Miya Masaoka is a composer, musician and performance artist whose current body of work includes performing on a Japanese koto that has been altered and embellished with sensors, samplers, lasers, electronics and computer interfaces. Masaoka’s LED Kimono Project, commissioned by Circuit Network and presented at the 10th Anniversary of the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival and the New York Electronic Arts Festival in fall 2009, represents an extension of and an expansion upon the large body of work that Masaoka has developed in the last decade addressing interactivity with insects, plants, and the human brain. Her performances often incorporate some aspect of “thinking improvisation” in the software used to generate sound and compositional elements.
Masaoka is currently developing a new interdisciplinary project, Triangle of Resistance, in collaboration with media artist Michelle Handelman. The piece will explore the influence of media on the evolution of political and social thought and action through the lens of three historical events: the 1917 Russian revolution, Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo’s 1913 manifesto The Art of Noises, and US Executive Order 9066 authorizing the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Masaoka also has a new solo program available for touring, >>>>GEO>>>>GRAPH>>>>IES>>>>. The piece creates topographies drawn from sources of traditional Japanese koto and gagaku, sound from field recordings of historical and contemporary factories, vocal fragments, and spoken text interwoven with ancient Japanese song forms. Found film footage from the artist’s residencies Warsaw and St. Petersburg, Russia, including circus performers from the turn of the century, views of the sky from an airplane, maps, and internal workings of the human body form material for video projections. The flow between the natural world and the fabricated, manufactured world carries its own logic and also unexpected juxtapositions, in revealing the fascinating relationships of people, the Earth and the odd goings-on of the human condition.