asuka akagawa is a japanese interdisciplinary artist with a background in composition and guitar performance. he combines sound, visuals, generative systems, interactivity, and performance to figuratively or symbolically manifest fundamental, underlying, and potential social issues and demonstrate possible alternative mindsets. despite the elaborateness of his practice, asuka’s outputs remain minimal and primitive, incorporating only enough elements from eclectic sources.

asuka holds a dual major bachelor of music from berklee college of music, boston, massachusetts, and was previously a senior artist in residence, project coordinator, audiovisual technician, and sound designer at fabrica (benetton group's communication research center) in treviso, italy.

artist's statement:
coming from a background in music, i’ve become accustomed to dealing with abstract expressions. so, there aren’t that many concrete pieces of information or messages that i try to communicate through my work. i would probably choose another career path if i seek to communicate more accurate and precise information or opinions. so, when communication is abstract, what determines its importance? what i focus on in my expressions are sophistication and emotion.

to achieve sophistication in my expression, i mainly follow three steps. first, i question as many whys and hows of the materials and concepts surrounding me as possible. second, i gather necessary information on the subject through research and analysis. third, i output my interpretation and response through methodological training on expressive means.

to work with emotions is the challenge. i have a feeling that abstract expressions can transmit emotions that are as important as comprehensible information.

i’ve interpreted this philosophy from one of my mentors at berklee, mick goodrick, whom i’ve spent the longest time studying. he enlightened me on the significance of pursuing perfection in intended expression. in other words, the knowledge and skill on the expressive means. but on top of that, and more importantly, he guided me to understand the preciousness of emotion.


アメリカ、マサチューセッツ州、ボストンのバークリー音楽大学にて、ジャズ作曲、ジャズギターの二重専攻を卒業後、2022年から2023年、イタリアのトレヴィーゾにあるFabrica (Benetton Group's commucation research centre) にアーティスト・イン・レジデンス、プロジェクト・マネージャー、オーディオビジュアル・テクニシャン、サウンド・デザイナーとして従事。 ヴェネツィアでのインスタレーション、コンサート、ディスカッション、ワークショップを含む、多数のイベントのマネジメント、作品の制作を手掛けた。





an evening in azabu, 2021
improvised solo guitar/electronics recorded live in azabujuban, tokyo, japan
guitar, electronics, mixing engineer: asuka akagawa
1. an evening in azabu nº1 02:56
2. an evening in azabu nº2 01:36
3. an evening in azabu nº3 01:39
4. an evening in azabu nº4 04:17
samayo, 2021
big band composition performed virtually by the berklee concert jazz orchestra directed by greg hopkins.
composition: asuka akagawa
woodwinds: sheila del bosque, sen yoshimura, ori menache, max roark, aaron hayashi
trumpets: carlos ramos gomez, miles thompson (soloist), greg hopkins
trombones: auden durant (soloist), danny thornburg
guitar: asuka akagawa (soloist)
piano: yoko suzuki (soloist)
double bass: eduardo diez vieira
drums: gen yoshimura
mixing engineer: asuka akagawa
1. samayo 10:23
foundations, 2021
collaborative work with the berklee interdisciplinary arts institute directed by neil leonard, and students from ufmg directed by marco scarassatti.
electric guitar: asuka akagawa
nylon string guitar: felipe pinheiro
percussion: marcos alves
mixing engineer: asuka akagawa
1. foundation 1 06:36
2. foundation 2 06:35
condition, 2021
improvised prepared guitar recorded at home
electric guitar: asuka akagawa
mixing engineer: asuka akagawa
1. condition 03:20
untitled, 2020
improvised solo guitar/electronics recorded live in seijo, tokyo, japan
guitar, electronics, mixing engineer: asuka akagawa
1. untitled nº1 18:02
2. untitled nº2 02:18
3. untitled nº3 17:57
intuition, 2019
jazz quartet recorded live at oliver colvin recital hall, boston, ma
compositions: mick goodrick(1), asuka akagawa(2,3), victor young(4)
tenor saxophone: aaron hayashi
double bass: kevin barber
guitar, electronics, mixing engineer: asuka akagawa
1. summer band camp 08:20
2. minor song 06:58
3. one day song 06:50
4. stella by starlight 11:16
for kensuke, march 2023
printed paper
5000 x 1000 mm

for kensuke was an homage installation dedicated to the renowned visual artist kensuke koike, whose path crossed with asuka during his residency at fabrica research centre. the installation drew inspiration from kensuke’s innovative “single image processing” technique and employed a personal twist which added another vector to the result.

