Saturday, January 29, 2011

Japan :: Silk

It's fascinating to know that silk grows on a tree. A Mulberry tree. Silk worms make it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Greet The Sun

Japanese Torii gates were built to greet the Sun Goddess Amaterasu. In these brutally cold New York winter days, I thought I'd conjure up some warmth with this drawing.

Drawing Music :: Sō Percussion with Dan Deacon

So Percussion and Dan Deacon

On February 20, as part of the Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin Concert Hall, Sō Percussion collaborated with composer Dan Deacon for a night of unprecedented experimental music. Imagine: the audience was orchestrated to play their cell phones, and musicians on stage jammed with fizzing carbonated soft drinks.  These are the highlights from that mind-blowing night. 

Dan Deacon and the noise-making audience. 

Somehow, when you consider anthropological origins of music, that show is not so far out all of a sudden. Contextually, it's a product of it's time and serves the same purpose as it did for, say, aborigines centuries ago. 

Prehistoric music originated from imitations of nature sounds and animal sounds by humans for reasons of communication and survival.  Language developed alongside, on a parallel path. Fast forward to 21 century and we still imitate our immediate surroundings through music and language in order to exchange emotions and ideas. In the case of Sō & Dan Deacon's sold out performance, it was cell phones (primary communication device) and sweetened carbonated soft drinks (big part of our diet). Imagine 500 strangers who synchronize their mobile devices to "perform" together, and who are told to yell-stomp-clap-sing-breathe together. 15 minutes into the aural madness, the crowd managed to get into a strangely tribal groove. The experience of this half-hour mass noise production was quite…bonding, actually. Our group cacophony was the thing that made us one. It made us feel so good, in fact, that there were massive outbursts of laughter. Anthropologists wonder whether musicality was naturally selected over non-musicality as an attribute of survival. Why? Because it's a non-violent way to resolve conflict. 

So Percussion playing with soda.

*Drawn on my iPhone
Composer Dan Deacon

Now, I'm not a sociologist, nor an anthropologist. I'm an artist whose job is "to make drawings, not sense" (William Kentridge said that.) I admire Dan Deacon for the way he thinks and plays with ideas (good pun?). As for Sō Percussion, they never seize to amaze. I love how daring they are in pushing the limits of possible. And yet they always manage beautiful harmonies and hypnotizing rhythmic patterns.  Here are more drawings from that night.

 So Percussion's magic

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Drawing Music :: Taiko Drummers of Japan

Japanese Taiko drumming goes back to 7th century. Back then it was used to communicate commands during battles, or to intimidate the enemy. Taiko drumming was also the religious music of Buddhism and Shintoism. It was played to communicate with nature and call rain for good harvest.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Happy [Old] New Year!

I am back!  I've been around the world and visited many countries and cultures, from Japan and China to Africa and Indonesia...all inside the Orlando's Disney World.

In the honor of New Year festivities (tonight is the Old New Year, an Orthodox Slavic holiday according to the Julian Calendar), I'd like to share a curious fact I learned in China. The ancient Chinese invented gun powder, but it's first usage was to make...fireworks! So here's to all kinds of fun and peaceful pursuits in the new year!

 The Temple Of Heaven, China