YURI SUZUKI ‘SHAREVARI’ INSTALLATION
ART CENTRAL HONG KONG
March 21-25, 2017
London-based sound artist and designer Yuri Suzuki presents Sharevari, an acoustic crystal installation with Swarovski crystals.
Upon entering Art Central Hong Kong’s exhibition space, the sound of various frequencies and chimes begin from a brass and crystal-made musical artwork. Sharevari, is an exciting installation by the designer utilising the power of our own physical gestures to create sound, allowing the visitor to be their own ‘conductor’. Incorporating crystal, Sharevari was initially created for the 2016 Design Miami/Basel shows as part of Swarovski’s Designers of the Future, which Suzuki was awarded in 2016.
Suzuki presents a piece of sound and material exploration, experimenting with the properties of the Swarovski crystal to create an interactive acoustic artwork. Sounds are controlled by the visitor, using their own body gestures to navigate the motion-sensor trigger activating the mechanical movements against the crystal glass.
During Art Central HK 2017, we stopped by the installation space to create our own sounds as a brief “conductor”, and spoke with Yuri Suzuki himself on how he approached the project and design.
Portrait by Ben Clement.
Interview: Joanna Kawecki
How did you approach the Swarovski archive and
select which crystals you’d like to use for the project?
The focus (such as crystal engineering) was totally out of my capacity, but throughout the process I was able to work with Swarovski’s own engineers. Looking back at the history of Swarovski, it has a long history of more than 200 years of making crystals, but at the same time, they are treating them like a natural mineral, in a way. I’m impressed that with each new crystal they invent, the name they create also sounds like a natural mineral. They are quite a traditional family business, but at the same time they are really global and contemporary.
How did you first come to work with Swarovski?
Last year in 2016, I was awarded the Swarovski’s Designers of The Future Award which started it all.
How did you approach different frequencies and sounds from the crystal for the installation?
It was due to the help of the amazing engineers’ perspective in the Swarovski team. In the beginning everyone said it was an impossible project, because of the difficulty with calibration and acoustic engineering of crystal and glass. If you can add water, it’s makes it easier to fine-tune, however with pure crystal it initially didn’t seem possible with this kind of piece. Helmut, one of the Swarovski engineers I worked very closely with, created new software that could create acoustic engineering straight out of his computer. He explored shape and thickness, even including polishing it by hand as well, reflecting true sophistication in creating each piece.
Was this the first time you’ve used crystal in your work?
Yes, it was the first time I’d used crystal. It turned out to be a really nice collaboration together with Swarovski, because I’m normally working on sound projects and they are really focused on innovation.
You coordinated the motion sensor, how did you incorporate this element?
First of all, I wanted the piece to hold an interactive element that everyone can sort of play with the piece.
Also my earlier projects are also very interactive and technical, so I thought to bring all my ideas together.
Showcasing ‘Sharevari’ now in 3 different cities, (Milan, Basel, Hong Kong) have you found any cultural differences in the way that people interact with the work?
Here in Hong Kong people have been really open, whereas in Miami they were a little shy to try it. Here at Art Central, it is presented in the entrance so it’s quite welcoming for visitors. Most people like most sounds, and the majority of guests visiting the installation don’t necessarily have a strong knowledge of the technicality of music, but the gesture is one of the easiest ways to express music and emotion related back to the sound.
Since creating this piece working with this material, has it inspired you to explore any other materials?
Yes, my fascination with crystal has grown. Crystal has a lot of depth. It isn’t mixed with anything else, it is purely just crystal and resonates really well with other materials too. Glass is also really interesting too, but at the same time I’m interested in acoustic sounds and what alternative sizes and shapes affect different results. Now I’m quite interested in designing speakers, exploring shapes and materials such as stones or crystal.