Yamaha delivers the sound of Japan’s past, present and future in Tokinokawa

Yamaha delivers the sound of Japan’s past, present and future in Tokinokawa
Throughout December and January, the British Film Institute (BFI) is hosting Tokinokawa, an AV installation inspired by the BFI National Archive’s moving images from early 20th century Japan.

This artwork is the creation of UK media artists The Light Surgeons, with sound reproduction for the installation provided by Yamaha.

Tokinokawa is being presented at BFI Southbank in London as part of the BFI’s Japan Cinema month and its new year-round BFI Expanded programme. It has been created and co-directed by Christopher Allen, producer and director of east London-based The Light Surgeons and showcases a set of newly restored films from the BFI’s Japan on Film archive through the concept of ‘a river in time’.

Presented across a line of six screens, the ten and a half minute presentation displays the BFI’s early cinematic views of Japan with new material gathered by The Light Surgeons from across Japan in 2020, which is then analysed in real time by custom AI software. This analysis is displayed in an animated infographic layer, inviting the viewer to contemplate how the understanding of such moments ‘frozen in time’ might be affected by the rise of new and emerging AI technology in the future.

Tokinokawa features a soundtrack which combines music by Japanese percussionist and composer Midori Takada, a pioneer of ambient and minimalist music, with sounds from the footage and field recordings made by The Light Surgeons. Christopher worked on the project with co-director and sound designer Tim Cowie, who collaborated with Yamaha Music Europe application specialist Scott Coltham to deliver an audio solution.

A Yamaha VXS5 surface mount speaker is located above each of the six screens, reproducing Midori Takada’s musical motifs that drift from left to right across the installation, highlighting the concept of a river of time. At the same time, the VXS5s deliver localised reproduction of the field recordings and sound from the footage displayed on each screen.

The system is managed by an MTX3 matrix processor, which routes the audio from six media players to the speakers via an XMV8280 eight channel power amplifier. The MTX3’s matrix also allows the bass frequencies for all six feeds to be mixed and routed to a single VXS10S subwoofer.

A DCP series surface mount control panel was also installed so the volume level can be adjusted and the audio system switched off when BFI Southbank is closed.

Tokinokawa is free to view in the foyer of BFI Southbank until 31st January 2022.


all images: The Light Surgeons

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