NONOTAK initially began in 2011, when illustrator, Noemi Schipfer, and architect musician, Takami Nakamoto, began artistically collaborating with each other. They started concentrating mainly on sound and light instillations/performance pieces in 2013 that combined Nakamoto’s exploration of time and space with Schipfer’s lively visuals.
One of NONOTAK’s works is an audio-visual performance created in 2014 known as SILHOUETTES that explores how space and light interact as well as how the impact they have on creative development. SILHOUETTES is a canvas covered in hundreds of needles and utilizes music software they created as well as a high-tech light system. As mentioned by Benoit Palop in one of his articles, this art piece:
During their live performance of this piece, both Nakamoto and Schipfer play electric guitars while manipulating the sound using a sound processor. As they perform in a dark room, the white lights behind the piece’s canvas begin moving as a static-y, electronic audio piece starts to play. The sound causes the lights to flicker in response to the music and is synched up to a DMX controller. The controller controls the lights, forming randomized patterns behind the canvas. SILHOUETTES creates breath-taking visuals as the processor controlled lights shine onto its canvas from different angles, causing the needles to cast shadows that morph and twist along with the lights’ movements.
The duo’s creation of this piece redefines the meaning of performance visuals, challenging the commonly used animated projections displayed during most concerts nowadays. Essentially, it “is shadow puppetry for the avant-garde—a music performance that eschews animated concert projections in favor of natural light” (Palop, Benoit, (2014), Dancing ‘Silhouettes’ Illuminate This Audio-Visual Performance). In addition to introducing a new method of concert visuals, this work of art illustrates the relationship between space and light as it transforms straight lines into curves, dots into lines, and manipulates the visual appearance of the canvas. Although the concept of space may not be completely void of all substances, SILHOUETTES transforms space itself into matter, allowing it to move about within the shadows and light of the piece’s canvas. With this specific work, NONOTAK is able to manipulate the definition of space through their use of lights and audio. In addition, the duo could be using this piece to inspire its audience to expect the unexpected by changing the angles of the lights behind the canvas to manipulate the shadows presented by the piece. The shadows of SILHOUETTES challenge the assumptions of its viewers as straight objects produce curved shadows, dots produce elongated shadows, and the square canvas appears to change shape throughout the performance.
Although this is more of a sound performance piece than an interactive piece, SILHOUETTES is an immersive experience that engages its audience. The viewers of this work will be captivated by its audio and beautiful visuals as lights alter the piece’s shape. SILHOUETTES deceives its spectators’ visual perceptions of this work as the dialogue between its light, audio, space, and shadows are manipulated into a variety of gorgeous projections that challenge what the viewers think visuals are capable of. The fact that this piece takes place in a dark room also contributes to the piece’s immersive nature because it causes its audience to focus more on the installation/performance. In addition, this work of art might begin to prompt its viewers to look at the concept of space from a different, deeper perspective. While most people view space as complete emptiness, SILHOUETTES challenges that opinion by transforming space into manipulative matter right before its viewers very eyes. This causes the piece’s audience to rethink what light and space are capable of, further opening their minds to new ideas in the world. Essentially, SILHOUETTES encourages people to be more openminded to new ideas and reimagine the concept of space through its manipulation of shadows and light.
Peter Vogal’s sound art piece, Sound Wall, is a wall-mounted, interactive sculpture that integrates circuits, photo cells, and dozens of sensors. As viewers/performers interact with this piece, its sensors detect movement and trigger/modify sounds, creating unique audio compositions as a result. The Sound Wall explores the concepts of space, necessity, and chance, through its need for viewer interaction, how movement influences it, and its resulting, non-repetitive compositions. Like SILHOUETTES, this piece is wall-mounted, can be used in performance pieces, and explores the concept of space by encouraging their viewers to think about it from a different perspective. However, despite the fact that these two artworks have some similarities, Sound Wall responds to its viewers’ movements and produces different sounds, while SILHOUETTES responds to sound and produces lights from different angles to create shadows. Although their works aren’t identical, both NONOTAK and Peter Vogal uniquely explored viewing the idea of space in a different light using their sculpture-esque, sound art pieces.
