Following critically acclaimed, sold out runs at The Shed in New York and at this year’s Manchester International Festival, the Roundhouse is delighted to announce that Ryuichi Sakamoto’s exquisite, magical and ground-breaking collaboration with Mixed Reality pioneers Tin Drum, Kagami, will play a four week run from 29 December 2023 – 21 January 2024. The press performance will be on 4 January 2024.
Marcus Davey, CEO and Artistic Director, Roundhouse; “I was transfixed by this stunning work when I saw it in Manchester so I am delighted that we’re working with Tin Drum to bring this pioneering and beautiful show to the Roundhouse. The marrying of Sakamoto’s deeply moving music and art with new technology in this incredible mixed reality event will give audiences an experience they’ve never seen before at the venue.”
Kagami has been described as ‘hauntingly beautiful’ and a ‘graceful elegy’. It is a glimpse into a future world in which the connection of performance between artist and audience is perpetuated beyond the limitations of life and time. It will give audiences an extraordinary alternative immersive experience this holiday season full of emotional wonder and incredible creative vision..
Todd Eckert says: “There’s an elemental energy in the relationship between Ryuichi and the piano. He spent his whole life studying, exploring, expanding, and elevating what sound can mean, but it really all starts with those 88 keys. In Kagami I wanted to present that relationship – an event both intimate and urgent – happening in real-time, forever. And I will always remain grateful that he said yes.
The Roundhouse is one of my favourite rooms in the world – I’m utterly overwhelmed that we’re playing there.”
Prior to his death earlier this year, Sakamoto worked with Todd Eckert and the global Tin Drum team in the production of this groundbreaking performance, which is experienced with the aid of optically transparent Mixed Reality glasses. The virtual Sakamoto performs alongside dimensional art which is aligned with the music. The experience is presented in surround sound, creating a world which is both collective and individual, inviting observers to connect to the work – and each other – throughout. Audiences are free to watch the concert seated or to wander and explore the space.
Sakamoto was and remains an international sensation, with a body of work spanning from electronic to classical composition, large scale art installations and performances, and nearly 45 original film/TV scores, including original scores for Oscar-winning films such as The Last Emperor and The Revenant. His evocative and at times elegiac music garnered a legion of fans over several decades and intense respect throughout the world.
Reflecting on the collaboration, Sakamoto wrote:
There is, in reality, a virtual me.This virtual me will not age, and will continue to play the piano for years, decades, centuries. Will there be humans then? Will the squids that will conquer the earth after humanity listen to me? What will pianos be to them? What about music? Will there be empathy there?
Kagami brings Sakamoto into collaboration with Tin Drum – an international collective of artists and technologists working exclusively in Wearable Augmented or Mixed Reality.
The show follows Medusa, an exploration of generative architecture with Sou Fujimoto, first presented with the London Design Festival at the V&A’s Raphael Court in 2021. The work was next presented in Brooklyn at Pioneer Works in 2023, and expanded to include a live performance element over 4 weekends.
In 2019 Tin Drum made history by presenting the Life with Marina Abramović at the Serpentine Galleries, London. It was the first large-scale Mixed Reality exhibition anywhere, with an over-capacity audience of 5,000 experiencing the piece over a week-long engagement. It went on to create a new market by selling through Christie’s after a two-week exhibition in October 2020, despite the disruption of the global pandemic.
Todd Eckert is the Founder and President of Tin Drum. Todd previously served as Director of Content Development for MR device manufacturer Magic Leap, joining the company in 2012. He worked in traditional art and media for thirty years prior to his MR focus. Todd produced Control, Anton Corbijn’s award-winning feature film about Joy Division’s lead singer Ian Curtis, which premiered at the Cannes film festival in 2007. He was Director of North America for Eutechnyx, a British video game developer. He began his career as a music journalist at 14 and became an editor of the US national OnlyMusic Magazine at 17.