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“O-kudo-san + Glass Marimba in Doma”

Intervention Performance

Kyoto, Japan


  Before modern times, an uneven floor and the pungent smell of wet dirt would greet your senses as you entered the “doma” (earthen floor area) of a traditional Japanese home. In this transitional area between the outside and the house interior, darkness permeates like a thin fog, evoking a sense of relaxation and calm lacking in today’s homes.

  Light and warmth emanates from the “kamado,” a type of traditional floor stove in the “doma” where everything from daily meals to festive feasts were prepared. In Kyoto, the kamado are honorifically referred to as “okudosan” to reflect the local culture’s deep appreciation and faith in fire.


  Areas of the doma also doubled as a “ritual space” of sorts where residents could worship the house spirits. The oldest and most respected spirits were also the most deeply involved with people’s lives like the Stove spirit, the Kitchen spirit, the spirit of Fire, the spirit of Fortune, and other indigenous spirits. To show their respect for these spirits, residents would attach hei (paper streamers), ofuda (amulets or talismans) or branches of sakaki (a sacred tree). Within the doma, the practical, and the functional are combined with ancient spirituality into a harmonious cycle of darkness, fire, smoke, then back to darkness.


  Like the doma, each of us have a similarly abstract space where our spirit resides and our external projections merge with our internal thoughts.

Demonstrated in this performance space that engages the five senses, this intervention performance uses sand-casted, glass marimba, whose design is inspired by the horizon which separate water and the sky. Each is installed in an iron pot (“okama”) which creates a spatial, resonating sound not unlike the smoke from open fire stove rising slowly to the ceiling. An interactive, modular analog synthesizer provides atmospheric noises and sounds circulating the room like the cooking sounds in an okudosan. The combination of all the elements enables the participant to feel the sonic relationships and another spatial realm which one doesn’t realize in everyday life.

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