Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Japan Culture + Hyperculture: Part I Nonsense Machines

Fresh off the trail of the Japan culture + hyperculture event at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., I am armed with a new appreciation for Japanese inventors, engineers, and visionaries. The event featured over 450 artists, 40 performances, and an endless array of exhibitions celebrating Japanese art, technology, and culture.

To celebrate their ingenuity, the following is part I in a three-part series of what I found to be the most interesting and eye-opening exhibits.

The Maywa Denki:

Maywa Denki is an art and performance troupe founded by Nobumichi Tosa. Behind the performances are original instruments or “nonsense machines” engineered and built by the team out of discarded electrical items. Each creation is built to produce sound by knocking, rubbing, or slapping components fueled by a 100-volt charge. To say that Maywa Denki makes industrial music would be to understate the real genius of their art form; a symphony of sound, light, and motion converge at each performance in an outpouring of truly “electric” energy.

The group is currently looking for ways to promote their unique techno-art outside of Japan--enter Street Attack. It isn’t hard to envision an epic stunt featuring nonsense-machines to stop pedestrians at high-traffic locations. I have been invited to visit the Maywa Denki factory in Japan in March, and I'll be sure to keep you updated.

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