Networks of meaning in the audio-visual work of Ryoichi Kurokowa

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Japanese digital artist Ryoichi Kurokawa questions relationships between reception and compositional design in new ways in his piece Rheo:5 horizons (2010). This paper explores methods by which the traditionally self-supporting domains of audio and image are rearranged by Kurokawa into a unique art-form where distinctions between media are of secondary importance to hierarchy-free structures of process and material. It is proposed that Kurokawa goes beyond accepted notions of synaesthesia, through the generation of an abstracted semiotic structure which unifies both extramusical meaning and the physical sounding materials themselves. It is argued that the result of this structure is a piece where the visual is audible and the audio is visual. Critically, this is not done through simplistic domain mapping. Instead, a web of signification is setup to assist viewers and listeners in perceiving precise connections between natural and synthetic forms, and real and non-real sound worlds. Juxtapositions of material and signifier emerge, but it is proposed that these do not operate according to postmodern principles of intertextuality. This paper shows that through the careful compositional preparation of semiotic relationships, Kurokawa’s piece inhabits Bourriaud’s definitions of the Altermodern[1], rather than postmodern cross-media aesthetics.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2012
EventRaymond Monelle International Conference on Music Semiotics - University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 26 Oct 201228 Oct 2012


ConferenceRaymond Monelle International Conference on Music Semiotics
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Semiotics

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