Unearthed Tremor | 掘りだされた震え / 2021



Hojo Tomoko’s work during her residency was based on research on the ‘Jomon Koto’ (Jomon harp), a spatula-shaped wooden object excavated at the Korekawa Nakai site in Hachinohe city, Aomori prefecture. The object is believed to be the oldest surviving string instrument in the world, but the way it was played on r strung, or the location or situation in which it was played, remain unknown. What the artist attempted was to recreate the Jomon Koto, and to play it in a place with a similar geological condition to the stratum where the koto that reminded in the ground for about 3,000 years, so to allow its notes to be amplified within the natural resonances of the place, thus unearthing the sounds that have been buried in history.
This exhibition is composed of a 8.1 channel sound installation and a video work that make use of the unique reverberations and  form of Gallery A. In addition to the sounds of the Jomon Koto, the installation includes sounds in natural environments such as near bodies of water or on the snow, as well as recordings made by using reverberating object such as earthenware that were typically used in the Jomon period to which the Jomon Koto dates back. The sounds of birds, songs, and walking, sounds reminiscent of the rumblings of the earth or of the wind— these can be not only heard but also felt as tremors, when one sits on and touches the base of the koto. The perception of the installation, as well as the imaginations that it inspires, change according to the position where the sounds are heard and by the way those sounds can be touched, Moreover, the way the strings running throughout the space continue outside of the windows suggest a connection between the unearthed sounds (tremors) and the contemporary times.
There is no way to know how people felt about and moved their bodies to sounds before the concept of music was born. It is also uncertain whether music will be performed and listened to in the same way in the future as it is now. These facts necessarily bring to light the limited nature of what we call music. In this exhibition, Hojo creates a place where visitors can contemplate the sounds that once resounded in Aomori, while also opening the possibilities of the acts of playing an instrument and listeining in the present and in the future.

[From the text distributed at the exhibition. Partly changed from the original translation.]


Exhibited Works
Unearthed Tremor
Sound installation, 20 min., 2021

Jomon Koto Video Tutorial 14th November 2021 version
Video projection, 10 min., 2021


《Unearthed Tremor|掘りだされた震え》

《縄文琴 指導ビデオ 2021年11月14日版ACACバージョン》


Exhibition Unearthed Tremor /2021
20 Nobember – 5 December at Contemporary Art Center Aomori [Aomori, Japan]

Photo by OYAMADA Kuniya
photo courtesy: Aomori Contemporary Art Centre, Aomori Public University

展覧会 Unearthed Tremor|掘りだされた震え
国際芸術センター青森 [青森日本]