From the Park Avenue Armory, to Park City, to a theater near you! Artist Julian Rosefeldt’s installation project, Manifesto, debuted in the United States at the Park City Armory in New York City in December 2016, and is now playing in theaters nationally. The show consisted of thirteen large screens projecting thirteen different characters portrayed by Cate Blanchett. She transforms into a newscaster, a CEO, a schoolteacher, and a homeless man, among several other characters. The thirteen scenes pull from over 50 manifestos given by notable artists early in their careers. Weaving these profound manifestos into the monologues of ordinary characters living everyday lives creates a heightened context for experiencing the text, and challenges the viewer to reconsider art, culture, and society. Rosefeldt brought the thirteen scenes together to create a feature film which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Click here to watch a trailer for Manifesto.
Starring Bobby Cannavale, David Costabile, Becky Ann Baker, Catherine Combs, Chris Bannow, Tommy Bracco, Emmanuel Brown, Nicholas Bruder, Phil Hill, Cosmo Jarvis, Mark Junek, Henry Stram, Jamar Williams, Isadora Wolfe & Amos Wolff
Earlier this spring, Ryuichi Sakamoto gave an exquisitely intimate concert at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. Surrounded by a small audience in the venue’s opulent Veterans Room, the renowned Japanese composer was positioned in the center of the floor and played through the entirety of async, his first solo album in nearly a decade. Time seemed to stand still as he re-created the album before our eyes, moving from piano and synthesizer to unconventional instruments like a large pane of glass, from which he evoked a mournful wail. Observing this legendary artist perform at such close proximity intensified the feeling of being inside an echo chamber of emotion and ambient sound.
For admirers of Sakamoto’s work, the transfixing power of this performance should come as no surprise. Over the last four decades, he has been captivating audiences with his solo projects, award-winning film scores, and on-screen performances. Many fans have become acquainted with his work through his long-standing relationship with cinema, which began in the eighties, after he had already gained international attention with the pioneering Japanese electronic music group Yellow Magic Orchestra. In 1983, Nagisa Oshima cast him opposite David Bowie in Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, a breathtaking tale of forbidden desire set in a World War II prison camp, marking his film debut not only as an actor but as a composer. This experience led to subsequent collaborations with some of the most acclaimed auteurs in the world, such as Brian De Palma, Volker Schlöndorff, Pedro Almodóvar, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Alejandro González Iñárritu.
Now sixty-five, Sakamoto recovered from a battle with cancer in 2015, allowing him to return to music with full force and exuberance. His new album demonstrates his abiding innovative spirit, blending a wide array of sounds—from natural field recordings to synthesizer experimentation and elegiac organ droning—into a haunting sonic collage. On the heels of its release, Sakamoto and I sat down for a conversation about his immersive creative process and some of the greatest moments in his career.