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Experimental Talk with Rick Tuazon – Sound & Media Artist

Rick Tuazon is from Los Angeles, he does experimental sound and media art in Osaka, and I recently had the pleasure of talking with him about his role in this freshest and most unpredictable of scenes…



Sam Zipursky: OK, so you do music as well as visual art. Tell me about your involvement in both, and how and when you got into these creative pursuits.


Rick Tuazon: Well, in Osaka I’m currently involved in the experimental/sound project, Salads in Space. I’ve always been into music, having played guitar since I was 12 and also having been in some bands in high school and college. But I think my path towards performing experimental music and sound art began when I first came to Osaka: I did some volunteer work for a few years at Arts-Aporia’s Red Brick Warehouse, which was a sound/contemporary art space near Osaka-ko. This art space regularly held sound art concerts and contemporary art exhibitions by Japanese and international artists. I think that exposure had a lot of influence on what I’m doing in Osaka today. I also studied art in university, which explains my visual art background. Recently I’ve been working on installation-based media art projects.


SZ: Is Osaka a good city for experimental music and art? What is it about Osaka that inspires you creatively?


RT: I think there are quite a few interesting art-related things happening in Kansai in general, and Osaka has many hidden surprises to offer. Ironically, nature inspires me as well as the sounds of the city.


SZ: Do you have any recommended places, spots, or events?


RT: There are a number of interesting places to see and hear experimental art and music in Kansai: I’d recommend checking out FLOAT in Kujo, Socio in AmeMura, Common Café in Nakazakicho, Big Apple in Kobe, and UrBANGUILD in Kyoto. Elixir in Higobashi also had monthly art exhibitions and interesting sound/music events but unfortunately had to close its doors in December. Events I highly recommend are "Sleeper Hallucination Camping" at FLOAT and "Junkroom" at UrBANGUILD. Takedao Art Tunnel is also worth checking out.


SZ: I want to ask about your musical side – what is the Salads in Space project all about?


RT: Salads in Space is an experiment in organic music making. Rather than being harmony- or structure-based, the project uses the juxtaposition and manipulation of improvised sound textures and phrasal shapes to explore how musical forms can "grow" themselves. The project has three core members: Jerry Gordon, Charles-Eric Billard and myself. Our sound consists of percussions, electronics, string, wind and homemade instruments. We collaborate with improvising artists from different disciplines, including dancers and live painters. The members in this unit are also individually active in the Osaka art scene outside of the Salads in Space project as improvisational musicians/sound artists, poets and visual/installation artists.


SZ: And you also do video installations, right?


RT: Yes, I did a couple of video installations last year. One was exhibited at SoHo Gallery’s themed group exhibition – "Identity" – which was part of the 2009 Peace Summer event, in which a number of galleries in Osaka participated. Another installation I did was displayed at the Takedao Art Tunnel event in 2009, which was held inside an abandoned train tunnel in Hyogo Prefecture. That was a site-specific piece. The tunnel space encouraged participating artists to utilize the tunnel’s darkness as well as its acoustics for their artwork and performances. The Takedao Art Tunnel is an interesting and unique event held once a year and I encourage everyone to go check it out or even participate in it this year. So far I’ve been working solo in this medium but I am interested in meeting other media artists as well as interaction designers, programmers, hackers or tinkerers for sharing of ideas and for potential collaboration.


SZ: Lastly, how can readers connect with you online?


RT: Well, you can check the Salads in Space MySpace site for upcoming sound events (myspace.com/saladsinspace). I also have a few other exhibitions in the works for this year. My homepage is currently under construction at www.projektivity.net, where there is a link to my email for people who want to contact me, and I’ve recently set up a blog to advertise events and creative projects I’m involved in: t1nkerb0t.wordpress.com


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