We speak to the sound artist and designer to find out what audiences can expect from his Sonica exhibition, Furniture Music
'I'm not a musician – instead, I work across the border between art, design and music,' says the Japanese sound artist and designer Yuri Suzuki, whose exhibition Furniture Music is travelling to the Lighthouse in Glasgow for this year's edition of Cryptic's Sonica festival, which once again explores music and other sounds from a singular, art-based perspective. 'I like to explore how sound should be in our daily lives, so this exhibition really started from the area of thinking as a designer.'
Suzuki is on the line from London, where he runs his own Yuri Suzuki Design Studio and is a partner in the agency Pentagram. 'As a sound artist, I can hear how much other designers will not consider sound as important to our surroundings,' he says, 'so this [exhibition] is a vehicle for my opinions on what should be in the soundscape around us; what encourages, perhaps, more comfort or better conversations. This will be a presentation of these objects, all of which are sound-initiated, and which show what I think sound in the domestic environment should be.'
credit: Corey Bartle-Sanderson
Taking its name from the French composer Eric Satie's description of his own music as 'a sound that should not be actively listened to, but present at the periphery of our daily lives', Furniture Music will feature such items as a dining table with an acoustic chamber in it, which amplifies both the sound of items being moved on the tabletop and the voices speaking over it, and a 'singing washing machine', devised in partnership with the musician Matthew Herbert.
'I wouldn't say these are 100% functional, truly useful products,' says Suzuki, 'but they're more about the idea, about seeing if some small part [of these creations) can be put into different products in a way which improves our soundscape, that's the purpose of it. I've been obsessed with music and sound since I was very young, my father was a huge music collector, and I was lucky that when I came to study design, sound was an area of that which had not really been investigated enough. So it was nice to find a field through which to explore the world.'
'Hearing and smell are our strongest senses,' adds Suzuki, 'and we're very strongly emotionally affected by things which we hear. This has an invisible effect on us, we don't see it happening, but it has a real psychological impact – and this can be used to create very positive effects on us, but also very negative ones. I find that sound is a very interesting field to study.'
Furniture Music, The Lighthouse, Glasgow, Sat 5 Oct 2019–Mon 6 Jan 2020.
Cutting edge performance by established international artists, crossing the boundaries of music, theatre, visual and electronic art. It is produced by Cryptic, who are responsible for some of the most fascinating live performance work in the country. Since its launch in 2012, the festival has presented over 400 events by…