Japanese leading electronic musician/artist Ryoji Ikeda has unveiled his new installation supersymmetry at the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM), a co-production with Le lieu unique, scène nationale de Nantes in France.

Having produced and exhibited an audio-visual work titled C4I at YCAM shortly after the Center’s opening in 2004, Ikeda had his first major solo show, datamatics, at YCAM in 2008. From one exhibition to the next, his work evolved in terms of scale and degree of precision, solidifying his worldwide reputation.

This installation is the first in six years after Ikeda’s second residency at YCAM, a newly conceived work based on the artist’s own performance piece superposition, which premiered in 2012. In his ambitious new work, Ikeda attempts to interpret quantum mechanics and quantum information theory from an aesthetic point of view, and challenge the boundaries of his trademark artistic style based on data observation.

Visitors to supersymmetry will be overwhelmed by sophisticated sound and visuals unfolding on a large scale, and gain deep insight into the scheme of things and the world at large.

Vividly conveying Ikeda’s recent interest and commitment to quantum theory, the exhibition is made up of two works that reflect ideas inspired by Ikeda’s dialogues with researchers and engineers during his stay at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the world’s largest particle physics research institute in Geneva, Switzerland, since February. The exhibition pairs the two installations supersymmetry [experiment] and supersymmetry [experience], corresponding to the relationships between experimentation and observation in modern (particle) physics, and between representation and mathematical models.

As suggested by the appendix experiment in the former, in this work visitors can witness physical phenomena prior to being observed and recorded as data. Installed in the studio are three light boxes that emit intense white light. The surfaces of these light boxes are paved with microscopic spherical objects that behave in various ways according to the boxes’ slightly changing inclination.

In contrast, supersymmetry [experience] features two 20-by-0.7-meter horizontal video screens arranged parallel to each other on the left and right side, along with two parallel rows of 20 monitors each, set up in the darkness of the exhibition space.

While images are successively displayed on the video screens, their respective movements are analyzed and described on the monitors lined up in front of them. The work dismantles the visitor’s consciousness as he/she attempts to grasp at once all the things that happen simultaneously in the multiple moving and blinking images and their respective complex, high-speed analyses on both sides of the installation. Audio and visual contents of both experiment and experience will be frequently updated in the future, to continually reflect Ikeda’s new scientific and mathematical interests.


Ryoji Ikeda 

Born in 1966 in Gifu, Japan. Lives and works in Paris. Japan’s leading electronic composer and visual artist Ryoji Ikeda focuses on the essential characteristics of sound itself and that of visuals as light by means of both mathematical precision and mathematical aesthetics. Ikeda has gained a reputation as one of the few international artists working convincingly across both visual and sonic media. He elaborately orchestrates sound, visuals, materials, physical phenomena and mathematical notions into immersive live performances and installations.