in the creation of for kensuke, asuka engaged in a unique artistic dialogue by subjecting 100 sheets of a4 images of himself to a deliberate process of fragmentation. each sheet undergoes a sequence of rips, with the count increasing incrementally. the pieces were arranged on the floor, forming a mesmerizing visual gradation from larger, more emotionally charged pieces to smaller, intricate fragments.

the artwork became a poignant visual metaphor that transcended mere physical manipulation. it mirrored a form of meditation, commencing with bold and dynamic action and evolving into a more contemplative and meticulous activity. as the rips progress, the artist gradually enters a flow state, where the tearing becomes a form of introspective choreography.

the installation captures the essence of a transformative journey, not only in the physical alteration of the images but in the emotional and mental spaces traversed during the process. the deliberate evolution from chaotic emotion to delicate task served as a testament to the profound connection between the artist and the process.
tokyo ni saku, april 2022
generative video
2160 x 2160px

tokyo ni saku is an in-process generative video that seeks to foster respect and cherish the delicate beauty of roadside flowers in tokyo, quietly existing amidst the overwhelming energy of the bustling city. the piece is rendered through a meticulous generative process, where algorithmically selected chunks of pixels from selected images are repetitively transposed onto a new canvas.

through the careful extraction and transposition of pixelated chunks, the video gradually develops a visual narrative that invites viewers to contemplate the coexistence of tranquil strength and fragility embodied by the forgotten flowers. the generative method, with its deliberate combination of precision and randomness, parallels the nature of life in tokyo, where the relentless pace of urban life often overshadows the subtleties of nature.

tokyo ni saku hopes to unfold as a meditation on the beauty of the roadside flowers thriving in silence, a testament to their strength and grace in spite of the fast-paced metropolis. the piece gently fosters appreciation for the often-overlooked, reminding us that even in the busiest corners of tokyo, flowers bloom serenely.

the collection will continually expand as the artist discovers more quietly blooming flowers in tokyo, gradually morphing the generated video.
img_0584, january 2022
jpeg image
2723 x 3630 px
camera: iphone 12 pro
colour space: rgb
colour profile: display p3
focal length: 4.2 mm
f number: f/1.6
exposure time: 1/60
no amaro è il tormento ii, october 13–29, 2023
site-specific interactive/generative quadraphonic audio, and dmx lights installation/performance
complesso dell’ospedaletto, venice, italy
duration : approx. 00:30:00

no amaro è il tormento ii and no amaro è il tormento ii, live was an audiovisual installation and performance that aimed to manifest concerns regarding the acoustic ecology of venice caused by human’s eager exploration of the city and by the business surrounding it. by recontextualization, exaggeration, and contrast, the quadraphonic audio and minimal lighting environment direct the visitors’ attention to sonic conditions. the piece also sought to communicate appreciation for tranquillity by translating anthropogenic activity outside the space to elements of sound and light.

the installation behaved within a dynamic framework, where various elements of sound and light were carefully interconnected while ultimately responding to the street noise outside the church. for example, the loudness of the field recordings was programmed to be animated inversely proportional to the noise out in the calli (venetian alleys), and the brightness of the lights was inversely proportional to the affected loudness of the field recordings. this delicate engagement between the two senses created an immersive experience where visitors could take in the subtle nuances of their sonic environment. the sound consisted of field recordings in venice, generative piano recompositions of sì dolce è il tormento by claudio monteverdi, sine waves, and pink noises, all played back in quadraphonic surround.

direction/curation: carlos casas
project management, installation design, sound design, lighting design, audiovisual systems, software : asuka akagawa
production: marta celso, daniela mesina
communication: angela quintavalle, loredana rigato
photography: asuka akagawa
site setup: the dee group
architecture: andrea palladio
in collaboration with: venezia news

audio recording coming soon...
li estas kiu? ii, july 21, 2023
generative stereo audio, dmx lights, video projection, fog, and electric guitar performance
fabrica research centre, treviso, italy
duration: approx. 00:30:00

li estas kiu? ii was the second adaptation of li estas kiu? which "...explored intricate relationships among individuals, technology, and nature during an epoch marked by rapid information dissemination and telecommunications advancements... through perhaps satirical expressions, the piece endeavors to unveil diverse perspectives on technology and nature, prompting contemplation on alternative mindsets amidst our evolving relationship with both."

