Miya Masaoka: LED Kimono

  • ©,



    LED Kimono



Artist Statement:

    In pre-war Japan, kimonos were encoded with clues indicating gender, caste, age, class, and social ranking. Geographical location defined the colors, as certain plants that produced particular colors only grow in certain regions. Silk techniques are also regional, and the difference between fine and rough silk indicated relative wealth.
    For several decades, I have been a musician, composer, and developer of unique koto-based instruments (for example, the Monster Koto and the Laser Koto), and I have been digitally processing and sampling the koto to expand its sonic and gestural components. A kimono is required for traditional koto performances, and the manner of wearing the kimono is as exact, technical, and aesthetically precise as the playing of the instrument. The kimono can be viewed as an integral and natural part of the instrument.
    The LED Kimono is a new light-and-sound instrument made with a single hand-made sleeve embroidered with 444 LEDs that respond to sound and movement and occasionally act as a low-resolution monitor interpreting live video.
    The images and motifs represented on the sleeve, derived from traditional kimono patterns, are responsive to and mapped to specified parameters of sound. For example, at times, there is a relationship between the movement of the sleeve and the harmonic spectrum. The performance is presented in several sections, and each section has a slightly different version of interaction with the four elements: the sound, the LEDs, the movement of the dancer, and the sleeve.
    Special thanks for the technical hardware and software expertise of Bob Bielecki and Damon Holzborn, and the support and com-missioning of this project by Harvestworks and CircuitNetwork. The dancer is Mariko Masaoka-Drew.

Affiliation Where Artwork Was Created:

    Bard College