National Gallery of Australia 2019

Benjamin Skepper Media Performance
Collaboration with Nakaya Fujiko (JPN)
National Gallery Australia, Canberra
Saturday 9 March 2019



On Saturday 9 March, the NGA celebrates the work of Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya and her much-loved fog sculpture Foggy wake in a desert: An ecosphere.

Internationally acclaimed Australian-Japanese new media artist and musician Benjamin Skepper, will present a new compositional work for electric cello, electronics and video in response to Foggy wake in a desert: An ecosphere. His electro-acoustic live performance will build upon ideas developed for “Pumping Blood”, originally commissioned by Science Gallery Melbourne (2017). Operating at the vanguard of Art + Science, following in the footsteps of Fujiko Nakaya, his present body of work forms part of ongoing research into the human body as a musical instrument, the relationship between music, DNA and genetics (an ongoing Research Fellowship at the Moscow State Conservatory and Russian Academy of Science), and examining sound as a carrier for human healing. Skepper will record Nakaya’s heart beat, the rhythmic pulse forming part of the textural symphonic soundscape.

His composition will also draw from a vast library of field recordings, captured during world travels over the last 15 years. These original sound samples, many deriving from sacred religious sites and shamanic ceremonies, span environments including Australia, Japan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Russia, Italy, France, Austria, Germany, Georgia and Russia. A classically trained composer and human rights advocate, Skepper re-contextualises these recordings, inviting listeners on an abstract and meditative journey around the globe, collapsing the borders that divide us.

Shot especially for the commission, 4K resolution black and white footage of Nakaya’s installation in situ will be projected during Skepper’s live performance, layered with 16mm films of experimental avant-garde artist and film maker Jordan Belson, creating a cosmic interplay between the natural and spiritual worlds, and analog and digital visual media.

Sponsored by The Australia Japan Foundation Produced by Contour 556 and Localjinni
Supported by The Australia Japan Foundation, Yamaha Music Australia, Abode Hotels and Apartments, and contrapuntal
Special thanks to The National Film and Screen Archive (Australia)

Media Release National Gallery of Australia Nakaya Skepper Collaboration 2019 (PDF Download)

This project is part of Enlighten Festival 2019