Berlin-based audio and visual artist Ryoichi Kurokawa is a visionary. He possesses an instinctive understanding of the relationship between audio and visual and how these two mediums can combine to achieve a fully immersive and tactile experience. With unfold, exhibiting at FACT Liverpool from March 11 to June 12, he achieves this.
Combining art and science isn’t a new concept but one carried off with this level of skill is rare. Artist and astrophysicist have worked together in perfect harmony. Taking established scientific models, Kurokawa has interpreted the formation of a star through sound and vision. While astrophysicist Vincent Minier has provided the raw data, it is clearly Kurokawa‘s vision that is presented; he re-interprets existing 2D stellar modelling, infusing these images with depth, texture and hyper-reality. Kurokawa transforms these images into 3D models of such dazzling beauty that the viewer can almost step inside and wrap the stellar cloud around them. Sparkling bursts of interstellar dust are so colourful, so vivid that the reality is intensely fresh and interesting.
I have always been a fan of the whole planetarium experience – being transported into the deepest reaches of the galaxy, being absorbed into the cosmos, gliding through nebulae and experiencing planetary flypasts – unfold takes this to the next level. Sound and image combine to amazing effect, as we are confronted with a curving wall of glitching, flickering, exploding images accompanied by crackling static, booming bass and deep space field recordings. Digital is rendered organic as the cosmic nursery is brought to life and it is in this darkened, artificial vacuum that we stand, sit or lie and allow the experience to wash over us.
There is poetry and music in the sounds of the universe and Kurokawa has captured this beautifully. What is normally abstract is rendered tangible and we are able to be absorbed into the experience.
There are other installations by Ryoichi Kurokawa running concurrently: constrained surface is showing in Gallery 2 and exploring the raw data used for unfold is The Wall: unfold.mod. There are a host of activities running during the installation to complement this outstanding exhibition.