.com/ 112mirabela

    Ah, thank you deedee, i love when you do open the worlds of unknown
    🙂 great.

  • http://112mirabela.wordpress.com/ 112mirabela

    Ah, thank you deedee, i love when you do open the worlds of unknown 🙂 great.

  • http://www.lomodeedee.com/ lomodeedee

    tnx… great… glad you like it…

  • http://www.lomodeedee.com/ lomodeedee

    tnx… great… glad you like it…

  • http://www.squidoo.com/brainwave_entrainment_synchronization Brainwave Entrainment

    This is fantastic information! Thanks! I’ve been exploring the
    world of brainwave entrainment for quite a while now, but this
    information from Satoshi Morita just takes things to an entirely
    new level. It leaves me in awe to be honest, I wonder just how far
    this could be taken.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/brainwave_entrainment_synchronization Brainwave Entrainment

    This is fantastic information! Thanks! I’ve been exploring the world of brainwave entrainment for quite a while now, but this information from Satoshi Morita just takes things to an entirely new level. It leaves me in awe to be honest, I wonder just how far this could be taken.

  • http://www.lomodeedee.com/ lomodeedee

    tnx… i suggest you to keep an eye on satoshi’s projects… but
    also, all these links i posted in text could be just a start for
    your research and digging through out the media… this is also one
    interesting group at friendfeed entitled ‘Augmented Cognition’…
    you can subscribe feed, or join, too:
    http://friendfeed.com/augmentedcognition best

  • http://www.lomodeedee.com/ lomodeedee

    tnx… i suggest you to keep an eye on satoshi’s projects… but also, all these links i posted in text could be just a start for your research and digging through out the media…

    this is also one interesting group at friendfeed entitled ‘Augmented Cognition’… you can subscribe feed, or join, too: http://friendfeed.com/augmentedcognition

    best

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