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[Herald Design Forum 2023] A.A.Murakami explore limits of human perception, natural world through installation art

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Sept. 5, 2023 - 15:15

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A.A.Murakami, also known as Azusa Murakami (left) and Alexander Groves (A.A.Murakami / Studio Swine) A.A.Murakami, also known as Azusa Murakami (left) and Alexander Groves (A.A.Murakami / Studio Swine)

A.A.Murakami, a Tokyo and London based Artist duo consisting of Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves, have quickly made a name for themselves in art circles through their unique sensory installations.

Currently on display at Hyundai Motor Studio in Busan through Oct. 10, A.A.Murakami's works were inspired by the limits of human perception and the world that surrounds us, according to the artist duo.

“With our recent installation in Busan, we used plasma to make an immersive experience. Plasma is the fourth state of matter and, although it’s the rarest state of matter on Earth, it is actually the state that over 99 percent of universe is in, as all the visible stars are giant balls of plasma,” the artist duo told The Korea Herald in an email interview on Aug. 26.

A.A.Murakami transformed states of matter invisible to the human eye into something more tangible and visible through their installation.

“Electricity is something that is normally hidden behind our walls, or even in our bodies which use electrical signals to run our brain to body functions mostly unconsciously. The flow of electrical signals that controls our lives are invisible, driving complex networks of information that is a radical shift from the experience of our ancestors,” they said, adding that art and technology both have the potential to extend human perception and create new experiences for people.

The duo have also explored various materials, such as using light bulbs, a ring of fog and a chandelier, as they did in their work “On the Threshold to the House of Eternity,” which creates a unique energy and atmosphere.

"Under a Flowing Field" (A.A.Murakami / Studio Swine)

A.A.Murakami noted that the history of art is deeply entwined with religion and spirituality, which is an element they have captured in “On the Threshold to the House of Eternity." It is a sense they hope to impart on their audience.

“For us, this almost religious feeling is not inspired by religion, but by the latest scientific theories. Questions about where life started, what is nature, what is beyond the event horizon of a black hole, all put us into a state of awe. Art has always been used to create a space to contemplate things that are mysterious or sublime, beyond the capacity of language,” they added.

The duo's interest in how things came to be and how humans perceive the natural world extended into the realm of new forms of art, including NFT.

Last year, A.A.Murakami unveiled their new NTF work, “Floating Worlds,” illustrating their continued interest in combining art and technology. The work explores the beginning of humanity, including microbes and cell processes, creating a fully immersive experience.

“I think that one of the key things is movement," said the pair on the process of creating such experiences for their audiences.

"We are fascinated, for example, with water and the way it moves. Water is actually a very strange substance from a chemistry and physics point of view and I think that artists over the centuries have always tried to capture water, but as soon as you try and capture it in a still painting or drawing or sculpture, it loses like the main component because water doesn't have a shape as much as it has a behavior, and therefore it's the movement itself that is so key to it’s being," they added.

"The behavior of water, it’s weakly attracting hydrogen bonds, is captured in the code which is a live code on the block chain, so when you're looking at one of those NFTs, it's a code that is playing live and it's always changing and it's always slightly different imperceptibly, just like it is when you look at water.”

Regarding this topic, the duo will speak at The Herald Design Forum 2023 on Sept. 19 at the Shilla Seoul. The occasion will mark the 13th edition of the forum and will be held under the theme of “Design for Coexistence, Exploring New Perspectives on Coexistence.”

A.A.Murakami will share their insights on the topic of “Adventure Design and Ephemeral Tech,” discussing the possibilities for sustainable materials and local low energy production. They will discuss their journey as sustainable artists, which took them from fishing for plastic and making chairs on boats at sea to the world's largest human hair market in China and to the Amazon rainforest in Brazil where they searched for wild rubber.

"Sea Chair" (A.A.Murakami / Studio Swine)

The artistic duo, who established Studio Swine in 2011 and became A.A.Murakami in 2019, say they recognize the differences between design and art.

“We basically love design and art and recognize that they are different. They are both creative pursuits that draw on some of the same faculties, but at the same time require a different approach and perspective. We decided to keep Studio Swine as a design studio and start A.A.Murakami as our art practice,” said the duo.