“It begins by breaking.
For over 30 years, I’ve been wanting to make art pieces where the music itself is the artwork. There used to be many rules that prevented me from doing so, but now I finally can.”
—That’s what I said when I released my previous piece but that’s still very much true.
At the same time, I’m very excited to present this work, which is art-directed by my long-term collaborator, Shiro Takatani. It is made up of 17 analog records of which 16 are Dumb Type pieces and one recording of mine that we didn’t use for the installation.
Ryuichi SakamotoRyuichi Sakamoto has lived many musical lives in his nearly 70 years.
As a keyboardist and songwriter in Haruomi Hosono’s Yellow Magic Orchestra, he helped set the stage for synthpop. His solo experiments in fusing global genres and close studies of classical impressionism led to him scoring over 30 films in as many years, including Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence, Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor and The Sheltering Sky, and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant. In the past 20 years alone, he’s written a multimedia opera, turned a glass building into an instrument, and travelled to the Arctic to record the sound of melting snow. That exploratory spirit runs through Sakamoto’s 2017 album, async, which paints an audio portrait of the passing of time informed by his recovery from throat cancer. “Music, work, and life all have a beginning and an ending,” said Sakamoto in early 2019. “What I want to make now is music freed from the constraints of time.”
“Playback” is originally a sound installation piece that used analog records, which we created for the Dumb Type exhibition at Centre Pompidou-Metz in France, 2018. I had always hoped to collaborate with different musicians to create the records. So for the Dumb Type exhibition at Haus der Kunst in Munich (that occurred May through September of 2022), I was so happy that we were able to present “Playback” with Ryuichi taking the lead.
The field recordings that were done by Ryuichi’s 16 friends and acquaintances ended up also being incorporated into the new installation piece titled “2022”, which we created with Ryuichi for the Venice Biennale. We did so because the theme for the new piece was about the ways in which we can perceive the world and the communication methods that have drastically changed with the spread of things such as social media and the coronavirus. The installation also quoted lines from geography textbooks in the 1850s. The environmental sounds that were sent in from around the world worked to encourage people to imagine different places that were far away from the exhibition space.
This project is also an attempt at recognizing the noise that exists in cities around the world and to feel the atmosphere of the cities that don’t exist in that space, through their sounds. I hope you will listen for the various sounds and silences that are around you too.Shiro Takatani
Shiro TakataniBorn in 1963, Shiro Takatani studied environmental design at Kyoto City University of Arts. He is one of the founding member of the artist collective Dumb Type, which was established in 1984. Besides Dumb Type, Takatani began a parallel solo career in 1998. In his solo activities, he has directed visuals for several theater productions, including Ryuichi Sakamoto's opera LIFE (1999). He created his own performance La Chambre Claire (premiered at Theater der Welt, Germany in 2008), CHROMA (premiered at Biwako Hall Center for the Performing Arts Shiga in 2012) and ST/LL (with music by Ryuichi Sakamoto, premiered at Le Volcan – Scène Nationale du Havre, France in 2015). Takatani’s works were presented, among others, National Theater & Concert Hall Taipei, New National Theatre Tokyo, Singapore International Festival of Arts, Sharjah Biennial UAE. His first retrospective solo exhibition, Camera Lucida, was held at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum in 2013. Dumb Type’s first large-scale solo exhibition, DUMB TYPE | ACTIONS + REFLECTIONS, was held at Centre Pompidou-Metz (France) in 2018 and Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo in 2019-20. The latest theater piece by Ryuichi Sakamoto + Shiro Takatani, TIME was premiered at Holland Festival in 2021. In 2022, Dumb Type created a new installation 2022 for the Japan Pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia, welcoming Ryuichi Sakamoto as a new member. Also, Dumb Type solo exhibition at Haus der Kunst in Munich was held in the same year.
Ryuichi Sakamoto | Art Box Project 2023 Content details
For an exhibition on Dumb Type that was held in Munich, Ryuichi Sakamoto directed the creation of the installation piece “Playback”. His idea was to collect field recordings from 16 different locations around the world and play them back in a way that encapsulates the specific location and time that each contributor made the recording and the “unique sound” that they captured. In addition to the 16 field recordings, we will add Ryuichi Sakamoto’s unreleased field recording “Tokyo 2021” to press 17 individual records and compile them into an ART BOX. Every record is transparent and side-A of each record will be one field recording. For side-B, the visual information of the light and shadow of a map will be converted into data representing sound dynamics and with that, AUTORA FACTORY PLATE will use a unique technique to etch a map of the region around the city where the specific recording took place. A special cutting process will be used to have the location of the city come to the center of the disc. This ART BOX will be specially art-directed by Dumb Type’s Shiro Takatani and will be a limited release of 100 sets sold worldwide.
- Beijing | Field recordings by Yan Jun
- Cape Town | Field recordings by Crosby Bolani
- Chiang Mai | Field recordings by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
- La Tour-de-Peilz | Field recordings by Kali Malone & Stephen O’Malley
- London | Field recordings by Mukul Patel
- Melbourne | Field recordings by John Warwicker
- Mexico City | Field recordings by Martin Hernandez
- Mount Etna | Field recordings by Giuseppe La Spada
- Munich | Field recordings by Damian Lentini
- New York | Field recordings by Alec Fellman
- Reykjavik | Field recordings by Andri Snær Magnason & Ka ś ka Paluch
- Rio de Janeiro | Field recordings by Jaques Morelenbaum
- Santiago | Field recordings by Atom Heart
- Taipei | Field recordings by Cheng Chou
- Tehran | Field recordings by Nima Massali
- Tokyo | Field recordings by Seigen Ono
- Tokyo 2021 | Field recordings by Ryuichi Sakamoto
Special Bonus Features for Purchasers
Playback 2022 will be dispatched from 30 August 2023, release date.
Once pre-ordered and purchased, we will send the Playback 2022 e-newsletter. The e-newsletter plans to include things such as messages from the field recording contributors.
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