Thursday, March 26, 2009

Nobuo Kubota Accepts Governor General's Award

Please note: the following video is NOT Nobuo Kubota's GG acceptance speech (but wouldn't that have been fun!).

The above is a clip from Kubota's sound poetry performance at Proposta 2001 in Barcelona.

Kubota was born in 1932 in Vancouver, and came to Toronto as a young man to study architecture at U of T. He practiced architecture for 10 years before turning his attention to sculpture in the early 70s. Most of his sculptural works have been installations which focus implicitly or explicitly on sound and language.

Kubota played saxophone as a member of the Artists Jazz Band, but ultimately had to abandon the instrument when he developed a painful auditory sensitivity. He later joined the CCMC (Canadian Creative Music Collective, formed in 1975 by Michael Snow and featuring a revolving group of artist/musicians over the years). As a performer, Kubota uses a range of extended vocal techniques which explore the boundaries of the human voice. Influenced by Kabuki and Noh theatrical traditions, his facial expressions are deliberate, exaggerated, and made all the more humourous by the maintenence of a neutral, deadpan deportment in the interstitial silences of his performance.

Kubota describes himself as an practitioner of Intermedia: the movement of an idea from one form (e.g., sound) and continuing into another form (e.g., sculpture).
Here is a clip of work created in collaboration with fellow Intermedia artist and poet Mark Sutherland. The oval voiceprint of Kubota's vocals is a real-time spectrogram: no manipulation or animation is involved. (see the post re: June Callwood Park for a fascinating use of the voiceprint in landscape architecture).

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