a performance by Atau Tanaka

curated by Nina Czegledy

Friday, November, 24, 2000
@ 8 p.m. Glenn Gould Studio,
250 Front Street West, Toronto.

Ticket price is $12 ($10 for students and seniors.)
Tickets can be purchased at the box office
of the Glenn Gould Studio (416) 205-5555.

About Atau Tanaka

Over the last years, the world of sound has been extended with practically infinite new options ranging from soundwalks to networked concerts to real audio webcasting. Performance has also gained fresh interest in the expanding new media milieu, its currency corresponding to the general re-evaluation of the body in cyberspace. Atau Tanaka is one of the most remarkable pioneers in this borderless world.

Tanaka began his work in multimedia in 1984. He worked with John Cage at Harvard, with Fred Frith in Amsterdam, and studied computer music at Stanford, and in Paris. In 1994, Edwin van der Heide, Zbigniew Karkowski and Atau Tanaka formed performance ensemble Sensorband. Working as “sound scientists”, using ultrasound, infrared, and bioelectric sensors as their musical instruments, the group staged dozens of physical and virtual performances that spanned numerous international borders. One of the primary aims of both Sensorband’s and Tanaka’s solo concerts is to “articulate computer generated music in a live setting, to reposition computer music back in traditional modes of diffusion of music.” (Tanaka).

In his performance Corporeal, Tanaka uses physical gestures to articulate music and sound synthesis and real-time image transformation. Using BioMuse, he tracks electrical activity (EMG) in the fore-arms of the performer. This analog voltage information is sent to the computer where it is transformed into digital data, which in turn situates the point of interface in the human-machine interaction at the human extreme. “The micro functions of the body are amplified to macro level media projection. The inner space of the body is articulated into the public space of performance transformation and re-coding of the biological information”.(Tanaka)

By translating electrical signals from the body into digital data, Atau Tanaka brings a visceral, corporeal element to interactive technologies. As a result, we, the audience, are actually able to see the physical representation of his gestural and musical manipulation of sound. Tanaka’s radical departure from screen-based multimedia presentation contributes to a certain satisfaction that we feel we might have lost with computers.

Nina Czegledy

Artist’s Biography

Atau Tanaka is a Japanese-American composer and performer currently based in Tokyo. He began his work in multimedia in 1984 at the Boston Film/Video Foundation. He studied electronic music with Ivan Tcherepnin at Harvard, and computer music at CCRMA at Stanford University. Atau moved to Paris in 1992 to conduct research at IRCAM. He also worked with Fred Frith and the studio STEIM in Amsterdam to create an interactive art gallery. He has performed remote concerts using ISDN technology between New York and Paris, and between the Sonar Festival in Barcelona and Amsterdam. He has lived in San Francisco where he began working with the BioMuse, a neural musical instrument controller.

He is a performer who has created interactive media works and installations. He is also part of the Sensorband group, who stage performances on sensor-based musical instruments. Tanaka has performed in Europe, North America, and Japan and was sponsored by Apple Computer France as an Artistic Ambassador for new technology.

For more about Atau Tanaka:

Project funding has been provided by:

Corporeal is presented by:
InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Centre