A Digital Music Box Ensemble
Takuma Takahashi (JP) + Shugo Hirao (JP)
installation, 2015/2016

The Digital Music Box is reading punching cards. When the holes of the punching cards flick onto a switch, it triggers a sound. The artists adapted the so-called “Punched Card Music Box” to a digital device. They created the device in order to highlight the concept that human behavior and computer digital processing can intercommunicate with the help of a simple device. Takahashi and Hirao use the term “semi-generative” to describe a human type of input that generates digital data on a computer. It implicates that human inconsistency can also be part of the process of composition.

The artwork was inspired by the contemporary musician, Conlon Nancarrow (1912-1997), who had a very systematic and interesting way to experiment with the micro-durational composition. “I completely had no interest in a harmony and a melody,” Nancarrow said himself.  Therefore, from the very beginning, he focused on the rhythm and the tempo in order to invent new type of music, which was far beyond human instrument skills.

Takuma Takahashi and Shugo Hirao is the art unit since 2015. Takuma Takahashi (JP), born in 1981, completed graduate studies in Conceptual and Media Art at the Kyoto City University of Arts, and Shugo Hirao (JP), born in 1991, completed graduate studies in Faculity of Informatics at the Kansai University.

Most of their works explore the similarity of the human activity and software algorithms, the body movements and digital information. They believe that the by-products of the intercommunication errors between human beings and machines can produce new forms of expression that haven’t been discovered yet.

Recent group exhibitions include Art x Media x Design Exhibition Sakai-shi, Osaka, Post City (Ars Electronica, Linz, 2015), and R<CONNECTING SENSES Cultural R>evolution (ISEA, Hong Kong, 2016).