Ryoichi Kurokawa MUTEK, Montreal QC, August 22
Published Aug 23, 2019Unfolding with elliptical dream logic, the world premiere of Berlin-based Japanese artist Ryoichi Kurokawa's A/V experience subassemblies provoked reflection like a nightmare.
Based on 3D data of building ruins and the encroaching nature that surrounds them, the piece opened on a crackling passage that coasted through a quiet forest, everything serene before things started to go off when Kurokawa dropped a series of muted bombs on it all, prompting a variety of acrobatic "camera" movements, dive-bombing to the forest floor and running winding passages through the trees like an uninvited guest descending on some uninhabited host. Contrazooms turned canopies into widening pupils, while Kurokawa matched the action with decrescendos that sunk into your stomach.
Eventually the infection took hold, and consumed the landscape so completely all we were left with onscreen was a CAD-like grid. That plane became host to a series of brutalist concrete bunkers that erected themselves like Sims structures shot into being by the machine gun discharge of Kurokawa's snares.
But the forest still lurked below the surface. Next thing we knew we were drifting across hallways in haunted building ruins spoiled by mould and rot like the Blair Witch moved in. Skittering rhythms sound tracked nature's regaining hold on the place as spores found new places to take root, and soon a series of black holes opened up and widened in the floor, draining the spoiled architecture into another dimension, our grid returning like a portal between the spirit world and the physical.
A dramatic eco parable packed with twists and turns that don't weaken its visceral punch, it's about as much fun as you could have seated in a darkened theatre.