Norimichi Hirakawa

human property (alien territory) pt.2 – works in progress

January 8 - February 5, 2022
12:00 - 18:00

"human property (alien territory) pt.2 – works in progress"


Yutaka Kikutake Gallery is pleased to present “human property (alien territory) pt.2 – works in progress,” a solo exhibition of works by Norimichi Hirakawa from January 8 to February 5, 2022.


In recent years Hirakawa has channeled his attention towards his sound and video project “datum,” a work based on the theme of beauty in higher dimensional space, which attempts to observe beauty that is normally unseen by human beings through treating different concepts of space, color and time symmetrically in high dimensional space within which they are unified. It was developed using a method that could be described as "immediate digitalization” utilizing the characteristic of data, namely its indeterminate form. Hirakawa reflects on this attempt, stating how his “interest in mathematical thinking such as algorithms which can be executed infinitely, as well as studies of mathematics and physics that approach the subject of the universe, stem from a fascination towards extremely long passages of time or distant places that cannot be reached within the scope of one’s lifetime, and in essence is vertically orientated –perhaps also related to being based in Tokyo.” In a fast-paced city where various things are born, mature, and soon replaced with new ones, human beings have indeed constantly updated new tools and associated ideas, due to the inevitable limitations of time and space.


On the other hand, the new works (prototypes) presented on this occasion have been produced in Sapporo, Hokkaido, where Hirakawa is based in recent years, against the backdrop of vast horizontally extending terrenes that are unlike any other place in Japan. It seems that his interests there are shifting to reachable subjects rather than different, unreachable dimensions as he has continued to pursue thus far.

Presented at Mutek Tokyo Edition 4 in 2019, Hirakawa’s live performance conceived as an audiovisual work through use of a program that converts photographs of snowscapes taken during a walk into sound, provided viewers with an overwhelming experience. In the work, the sheer beauty of snowscapes captured within the photographs unfold one after another, contrasted against the high-pressure and high-resolution noise that vibrates in a way reminiscent of the earth’s rumbling.

While the artist states that the abovementioned work was produced on a mere impulsive idea, those presented in this exhibition are an extension of it, and could be seen as his attempt to explore the means by which to represent the light that he feels and the objects that he touches. Bearing in mind that not only the universality of mathematical conversion, but also the "meaning" and "value" derived from what one (human) sees and hears must always be one-sided, the artist engages in new attempts that draw from observations of natural phenomena and objects.

(Monitor demo unit provided by: EIZO Corporation / Speaker demo unit provided by: Fostex)


“sunlight spectrum sonification”

“sunlight spectrum sonification” is an audiovisual work that combines sequential photographs taken on a certain beach with observation data regarding the spectrum of sunlight.

As opposed to adhering to the characteristics of cone cells that respond to the primary colors of red, green and blue (RGB) on which human vision relies, here, the frequency and amplitude of light itself in recorded and converted into sound. Such sounds are played in combination with video footage that has been reduced to zero saturation, thus enabling viewers to perceive light in a way that is different from what is seen through one’s eyes and is felt through one’s skin.


“(non) semantic process”

“(non) semantic process” is a work made using a program that converts a piece of driftwood found on the coast of Shiraoi, where the Ainu people once lived into character string, attempting to generate sentences from it by continuously searching for words while cross-referencing a dictionary from start to finish. If a piece of driftwood that happens to be washed ashore contains an interpretable string, what value can we find from it? While it may not be “aesthetic,” is it not something that “art” should engage with?

Is it possible to find something like "a rocks that look like XXX" in a way that is not from a human-centered perspective, such as the human eye itself or an AI that has learned from it?