When I think about our time and presence in an intuitive gesture, I start from an empty space, then place a sound in it. Then another. And observe how they appear and disappear. How they affect each other. And how our bodies in such a place change phenomenology. Like the sunlight casting shadows of trees on a wall within a frame of time, and how we can immerse ourselves in it, embracing transience and inbetweenness. The subtle boundaries that exist between stasis and motion, perception and experience, and intention and chance are where my inspirations often arise from.

A Japanese dry garden is a serene place to contemplate these impressions. In such a static space, it is the viewer who is dynamic. The stones don’t move. The interpretation of the scene, the carefully interspersed rocks surrounded by white gravel depicting ripples of water, is dependent on how the viewer sees it through their mind’s eyes: this transcends the boundary between one’s inner space and the surrounding environment, creating a sense of unity that exists here and now. The viewer defines not only the physical, but also the psychological world we live in. 

When you walk into my sounding place, I hope you will listen as if it resonates you from within. Or as if a bird is calling you from miles away. Or as if you hold it in your palms. Like the islands born between the waves in the ocean, my sounding place embodies your presence. In this realm I see what surrounds me, to pivot the focus away from just my story and shape bridges to you. 

Ayako Kataoka, January 2023