john grzinich water voices

Water Voices – Tsukuba international artist residency

In late October 2017 I was fortunate to participate in a two week group residency at the Tsukuba Art Center in Tsukuba Japan. The ‘art center’ is split between a tradition house in the nearby village of Oda and a gallery and park on the slopes of Mt Tsukuba. The residency resulted in the open-air exhibition “Grandmother Moon” which included my installation “Water Voices” as well and the works of the other participating 14 artists.

Water Voices is a piece for 8 hollow bamboo tubes and flowing water. The tubes are placed in a mountain stream with one end of each tube situated in the flowing water while the other end allows you to place your ear and listen. Each tube is positioned to capture a certain aspect of the sound in the water which is unique at every point. My interest with this work was to make a ‘sound installation’ using locally sourced natural and/or recycled materials that would respond to the environment in some way. After several experiments I settled with the sound of the stream and channeling the micro-movement sound through the tubes for a semi-tonal effect. To listen, one has to place their ear on or near the end of the tube. The video below includes recordings from the different tubes.

As I was engaged in working with bamboo and had plenty of surplus around, I decided to cut a few longer tubes up into shorter sections of varying lengths. With 20 pairs of tubes I had enough to make a Resonance Ensemble, which I did, together with the other artists at the opening of the exhibition. Below is a recording of one of the improvised actions.

And a few more photos of the installation:

Special thanks to Takashi Ikezawa for the invitation and for hosting us, and to Eesti Kultuurkapital for travel support to Japan.

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