Ryoji Ikeda “supersymmetry”

Internationally renowned in the realm of electronic laptop computer music, composer Ryoji Ikeda has also gained worldwide acclaim as a creator of installations and performances integrating imagery and sound in an innovative, pioneering style. In recent years Vividly conveying Ikeda’s recent interest and commitment to quantum theory, this work is composed of two installations that reflect ideas inspired by Ikeda’s dialogues with researchers and engineers during his stay at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the world’s largest particle physics research institute in Geneva, Switzerland, since February 2014. The exhibition pairs the two installations “supersymmetry [experiment]” and “supersymmetry [experience]”, corresponding to the relationships between experimentation and observation in modern (particle) physics, and between representation and mathematical models.

“supersymmetry [experiment]
Studio B

Ryoji Ikeda “supersymmetry [experiment]”
As suggested by the appendix “experiment” in the title, in this work visitors can witness physical phenomena prior to being observed and recorded as data. Installed in the Studio are three light boxes that emit intense white light. The surfaces of these light boxes are paved with microscopically small pellets that behave in various ways according to the boxes’ slightly changing inclination. Highlighted by the permanently blinking light boxes, the pellets behave in complex ways, gathering to form groups or moving individually while affecting each other’s behavior. Red lasers scanning the light boxes’ surfaces detect the pellets’ behavior, which is then translated into data that are reflected in the sound and liquid crystal visual displays monitoring the light boxes. While the three light boxes are identical in size (1m x 1m), pellets of different materials and differently coated surfaces are used on each of them, so that visitors can observe their individual behavior.

“supersymmetry [experience]
Studio A

Ryoji Ikeda “supersymmetry”
Set up in the darkness of the exhibition space are two 20m x 0.7m horizontal video screens arranged on the left and right side, parallel to and facing each other, along with two parallel rows of 20 monitors each. While images are successively displayed on the video screens, their respective movements are analyzed and described on the monitors lined up in front of them. Each visual scene is precisely constructed of such analyzed and dissolved data, whereas all screens are controlled to operate in total synchronization with parallel independent audio playbacks. The work dismantles the visitor’s consciousness as he/she attempts to grasp at once from one position where all the things that happen simultaneously in the multiple moving and blinking images and their respective complex, high-speed analyses on both sides of the installation. Expanding their imagination of a parallel universe of imagery and sound to the awareness and resolution of the entire space, and not only pursue the meanings of single images, analyzed data and sounds, will enable visitors to enter the musical construct that Ikeda composed. In reference to the term “mathematical experience”, the ”music” that is exhibited here aims to create a connection between mathematical models and musical expression. Audio and visual contents of this installation will be frequently updated in the future, to continually reflect Ikeda’s new scientific and mathematical interests.