IT BEEN MOVING AT FIRST

TETSUYA UMEDA

For Fusebox, Tetsuya Umeda will turn the Museum of Human Achievement into an unpredictable laboratory. Part installation, part performance, and part physics experiment, It Been Moving at First combines common household items with hydraulic power, fire, gravity, light, electricity, gases, and steam to create a unique encounter that is by turns surprising, wild, contemplative, beautiful, and strange.

Audiences are invited to experience the work over 50 minutes as the artist interacts and performs with his collection of small-scale experiments exploring sound, light, and time.

About the Work  The conception of Umeda Tetsuya’s work arises from recapturing the essential features of his surrounding environment and scenes of the space, creating a piece that offers a realistic experience of the one-off moment. His works have been shown internationally at museums and galleries, as well as outdoor locations such as ruined buildings, lakes and mountain tops. He has also made site-specific works at a hotel, factory, shopping street, and tunnel in Japan and abroad. Producing the natural phenomenon of sound and light is Umeda’s expertise; his process of redefining the space based on information collected and traced from the environment could be argued as an architectural approach. Scraps and daily commodities are often seen in his installation works and when these objects, with apparently simple structures, are combined with complexed but repeated movements, they continuously alter the distinct character of the space. Human behavior and reaction is also treated as a component of the work and the artist selects people who are already associated with the space to appear as extras. The audience is unconsciously guided to be involved in the installation piece, unaware that their actions have become part of it. Consequently, this also generates and highlights the performing aspect to his installation.

About the Performance At times, ordinary materials such as ropes, cans and plastic bottles present unexpected expansion and occurrence to the viewer, caused by the combination of the simple effects of natural phenomenon; such as gravity and centrifugal force – the artist does not manipulate them in any specific manner. Every single breathtaking light, sudden accidental explosion and odd sound attributes to and engages in just some of his everyday behavior. Thus, the boundaries of what we are watching and listening is blurred and our familiar scenery, possible accidents and audience’s behavior will be merged as a part of the performance. This evolves to the realization of a unique experience of the performance, where the ordinary and the extraordinary cross and coincide only in that moment and in that space.

Touring support for Tetsuya Umeda is provided by the Japan Foundation through the Performing Arts JAPAN program.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how NEA grants impact individuals and communities, visit arts.gov

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