Matt Rogers

Residency Program

Exchange Residency Program (International creators from abroad)

update: 2019.11.27

Matt Rogers

Participating ProjectExchange Residency Program (Creators from abroad)
Activity BasedUnited Kingdom
Period2010.1 - 2010.3
Purpose of the residency

For a long time now, I have been greatly influenced by Japanese art, both traditional and contemporary, but this is the first time I have had the opportunity to visit Japan.
The purpose of my stay at Tokyo Wonder Site is to allow me for the first time to directly engage with Japanese culture, in the belief that it will have a transformative effect on my own work, since my indirect experience of it has already been so inspirational and fruitful.

Plan during the residency

International Ensemble Modern Academy Vol. 3
Exchange Residency Program 2009, Invitation (London)

So much of the art I love was created in Japan, and through my experience of this art I get the sense of a particularly Japanese spirit of creativity, which although quite ineffable to me, permeates and speaks to me through all the diversity of it's works. For so much of the art I love, in so many diverse forms to come from one country, I can only believe that this esoteric spirit is an emergent property of Japanese culture itself.
As such, my real research will be an ongoing reflection on how living in Tokyo, and experiencing it's culture directly, affects my own art, both in terms of process and outcome.
To achieve this I intend to completely immerse myself in the act of living in Tokyo, both intellectually as an artist, but more importantly as a simple, creative human being. I want to discover life there for myself, and in discovering it, discover new parts of myself, find new emotional and psychological maps to follow.
In this respect I hope to make the simple acts of day to day existence as important as the deliberate act of creating music - getting a hair cut and shopping for groceries will be as significant as any intellectual interpretations of my new environment.
It is my belief that even though I do not yet fully understand the essential essence I seek, I sense it is there, and through my holistic act of engagement I can try to connect with the same complex and fundamental aspects of Japanese culture which have spawned it, and ultimately learn how and where my own creativity meets it, and what happens at that intersection.

Achievements of the Residency
The main focus of my residency was to make new sound works in Tokyo which had no previous planning in London, so that every aspect of each piece only came into existence during my stay and was not part of a longer standing body of work.
In this way I hoped to create work which would be directly responding to my new environment, and which in turn would give me a concrete focus for reflecting on any change in my creative process. As my aim was to make my new work as specific to my residency as possible, it was also very important for me to try and realize my ideas in collaboration with Japanese artists.

During my residency I created four new works in total, two in direct collaboration with Japanese artists and two purely electronic pieces inspired by my environment.
The first piece I created was a set of studies made by the electronic processing of audio recordings of a sales pitch delivered over a public address system on the street in Shibuya. I used a system of very rapid sample re-triggering to extend vowel sounds within the speech patterns to highlight and accentuate the natural pitch gestures of the language. These studies were presented to the public at my first Open Studio event in February 2010.

Next was my piece 'manual for the new primitive', made in collaboration with the Japanese saxophonist Masanori Oishi. It was a dialogue between live saxophone and a tape part made from recordings of Oishi-san performing on a bridge crossing the Aoyama-dori, with the sound of traffic being a key element in the piece. The final performance was an exploration of ideas of noise and information, internal and external displacement and was performed as part of the TWS Experimental Sound, Art and Performance Festival at TWS Hongo.

The next electronic work was a suite of four music tracks based on the Manga and Anime 'Oishinbo'. It was made in collaboration with the collective 'Abake', also artists in residence during my stay at TWS, and was designed as 'shop music' for their Oishinbo themed Curry Rice Shop created specially for March's Open Studio event.

My final work was the performance piece 'my heart' for Flute and Heartbeat, created in collaboration with the Swiss flutist Bettina Berger, and Japanese martial artist and performer Takahiro Tomatsu. The piece is an exploration of pulse, and the emotion of listening to a beating heart and it was performed on March 27th 2010 at the Tokyo Women's Plaza Hall, Aoyama.

As well as the specific musical output of my residency I also attended many great music performances, ranging from the traditional to the experimental and at all levels from the famous to the unknown, which in itself was a wonderfully rich experience for me. This engagement with the music scene of Tokyo in such a short time, and the ability to create my work in an unfamiliar environment would not have been possible without the incredible kindness, generosity and support of TWS staff, and I cannot thank them enough for it.

Outcome of the Exchange
The most vital thing of my residency has been the opportunity to engage my creative skills with a new environment and new people within a very supportive framework. Through this engagement and the work it has engendered I have learned so much about the more fundamental aspects of my creative expression.
During my time in Tokyo I have found a new perspective on my own work and creative process, a new energy and feeling about what I do. Through talking and collaborating with artists of great insight and imagination I have gained so much, and it has already had a transformative effect on both my working process and practice.
I will continue to know and work with many of the artists I met during my residency, both Japanese and otherwise, and as such continue to benefit from the fresh perspective I have been given.
More than anything I have had the opportunity to realise that Tokyo is an incredibly exciting creative environment for me, and I intend to pursue a continuing relationship with the city and the artists living and working there.
Tokyo Wonder Site provides a unique program which has been an invaluable experience to me, endlessly exciting and inspirational, and with such a profound effect as to be an ongoing influence on my work.

Creator Information