Volume, a sound art piece by NONOTAK, is a warehouse installation that uses light, shadows, audio, and strategically placed scaffoldings to immerse its viewers in a uniquely creepy, audio-visual experience. Viewers walk through the warehouse as music plays and changing lights manipulate shadows, altering the appearance of the scaffoldings. In this piece, NONOTAK is attempting to get the audience to question their personal concept of both balance and space by manipulating the large space with simple lights. They also wanted to create a piece that provided an immersive experience that an audience could all communally undergo together. Essentially, this piece is a large scale version of SILHOUETTES so there are many similarities between the two artworks, including their use of shadows, light, and their aim to get their audience to lose their concept of space. It felt like NONOTAK was trying to “create the sensation of walking into one of their smaller gallery-set installations” for viewers. But Volume is larger and more immersive than SILHOUETTES due to the fact that it is an installation piece rather than a gallery piece.
NONOTAK’s sound art piece, SILHOUETTES, is a unique work that utilizes light, sound, and shadows to create beautiful visuals. The artistic duo uses it’s breath-taking visuals to encourage the audience to explore the notion of space from a deeper perspective and to generally be more openminded. Through the utilization of its gorgeous projections and audio, SILHOUETTES is able to fully engage its audience in a distinctive experience that briefly allows them to see the wold from an alternative point of view.
Images and Video of “SILHOUETTES”:
- “NONOTAK-SILHOUETTES by MU/STRP for GLOW NEXT” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6Rn2v3PiWc (Video)
- “NONOTAK - SILHOUETTES” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wTigHu1AUw
- “WE ARE NONOTAK” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXlHC6Znn1g (Video)
- "Sound Wall performed by Perter Vogel 2009" https://vimeo.com/19780802 (Video)
- "NONOTAK - VOLUME @ DAYFORNIGHT (HOUSTON - TEXAS" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkKwygU3xuI
- “NONOTAK: DAYDREAM V.4, SILHOUETTES, & LATE SPECULATION” http://www.mu.nl/en/exhibitions/nonotak (Image)
- “NONOTAK STUDIO” https://everythingistemporary2016.wordpress.com/2016/09/24/nonotak-studio/
- Stills of “SILHOUETTES” http://www.nonotak.com/_SILHOUETTES-4x2 (Image)
Shows/Exhibitions/Galleries That Have Featured “SILHOUETTES”:
- MU/STRP (2014; Eindhoven, Netherlands)
- NONOTAK. "ABOUT." NONOTAK Studio. N.p., 2014. Web. 14 May 2017. http://www.nonotak.com/.
- Holmes, Kevin. "Light, Scaffolding, and Shadows Reach for the Infinite." Creators. VICE, 5 Jan. 2016. Web. 05 June 2017. https://creators.vice.com/en_us/article/nonotak-day-for-night-festival.
- Palop, Benoit. "Dancing 'Silhouettes' Illuminate This Audio-Visual Performance." Creators. VICE Media LLC, 19 Aug. 2014. Web. 14 May 2017. https://creators.vice.com/en_us/article/dancing-silhouettes-illuminate-this-audio-visual-performance.
- "_SILHOUETTES 4x2." NONOTAK Studio. N.p., 2014, Web. 14 May 2017. http://www.nonotak.com/.
- NONOTAKSTUDIO. "NONOTAK - Silhouettes." YouTube. YouTube, 20 Aug. 2014. Web. 14 May 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wTigHu1AUw.
- NONOTAK. "Silhouettes by NONOTAK." Sedition. Sedition Ltd, 2014. Web. 14 May 2017. https://www.seditionart.com/nonotak/silhouettes.
- "NONOTAK DAYDREAM V.4, SILHOUETTES & LATE SPECULATION." DAMN°. DAMN Magazine, 2014. Web. 14 May 2017. http://www.damnmagazine.net/calendar/nonotak-daydream-v-4-silhouettes-late-speculation/.
- "NONOTAK." MU. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2017. http://www.mu.nl/en/exhibitions/nonotak.
- "Sound Wall." Peter Vogel: The Sound of Shadows. Weebly, n.d. Web. 05 June 2017. http://vogelexhibition.weebly.com/soundwall.html.