Visiting Artist-Aki Sasamoto

Alysa Sharp


ARTH-Visiting Artist


Aki Sasamoto

Aki Sasamoto an artist who is energetic and who you never know what she is going to do next. She is very interactive and wants the viewer or audience to interact and participate with her artwork. Her work even though at first it appears strange and you are unsure of what exactly is happening when taking a step back after the performance you see the “hidden message” within the work. Sasamoto does a very good job of keeping the audience and or viewer captivated through her sense of humor and ability to bring forth a hidden yet meaningful aspect to her work.

Aki Sasamoto’s work has many different element to it that provokes a response that may not have been thought of once the piece was first viewed. She first starts out with the title where she creates a sense of wonderment of what’s behind it. An example of this can be seen in her work “Judge Mentals and the Purpose of Life.” As well in her works of art she does both installation and performance; the installation hosts the performances within her works. Because of this fact there can be two different contexts that she can place her art and in which she can exist in; both the theater and the visual art world.

Because Sasamoto is able to bridge performance and installation through interactive environments; where the performances explain the installation and the environment and the installation accentuates the performances and adds in a further depth to them. As well though Aki Sasamoto is able to play with skewed lines with her works of art such as in her piece “Mosquito vs. Comedian” in which she is dealing with lies and crimes and what determines a petty crime or a noble crime. However I believe that the most important aspects to her work is the deeper meaning behind each whether that be from her performances, installations or her performance installations. She is able to make you think while keeping you entertained and you almost become consumed and enveloped into her piece so that you wonder where you fit into the piece as a whole.

Aki Sasamoto is able to convey both a narrative and a message all wrapped up in one. She is able to do this through her installations which have a deeper meaning behind them but then she is also able to convey a message through her performances. It seems to me that what she is trying to convey is how we cannot just simply look or see something, we must experience it though our other senses. The reason behind this is because through her works she not only uses sight but she also uses touch, sound, motion, and other sense to captivate the audience and to draw upon those other senses to establish a different affect for the viewer.

Even though Sasamoto did not go into great detail of how her pieces were made or what materials she used to make her work or what her techniques were as to how she created the piece as a whole. However from the pieces that were shown there is a wide variety of materials and techniques that she uses from video to dance, from wood to potatoes each one of her works is unique and challenges the “norm.” The craftsmanship within her works is used to illuminate the message that she is trying to portray throughout each piece. Therefore each part of her piece interrelates and works together as a whole to bring the piece full circle. She takes the environment that she is in and utilizes it to highlight and bring forth the piece in a new light and way. Each part from the material to the design each function differently apart from each other when standing alone in the installation. However, once Aki is able to do a performance in her installation that is when each part comes forth as a whole. This is because while she is performing she is able to give meaning to each certain aspect to the installation piece.

Sasamoto’s intention with her work is to ask the audience what they consider to be the normal and then to redefine it through her pieces and her performances. She is able to create a new environment within the environment that her work is placed and therefore to manipulate it into something that creates a new meaning to the audience. She then is creating an intentional question of what are you viewing and how is it affecting you? Because she is able to keep the viewer entertained and captivated and even through her “lecture” she was doing a performance. She was able to manipulate the environment of the classroom that the lecture was in to create a new meaning to what she was talking about within her works of art; ultimately demonstrating how learning can be interactive, entertaining, and engaging, where it usually is viewed as dull, boring, and not interactive even though teachers and professors try to make it not like that. Overall Aki Sasamoto’s work is effective through how she presents it to the viewer. She does this in a way that not only keeps you captivated but makes you think about it afterwards and question what it is exactly you just witnessed and experienced.

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