The world’s first audio recording of a Japanese woman was made in Berlin in 1901. It was the voice of the former geisha and actress Kawakami Sadayakko, who travelled to Europe and the United States three times, starting in 1899, as a member of Theater Kawakami Otojiro. Sadayakko, who was abruptly placed in the role of actress at a time when women were prohibited from taking the stage in Japan, attracted a large member of spectators – including artists and composers such as Picasso, Rodin and Debussy – who were entranced with her beauty, and shaped the image of Japanese femininity in the West.
While investigating at the Berlin Phonograms-Archive I discovered both the original voice of Sadayakko and two recordings of voices erroneously listed as those of men. Based on these materials, I sought to convey the contrast between the constant remarks made on her physical and visual beauty with her voice, which people recognized at the time as ‘merely a sound’, and silence.


Exhibited Works
Hover Over Man and Woman (2020) Cassette tape player, speaker, mixer, amplifier

Hover Over Man and Woman Performance (2020) Video documentation, performance by sergey kasich and Tomoko Hojo at the Kunstquartier Bethanien on the 13th March 2020, 10 mins

In Between (2020) Cassette tape case, bone conduction speaker, audio player, 1min

Word Played No Part (2020) photographs, tracing paper, pins, specimen boxes, stereo speakers, audio interface, audio player, 7 mins
[photo courtesy : Département des Arts du spectacle, the Bibliothèque nationale de France]

Group Exhibition Daisy Chain  / 2020
04. 07. – 10. 08 2020 at Tokyo Arts and Space [Tokyo, Japan]

男と女に浮かぶ パフォーマンス(2020) カセットテーププレイヤー、スピーカー、ミキサー 、アンプ、オブジェクト
出演: Sergey Kasich、北條知子、10分

男と女に浮かぶ インスタレーション  (2020) カセットテーププレイヤー、スピーカー、ミキサー 、アンプ

間(2020) カセットテープケース、骨伝導スピーカー、プレイヤー、1分
[音源提供: ベルリン国立民族学博物館付属フォノグラム・アーカイブ蔵]

何の意味もない言葉(2020) 写真、トレーシングペーパー、虫ピン、標本箱、ステレオスピーカー
[写真提供: フランス国立図書館舞台芸術部門蔵]

グループ展 デイジーチェーン / 2020
2020年 7月4日-8月10日

Tokyo Arts and Space [東京、日本]

写真: 高橋健治  画像提供: Tokyo Arts and Space
Photo: Takahashi Kenji  |  Photo c
ourtesy: Tokyo Arts and Space