The artist Kasumi challenges her audience to feel and experience art in a unique way. She utilizes myriad technologies to create artworks that are visceral and experimental in nature. Most recently, she has used her abilities to create Shockwaves, a visually dazzling 82-minute film that has been called “The Rite of Spring of our age.” Here, Kasumi takes time out from creating to walk JustLuxe through her artistic process and discuss her projects of past, present and future.
This is never an easy one, but how would you define your artwork?
I’m interested in making new and innovative media art that evokes strong emotions and feelings, content that isn’t based on formula or the latest trend. Rather it’s work that connects with you in a personal way and at the same time represents universal truths. My work challenges and questions, and it is informed by the past but would not be possible without cutting edge technology. It is the art of human memory created in the most contemporary of art forms.
You’ve worked in myriad art forms, how do you feel your work has changed throughout the years?
Each art form I’ve explored: music, writing, painting, printmaking, dance, and now media art, presents a unique set of tools, containers for different forms of expression. Each is able to express different aspects of the human psyche, simultaneously influencing and informing the other. My current work combines and fuses those tools, smashing artificial walls of style and form in order to explore new and more effective ways to communicate ideas and to expand our perceptions.
Your art is very visceral in nature, how do you approach a new work?
The first consideration is the topic or theme, and then the most appropriate form it should take to best convey that concept. The form it takes also depends on whether it’s a commission from a private collector or a public installation, whether it will be a piece with a narrative flow that is screened in a theater, a perpetually looping installation or a single printed image. Or whether I improvise and explore an idea based on an impulse.
What drew you to film?
Film (and its related video forms) - along with the powerful and expressive capability of sound - can capture a more complete range of human emotions and engagement by virtue of being “alive” allowing for flows and disconnects in human interaction. And because of the richness in visual and aural associations, it creates an analogue not just of our narrow‐focused, narrative-seeking consciousness, but also of the vast cloud of memories, thoughts, and feelings that follow along with us every moment of our lives.
How would you describe your newest project, Shockwaves?
Shockwaves is an 82-minute film about a man whose traumatic memories of childhood send him on a hallucinogenic carnival ride of self-destruction and murder. It’s a work that explores our individual essences as creations of our own brains. Shockwaves shows how one small action, particularly a violent one, creates repercussions for future generations and moves through geographical, chronological and psychological space. It explores the fundamental conventions embedded in imagery and contemporary insights into the formation of memory -- the ways our expectations shape our memories, and the ways our memories shape our expectations.
How long did you work on the film?
I started the work after receiving funding from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation in 2011 and just finished it earlier this year...so almost four years.
How do you approach the narrative in your films?
Rather than showing what actually happens to you in life, I portray what is remembered and how it is remembered. I depict narrative through stream of consciousness, creating works of art that illustrate the processes of thought – rational, emotional, conscious, preconscious and unconscious…moving and static. Thus, my work reinvents visual narrative as a multi-dimensional tapestry of thoughts, associations and potentials moving through time and space, exploring the alchemy that transmutes memory, expectation and experience into the stories that make some sort of personal sense of the world.
Which artists have most influenced you?
James Joyce - especially Finnegan’s Wake, Thomas Pynchon, Jorge Luis Borges, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Motherwell, Andy Warhol, the Impressionists, Cubists and Dadaists, Ukiyo-e printmakers,Ono no Michikaze,Josquin des Prez,John Dowland,Johnannes Brahms, Fat Boy Slim, Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, Oliver Stone, Sergei Eisenstein, Nam Jun Paik, the list is basically endless.
Tell me a bit about your collaboration with Vimeo?
It’s something neither I, nor Vimeo, nor anyone else for that matter, have ever done: a worldwide media art installation. If I may quote Greg Clayman, General Manager, Audience Networks, Vimeo:“As a platform that fervently supports artistic and cultural innovation through video, we are honored to be presenting Kasumi’s first feature film to audiences worldwide in this unprecedented art opening. Shockwaves is a powerfully articulated piece that breaks all boundaries in media art.”
Vimeo is offering the Shockwaves Collectors’ Limited Edition of 150 for $10,000.
Alternatively, the streaming video of Shockwaves is available to rent for $9.99 for 48 hours through Vimeo On Demand.
Where else can people see Shockwaves?
The theatrical tour is now showing in independent theaters in the US and abroad. I am currently in communication with a number of museums considering installing the alternate, perpetually looping version of Shockwaves, a limited edition of 10. Curators may contact email@example.com for more information about acquisition or installation.
Are you currently working on any new projects?
At the moment, I’m working on a new media art commission for my collector in Vienna, who describes my work as “bold, innovative, hypnotic, cathartic, maddening, clarifying, calming, confusing, baffling, laughingly and seriously human, ironic, iconic, eternal, ephemeral, epic and so Hollywood!”
For more information about Shockwaves, please visit www.shockwavesthemovie.com
For more information about Kasumi: kasumifilms.com
To view or purchase shockwaves: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/shockwaves