What kind of “new teku teku” spectacle does an improvisational collaboration between noise music and video invite?

Kyoto Experiment: Kyoto International Performing Arts Festival 2022, which has continued since 2010, will be held from October 1 (Sat) to 23 (Sun). This year will be the 13th edition. As the name suggests, this festival features “experimental works that move freely between genres such as theater, dance, music, fine art, design, and architecture”, searches for “new possibilities through the creations, experiences, and ideas that emerge from such a diverse combination.”, and aims to “bring the arts and society closer together through new forms of dialogue” (quotes are cited from the press release). The scale of the festival and its cutting-edge programs is perhaps something that can be achieved in a world-class cultural city like Kyoto.

The key concept for this year’s festival is “new teku teku”. “Teku teku” is a Japanese word that expresses footsteps or walking at a steady pace. This is surely a very appropriate key concept for today; when we are reminded daily of how it is important physically, temporally and mentally to think and take one step at a time with our own feet while also communicating with others. 

The festival is roughly divided into three programs; “Shows” is for the performances, “Kansai Studies” researches the Kyoto and Kansai regions with artists with the aim of connecting this to the foundation of future creation, and “Super Knowledge for the Future [SKF]” consists of workshop and talks. I will introduce one of the eleven performances in the “Shows” program that is mainly focused on music and sound. It is a visual concert by three avant-garde musicians; Merzbow from Japan, Richard Pinhas from France, and Balázs Pándi from Hungary; and photographer Lieko Shiga.

Merzbow is of course a well-known noise project by Masami Akita that has been in progress since the 80s and is iconic for “Japanoize” all around the world. He has been actively working with experimental artists overseas from early on and has collaborated and released a huge number of recordings with them. Among those, it is Pinhas and Pândi with whom Akita has developed the closest artistic relationship in recent years. Pinhas is best-known as the guitarist of Heldon, a band representative of seventies french progressive rock. However in his solo activities since the eighties, he has been creating an epic, ocean-cloud-like sonic design, expanding the world of Robert Fripp and Brian Eno with layers of solo guitar and employing a specially developed effector that incorporates delay and reverb. Pândi used to be the drummer of a hardcore-thrash metal band in Hungary and has a lot to do with avant-garde musicians in the USA such as Arthur Doyle and Leo Smith. In the last decade, he has put a lot of strength and focus into his collaboration with Akita. He is undoubtedly one of the most famous active drummers with a focus on noise elements in the field of experimental music.

Photographer Shiga has been shooting people walking along the gigantic breakwaters built after the Great East Japan Earthquake for two years. This visual concert is a completely improvised collaborative work between audio and visual in which Shiga will edit the video material live to intersect with the music. Titled Bipolar the concert is sure to confront us with various polarities; such as nature and artifice, reconstruction and suppression, and life and death; allowing us to experience a “teku teku” of thought.


Kyoto Experiment: Kyoto International Performing Arts Festival 2022
October 1 − 23, 2022 at Rohm Theatre Kyoto, Kyoto Art Center, Kyoto Art Theater Shunjuza, Theatre E9 Kyoto etc.

October 8 and 9, 2022 at Kyoto Art Theater Shunjuza
Start: 19:00
Performance time: 60 minutes (TBC)
Performers: Merzbow, Balázs Pándi, Richard Pinhas with Lieko Shiga
*Age limit and other information:
No admission for elementary school students and under. Please note this performance contains loud sound.