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Nobuho Nagasawa

Nagasawa’s interdisciplinary art incorporates traditional media with technology; the artworks are often based on the natural elements of air, water, earth and fire which are transfigured. She uses sound, the sensory properties of space, light, interactive components and ready-made objects mutated to suit the hybrid needs of each project.

Nagasawa starts by exploring the sociological and psychological content of each site, like a forensic researcher, in order to identify the appropriate materials and media for the environment she aims to create. The concepts and materials are diverse; while the content initially informs the choice of materials, she also establishes a feed-back loop, in which the selected materials in their turn become influencers of the initial content, each enriching the other with unexpected signifiers. Through it, objective history is combined with the memories of space and time to create an intimate and unique relationship.




"Luminescence," 2017-ongoing is a site-specific, public installation on permanent view at Hunter's Point, Long Island City, New York and won the 2017 Excellence in Design award from the NYC Public Design Commission. It consists of seven, 6 ft diameter dome sculptures representing the seven phased of the moon. The mold was crafted using NASA topographic survey data collected by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) in order to render an accurate relief of the moon. The moon phases are represented through integrated phosphorus particles and reflective silicon carbide grains. During the day, the moons absorb sunlight, allowing them to glow soft blue at night. 


"Utsusemi (空蟬)," 2015 is a mixed media installation of sculpture, video and sound. The title of the work is derived from Japanese characters representing “emptiness” and “cicada,” meaning the shell of a cicada, and deals with an awareness of impermanence or Mono no Aware. The viewer enters the installation by walking on a rock salt path to approach 365 resin cicadas arranged in a logarithmic spiral. A video of the artist's throat is projected over the spiral while the sound of cicadas overlaps with the artist whispering "Come back to me," in both English and Japanese. 


"Voyage through the Void (Umi no Utsuwa)," 2013 is an installation first presented at the Setouchi Triennial on Shodoshima, Japan. The work is constructed of optical fiber woven in the style of traditional kimono weavers from Nishijin, Kyoto onto a stainless steel "tenma boat" frame with pulsating lights and sound. Nagasawa recorded the ebb and flow of the Inland Sea in Shodoshima and linked the pulsation of the lights with the waves. As a visitor lies in the boat, the color of the optical fiber will change based on their body movements, and the "heart beat" of the boat follows the pulsation of the Setouchi Island Sea.

"Umi no Utsuwa" has a double meaning: "Vessel (container) of the Sea," and "Vessel (womb) of birth/life." When translating to English, "vessel" becomes ship, so the English name was chosen as "Voyage through the Void," as the visitor voyages on the boat on a fleeting journey from the void to birth and traveling through life to the void at death.