Takeshi Murata
Monster Movie, 2005
Single channel video, color, sound, 4 min
Sound by: Plate Tectonics
Courtesy of the artist and Ratio 3, San Francisco

Takeshi Murata

MAY 29 – JUNE 16, 2009

Invited by Rudolf Frieling (curator of media arts, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)

»Monster Movie« (2005)


Takeshi Murata has been influenced by a history of visual music, animation, and abstraction in film, as well as by a long tradition of reworking this history and recycling its cinematic forms. Yet it takes an artist like him to revisit these traditions through digital tools and at the same time to explore a dystopia of the digital age. Murata’s visions are a nightmare of viral editing in which all material becomes an endless liquefied abstraction of information, seemingly floating in and out of barely recognizable figurations. In fact, no image or figure is ever sustained. Every image is pixilated to its essence of endless morphology, driven by currents of psychic state of minds.

When Michael Jackson’s video clip »Black or White« from 1993 popularized the new morphing software, the message was an ideological call for »One World« in which black is white and white is black and historic identities are there to be changed - all ultimately serving the profit of the artist and his company. But when we fast forward to the next century, an artist like Murata uncovers the latent currents of digital manipulation. Informed by a legacy of Hollywood thrillers and horror movies, his videos take on the job of destroying any illusion of identity and sustainability in the digital realm. Anything can be made out of ones and zeros. And anything can also be unmade just as easily. As if we were not yet confused enough about the implications of the shift from analog to digital, Murata's painterly visuals are unsettling, to say the least. The scratching and remixing of culture has become a psychedelic affair that speaks to the generation of anime lovers and videogame addicts. But for those, who are still stuck in that realm of the cinematographic that is built on the frame and a narrative, there is at least the possibility of a media archeology. The narratives of cinema live on, but not in the way that we imagined it. For moments, there is then a sublime recognition of what once was.

Rudolf Frieling

Website of the artist: www.takeshimurata.com