The art of the ‘edge’ for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

When I saw Cee’s theme for this week’s Fun Foto Challenge was ‘Things with Edges’ I remembered some unusual artworks we saw earlier this year. The biennial AV Festival here in North East England brings us all kinds of artistic audio visual treats by locally based artists and from artists around the world.

Akio Suzuki is a Japanese artist who has been exploring the world of sound since the 1960s when he began what he has called “na ge ka ke” (‘to cast, to throw’) where he takes an action to affect nature and then listens to the resulting phenomenon. This listening part Akio Suzuki calls “ta do ri” (‘to trace and follow’).

We experienced several of Akio Suzuki’s installations in the Globe Gallery exhibition in Newcastle upon Tyne. Two of his installations involved ‘Edges’ – in this case, the edges were edges of upcycled metal sheets that the artist had used to ‘hold’ the sound vibrations of his artworks.

Akio Suzuki (artist) - hi zu mi, 2014
Akio Suzuki – hi zu mi, 2014

This new work by Suzuki is called “hi zu mi” (‘distortion’). The sheet metal balances upon stones and rocks selected by the artist from a local North East beach. The ‘distortion’ is the gradual absorption of sound as the steel plate bends. Only enough rocks are used to create the work so that the metal plate stops before it touches the ground.

Akio Suzuki - tsu ra na ri re-staged in the Globe Gallery 2014
Akio Suzuki – tsu ra na ri, re-staged in the Globe Gallery, Newcastle, 2014

A second, larger installation is a work that Akio Suzuki first created in 2003, called “tsu ra na ri”. This one is about rhythm and reverberations. A collection of ‘C-shaped’ tables are supported on their sides in a very careful arrangement. Beach stones of varying sizes were placed on the upper surfaces.

Akio Suzuki - tsu ra na ri, 2003
Akio Suzuki – tsu ra na ri. Beach stones are placed on the upper surfaces.

When the installation is pushed gently (very gently! … by the exhibition assistant!!), the tower sways and the stones dance, creating a musical rhythm that then gradually fades out to silence. This sound installation worked really well in the stark surroundings of the Globe Gallery. The sound was intriguing and experiencing this artwork definitely made me think of the rhythm of the sea.

Marsden Bay, N E England coast
Marsden Bay, South Tyneside, England. Akio Suzuki was inspired by his research visit to Marsden Bay.

Here is another set of related ‘edges’ – the cliffs and beach as the edge of the land; the edge of the sea; in the foreground we have rocks with edges that have tumbled down from the cliffs as part of coastal erosion. This is Marsden Bay, the beach where Akio Suzuki visited for inspiration and selected his stones for his artworks.

J Peggy Taylor

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