Sound Stream & Installation Recordings
Japan Indigo Field (Kamikatsu, Tokushima, Japan)
US Indigo Field (Hilltop Garden & Nature Center, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN)
Krannert Art Museum Installation (University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, IL)
Bandai Warehouse Installation (Tokushima City, Tokushima, Japan)
The sound streams represent the four locations that are instrumental to this project. Japan’s Tokushima Prefecture was—and still is—the overwhelming source of indigo dye for the entire country. One audio stream sends a continuous recording of an indigo field in the mountains of Kamikatsu. The second comes from I am Ai, We are Ai,an installation at the Bandai Warehouse. The remaining streams are based in the USA: Fields of Indigo, an installation at the University of Illinois’ Krannert Art Museum, and an indigo field in Bloomington, IN where most of the plants used for the installation were sourced.
The two live streams were placed in indigo fields to convey the presence of flora and fauna and other conditions that impact the crop. The sound of the installations is constructed in layers, and reflects on the themes of tradition, interconnectivity, and processes of diminution and accretion both in sound and natural indigo dye.
The live indigo field streams create a sort of "foundation layer" in the sound of the gallery. Those that visit the installation in Japan will hear the sound of the Indiana indigo field. Similarly, those that visit the gallery in Illinois will hear sounds from the field in Kamikatsu. Additional layers are comprised of a digitally processed version of the live stream, as well as sounds related to indigo processing and dyeing: composting, winnowing the dried leaves, stirring the dye vat, dripping, and rinsing the dyed cloth with water. There are also voice recordings of indigo dyers and others connected to the Tokushima indigo tradition through practices in agriculture, industry, and/or art.
The sound that emerges in both installations is immaterial, or "not-present-in-a-physical state," much like the dyeing processes that leave their mark on a finished textile. As a whole, the accumulated sound reflects on indigo, its connection to place, and its cultural roots that will inevitably change and be influenced by each and any of us. Individual audio elements construct a strong metaphor for the force of cultural influence and interaction on many traditions as one culture shapes and influences the other. Because it is ultimately produced through self-generating techniques, the sounds of the installations are constantly heard in unique permutations. New sonic combinations and sequences, triggered by the presence of visitors in the installations, regularly redefine the sound, weakening the idea of what it is while giving strength to an overall sense of potential and possibility. Those that enter the installation space and engage with the work will make visual and aural contact with this tradition and its becoming.