Hiroaki Umeda: Haptic Installation


The dance version Haptic (2008) was created on the basis of Umeda’s thoughts considering ‘colors as a form of haptic stimuli.’ By filling the stage with extreme shades, the artist challenges the audience’s body – the receptive apparatus of light – to the critical point. Deriving from the same concept, Umeda investigates further in this installation, the possibility of physically perceiving colors. When one shuts their eyes, the world usually turns pitch-black. However in this piece, when the audience is guided to a little dark room to watch a video installation with their eyes closed for two-and-a-half minutes, he or she will be clearly seeing monochrome or color lines behind their eyelids. Synchronizing with the violent electronic sounds heard from the headsets, the grid lines are physically perceived as a form of photic stimuli. After going through the seemingly paradoxical experience of seeing with eyes closed, the audience starts questioning why he or she has observed light in the darkness. They become dazed by the disparity between ‘cognition’ and ‘experience.’ Umeda, in fact, considers this work as a dance piece, since it provides the audience a physical ex- perience of chromatic vision.

Hiroaki Umeda is a choreographer and a multidisciplinary artist now recognized as one of the leading figures of the Japanese avant-garde art scene. Since the launch of his company S20, his subtle yet violent dance pieces have toured around the world to audience and critical acclaim. His work is acknowledged for the highly holistic artistic methodology with strong digital background, which considers not only physical elements as dance, but also optical, sonal, sensorial and, above all, spatiotemporal components as part of the choreography. Based on his profound interest in choreographing time and space, Umeda has spread his talent not only as a choreographer and dancer, but also as a composer, lighting designer, scenographer and visual artist. Extending from his interest in providing an unknown sensorial experience to the audience, from 2010, Umeda has been working on series of installations, which mainly focus on optical illusion and physical immersion.  

Direction: Hiroaki Umeda
Sound & Image Design: S20
Year: 2010