Atau Tanaka

The Renaissance Society

5811 South Ellis Avenue Cobb Hall, 4th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60637

Atau Tanaka presents Concrete Corps (1998-2003), a series of works for biosensor interface and electronic sound. The Paris-based composer and intermedia artist articulates sound through concentrated gesture.

In performance, Tanaka wears sensors on his forearms that capture EMG bioelectrical signals. The interface—the BioMuse developed at Stanford—translates these analog signals into MIDI and serial digital data. By tensing and relaxing his muscles, he controls his computer and filters, mixes and sculpts sound sources, here taken from animals, water, machinery and various telecommunications devices.

Tanaka writes, “The interplay is my search for the corporeal gesture idiomatic to sound, zooming in and squeezing out the essence of sound, mediated by the body.”

Atau Tanaka (b.1963, Tokyo, Japan), a composer and performer in the field of technology and music, studied electronic music with Ivan Tcherepnin at Harvard University, music composition at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, and computer music at Stanford University’s CCRMA. In 1992, he moved to Paris and conducted research at IRCAM. While in Europe he was also an artist in residence and artistic co-director at STEIM in Amsterdam; he completed an additional residency at V2 in Rotterdam; and he was selected as Artistic Ambassador for Apple France. In 1993, Tanaka, Zbigniew Karkowksi and Edwin van der Heide founded Sensorband, known for using sensor-based controllers to make computer music. He moved to Japan in 1997 for a project at NTT/ICC and came in contact with the noise music scene, playing with Merzbow, Otomo Yoshihide, KK Null and others. He is currently based in Paris and conducts research at Sony Computer Science Laboratories on future music systems. Tanaka has received awards from the Fraunhofer Society and the Daniel Langlois Foundation. He has released recordings on the labels Bip-hop, Caipirinha, Touch/Ash, Sonoris and Sirr-ecords.

Presented in partnership with the Renaissance Society