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Meirin Attunement Room(明倫調律室)
[2018, Japan] installation

An interactive installation that invites the audience to imagine how it may feel to know where in the world they are—by listening to the relationships of sound around them—in a hypothetically tuned city proposed by Shin Nakagawa in his book Heiankyo Sound Universe. In collaboration with an Onmyoji (a professional practitioner of a Japanese esoteric cosmology based on the principles of yin-yang and the Five Elements,) a shō player, and the maker of koto strings, I created a sound universe by placing a tuning fork of the corresponding gagaku mode and some symbols of the elements related to each direction in a tearoom of Kyoto Art Center. The audience members sitting in the east, west, south, and north sides of the room vocalize the sound of the tuning forks. The audience member lying down in the center of the room becomes the hollow body of a koto whose string resonates with the room. They can play the string while changing the tuning by breathing and moving the bridge between their body and the string. This way, the room itself. as well as the audience’s bodies, become instruments to be played and tuned in relation with each other. The work was commissioned by “The Instrument Builders Project Kyoto: Circulating Echo,” a forum for experimentation and collaboration between artists from Australia and the Asia-Pacific at the intersection of contemporary art, sound, music, and performance.

Meirin Attunement Room_exceptTomoko Momiyama

Premier and venue: September 16, 2018 Kyoto Art Center 

Collaborators: Yasuko Momiyama, Kyu-mei, Wukir Suryadi, Misbach ,Daeng Bilok, and Caitlin Franzmann.

Special Thanks To: Eri Ito (Sho player), Tobaya Co., LTD., Murin-an, Okayama Moss Association, and Moire.

Commission: The Instrument Builders Project Kyoto: Circulating Echo


Calling from a Changtang Steppe

[2014, India] site-specific performance, sound installation

As part of Earth Art Project 2014, I made music with children of nomadic families from the Himalayan mountains by documenting signs we received from the earth and the sky. I worked at two schools in Ladakh, one at 3800 meters high altitude in Nang village, and another at 5000 meters in Puga in the Changtang region. At each school, I stayed for 2 weeks and conducted workshops with the school children to make music through dialogues with their environments. By creating instruments from found objects and making use of natural acoustic phenomena such as the echoes from surrounding mountains and the whistling sound of strong winds, I composed site-specific music performances entitled “Bilungpa’s March” in Nang and “Calling from a Changtang Steppe” in Puga, which were performed by the children. In addition, I created sound installation pieces using recordings from the workshop processes, which were exhibited at the schools.

Calling from a Changtang Steppe_excerptTomoko Momiyama

for children’s voice, wind organs, and self-made instruments, premiered at Nang Middle School and Nomadic Residential School Puga, in Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, India.


A Song Pouring

[2009, The Nederlands] audience participatory sound and visual installation


Commissioned by Camera Japan Festival, I created an audience-participatory audio-visual installation entitled “A Song Pouring” with Takako Hamano (visual artist) for the festival’s “Kappalai” group exhibition. We created constantly shifting soundscapes with recorded interviews at a historical ship, and later in a historical mansion, and invited the audience to pour songs from their secret memories into the live space. The piece questioned the ownership of memory at the borders between what might be considered “private” and “public.”

Havenmueum, Rotterdam / Siebold Huis, Leiden, the Netherlands.

Filter Works:

© Tomoko Momiyama

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