The sound of saran

Terry Acebo Davis and Mamoru Okuno at the Commons of the Lucas Residences at Montalvo, Saratoga, Calif., May, 2012

At the after-party for Beth Custer’s show Friday at Montalvo, I spent some quality time with Mamoru, a Japanese artist-in-residence there. Mamoru — no last name needed; like Madonna or Beyonce — is a minimalist artist, who works with sound. He is from Japan but did spend five years in New York while studying jazz at CUNY. His English is excellent.

We missed his happy-hour show, as we opted to belly-up to the bar at a Saratoga Village hot spot and sample some wild boar prociutto from The Basin Restaurant — after being shut out of its sister restaurant Casa de Cobre.

Mamoru briefly described some of his work. For example, he has a piece or project that involves listening to the sound of saran wrap as it unfolds itself in a styrofoam cup. We talked about John Cage, but also Paul Bley, who was an influence of his when he was more directed to jazz. He has a blog, but was surprised that his family reads it, he reported. I passed on the news that someone was turning the Golden Gate Bridge into a wind harp.

I hope to delve deeper into Mamoru’s work. I wish him a happy and successful sojourn here in Santa Clara County.

Here is a segment from his blog:

やってきましたMontalvo。前回の記事でも書きましたが、カリフォルニアのサラトガというところにあるアートセンター内のレジデンス施設です。滞在先の目の前のハイキングコースを30分ほど上りきるとこんな風景がみられます。ブルージェイ(アオカケス)という青黒い鳥がとんでいたり、リスがいたり、野うさぎ!がいたり。。。施設の人達によればボブキャットやピューマもいるとか。。。と、なかなかの大自然っぷり。こっちで作らなくてはいけない音の1つは、この展望ポイントでヘッドフォンで聞く音源とうのがあり、ほぼ毎日往復1時間の山歩きをしています。また作品の内容は追々と。
I have arrived to Montalvo Arts Center a week ago. It’s in Saratoga, CA. It is a great place with hiking trail just infront of my studio. I can see blue Jays, some rabits, and according to the people here I might have a chance to see bobcats! or puma! Anyway in very short, it is full of nature here. I am making some sound that goes well with the view on top of this trail, so I am walking up to the lookout point almost everyday. It takes about an hour to get there and come back, so it is a great exercise, too.

Montalvo_studio

edit to add, July 13, 2012 about five weeks later: I am sorry that time flew so quickly and I did not meet Mamoru again. I hope he enjoyed his visit. I will close with another long borrow from his own blog. When I think about this post, I worry that the title is too obscure: I reference a brand name, plus a song. Also, the word I use is very close to a word that is apparently closely monitored by the government. Below he uses the more generic “food wrap”:

I had a great time at the “Final Friday”, 30-40 min presentation. There were variety of people from children to senior, and It was well received. I introduced a video work about etude no.12 food wrap, and passed the cups with wrap in them. Also, I put up the hanger rack with hangers that I found in the venue, and the electric fan from my studio to do etude no.11 installation. There were about 40 people, so I amplified the sound. It sounded great. People seemed to have enjoyed the presentation and it was encouraging for me to have various responses. Thanks for coming out!

In Japan, Saran Wrap is a trademark of Asahi Kasei. a company with 25,000 employees. Here it is Dow. Other places generic. Since 1933.

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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