CLEVELAND, OH.- The world debut of Quadrascope, a 21-minute video art piece created by Cleveland Institute of Art professor Kasumi was one of the major highlights in this year's FusionFest. Quadrascope premiered in concert with Groundworks Dance Company and The Cleveland Orchestra on the Baxter Stage at The Cleveland Play House.
Both visually stimulating and psychologically spellbinding, Kasumi's work is full of highly charged commentary on world politics and social issues. Innovative, avant-garde work is coming out of Cleveland, and Kasumi's imagery and motion proves
it as she projects Quadrascope on the stage floor as the elevated audience looks down.
"There are very few visual artists who work with musicians and orchestras," says Kasumi, who studied at a conservatory in Germany. After examining the Catch and Release score and the Groundworks dancers' movements, Kasumi composed the video art that is integrated and structured to the music. "David [Shimotakahara, artistic director of Groundworks] suggested I incorporate a film leader into the work. That element grew into themes inherent in film leader: counting, time-code, circular movement, abrupt change, and numbers - digits, logically becoming hands and so on." These are the first few measures of Esa-Pekka Salonens Catch and Release. "There are moments in Quadrascope where rows of hands transform into turning film reels on a projector, and times when fingertips are used as an abstract organic texture that envelops the dancers."
A particular challenge in presenting this work, according to Kasumi, is the problem of keeping the elements of this collaboration in perfect time with each other. Rather than using a click track, Tito Munoz, Cleveland Orchestra conductor of the piece, suggested that Kasumi build visual cues into the work that correspond with events and phrases found in the score. She used additional hand-imagery to express phrasing and timing. This mimics "cheironomy," the use of hand gestures to indicate melodic shape and phrasing - an early form of conducting and communicating artistic directions during a performance. Munoz will have a reference monitor displaying the work at his podium, ensuring that the video art, dance and music comprising the performance are tightly synchronized, and the audience is able to derive the fullest emotional impact through the work as a unified, artistic blend.
Kasumi is internationally celebrated as one the leading innovators of a new art form synthesizing film, sound and video in live performance. She has won global acclaim for her expressive and compelling compositions in venues worldwide: from Lincoln Center with The New York Philharmonic to collaborations with Grandmaster Flash and DJ Spooky. She performed and exhibited work at Württembergischen Kunstverein Stuttgart and at the Chroma Festival de Arte Audiovisual in Guadalajara, Mexico. In 2009, Kasumi's piece Breakdown premiered at Carnegie Hall in concert with the American Composers Orchestra. She was recently awarded an EMPAC Dance Movies Commission 20092010, supported by The Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts, Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Finally, she was one of the producers in a feature film coming out next year.
Stay tuned for other upcoming performances by Kasumi, including a cross-institutional project called "koriARTika," created in coordination with a Kasumi's Freestyle Animation Class at CIA, Gary Galbraith's Choreography class at CWRU's Mather Dance Center, and students of CIM Composition Department Head Keith Fitch and Steve Kohn's Electronic Music Composition class. "koriARTika" will be performed at the Mather Dance Center on April 27 at 6pm and is open to the public.