in contrast to li estas kiu?, the expressions in li estes kiu? ii are notably personal and subjective. this performance sought to contemplate the nuanced spectrums between seemingly disagreeing aspects of individuals, technology, and nature. therefore, while utilising algorithms and diverse technological tools, the essence of these aids remains centered on the individual. the performance intimately navigates the gradients between contrasting concepts: primitive and advanced, intentional and intuitive, convenience and inconvenience, ideal and real, and more and less.

direction/curation: carlos casas
sound design, lighting design, composition, projection, guitar, audiovisual systems, software: asuka akagawa
photography: francesco reffo
special thanks: alice nascimben
li estas kiu?, february 23–24, 2023
site-specific interactive/generative hexaphonic audio, dmx lights, and fog installation/performance
fabrica research centre, treviso, italy
duration: 01:39:00

li estas kiu? was a site-specific immersive multimedia performance installation that integrated various algorithms and gestures for a generative and interactive sonic, optic, and behavioural experience.

the piece explored intricate relationships among individuals, technology, and nature during an epoch marked by rapid information dissemination and telecommunications advancements. in the wake of the covid-19 outbreak, remote communication reached an unprecedented pinnacle in many countries. through perhaps satirical expressions, the piece endeavors to unveil diverse perspectives on technology and nature, prompting contemplation on alternative mindsets amidst our evolving relationship with both.

the ideas were rendered through a hexaphonic surround sound system and 11 dmx fixtures consisting of 6 beam lights, 3 wash lights, a laser, and a fog generator, all controlled by a custom-built computer program designed and developed by the artist. in addition, utilising wireless communication between a smartphone and the computer, selected elements of the installation were manipulated in real-time by the performer's gestures.

direction/curation: carlos casas
project management, installation design, sound design, lighting design, audiovisual systems, software development: asuka akagawa
photography: studio gerda
videography: studio gerda, fabrica video team
site setup: the dee group, asuka akagawa
architecture: tadao ando

video available on youtube
ĉu ni renkontiĝu eksterrete?, january 27, 2023
improvised hexaphonic audio and visual live performance
stump base jingumae, tokyo, japan
duration: approx. 00:45:00

ĉu ni renkontiĝu eksterrete? was an audiovisual live performance that celebrated and appreciated the preciousness of meeting and communicating offline. since the pandemic, online meetings and virtual communications have become the norm. while this system can serve utilitarian objectives for the most part, many important inexplicable interventions between individuals are still untransmittable. one straightforward approach to manifesting and accessing one of these elements was through real-time collective improvisation, which still remains challenging on online platforms.

all three musicians are affiliated with berklee college of music. guitarist asuka is a recent graduate, who studied with saxophonist neil leonard, and bassist shin is a graduate a generation older than asuka who crossed paths in new york city as roommates. three musicians from different countries gathered for the event and spontaneously improvised on their instruments without establishing a defined framework. the resulting concert was an intuitive and primitive form of communication between musicians who share a node in their careers.

alto saxophone/electronics: neil leonard
double bass/electronics: shin sakaino
guitar, sound design, projection design, software development
photography: nana kobakura, samasa sissistar
site setup:
staircase, september–october, 2022
site-specific interactive/generative audio installation
fabrica research centre, treviso, italy

restored and augmented by japanese architect tadao ando, a unique non-utilitarian staircase ascending from the bottom of the spiral-shaped library at fabrica research centre offers a captivating reverberation. a computer placed on top of two vertically stacked speakers sensed movements in the space through its webcam. the sound organised around the resonant frequencies of the space subtly reacted as visitors ascended and descended the stairs.

installation design, sound design, software development, site setup: asuka akgawa
photography: josef paul and asuka akagawa
architecture: tadao ando
kinmokusei improvisation nº1, october 2021
improvised solo guitar/electronics performance
recorded live at stump base 1f, minami aoyama, minato, tokyo
duration: 01:30:00
guitar, sound design, lighting design, stage design: asuka akagawa
software , audio systems: asuka akagawa
director of photography: nana kobakura
videography: nana kobakura, samasa sissistar, ryuhei watanabe
architecture: tadao ando

video also available on youtube