For more than two decades, I have been using the cassette Walkman for making field recordings which I keep as a sound diary. I consider these recordings to be personal memories, and not just sounds. I stage a performance by physically manipulating Walkmans by hand, re-collecting and re-constructing concrete sounds. What emerges from my sound memories is a sonic collage of ritualistic tape music. I call this project “Cassette Memories.” By documenting fragments of sound from my personal life, something is revealed in the accumulation. The meanings of the original events are stripped of their significance, exposing the essence of memory. I realize “Cassette Memories” as a site-specific performance. I have found from past experience that my music is the strongest when I perform in a space which has its own memories–at a historic building, abandoned factory, old theater, even a street corner. It’s a strange ritual. I am trying to both extract and abstract the essence of memory by playing my own field recordings, so to speak my personal memories, at a location that is saturated with its own memories. The result is invisible but one can feel live memories awaking sleeping memories.
Aki Onda (b. 1967 in Nara, Japan) — a self—taught electronic musician, composer, producer, photographer, and multi—media artist.
He is particularly known for his Cassette Memories project — works compiled from a “sound diary” of field-recordings collected by Onda over a span of two decades. Onda’s musical instrument of choice is the cassette Walkman. Not only does he capture field recordings with the Walkman, he also physically manipulates multiple Walkmans with electronics in his performances.
Cassette Memories Site—specific performance. For more than two decades, Aki Onda has been using the cassette Walkman to make field recordings kept by him as a sound diary. He considers them to be personal memories, and not just sounds. During the performance by physically manipulating multiple Walkmans with electronics, the artist recollects and reconstructs concrete sounds. What emerges from these sound memories is a sonic collage of ritualistic tape music.
By documenting fragments of sound from one’s personal life, something is revealed in the accumulation. The meanings of the original events are stripped of their significance, exposing the essence of memory.
The result is perhaps invisible, but one can feel live memories awaking sleeping memories.
Onda has performed at The Kitchen, P.S.1 MOMA (New York), Time-Based Art Festival (Portland), Images Festival (Toronto), Cut & Splice, BBC3, ICA (London), Louvre Museum, Palais de Tokyo, Fondation Cartier (Paris), Argos, Bozar, Weils (Brussels), International Film Festival Rotterdam (Rotterdam), Impakt Festival (Utrecht), La Casa Encendida, Caixa Forum (Madrid), Serralves Foundation (Porto), Netmage (Bologna), Nam June Paik Art Center (Seoul) and many others.
He has collaborated with artists such as Michael Snow, Ken Jacobs, Paul Clipson, Alan Licht, Loren Connors, MV Carbon, Akio Suzuki, Noël Akchoté, Jean-François Pauvros, Jac Berrocal, Lionel Marchetti, Linda Sharrock, and Blixa Bargeld.
He has written numerous articles and reviews written for Japanese magazines, such as Improvised Music from Japan and Studio Voice.
He is also active as an independent curator.
He currently resides in New York.