Ryoichi Kurokawa @ FACT Liverpool


We walked into the black lower gallery together like sunshine babies, not a caaaare in the world, really happy actually about our special trip to the north to perform for Tzuzjj’s crit-a-oke in The Bluecoat *namedrop* *things are going well for us, celebrate* dis little homecoming. Liverpool is good to us, and the FACT is good for everyone. We stood there before a claw of images like, Mmhm, enjoying that arch configuration, the curve, the immersion. Slow before the starry graphics over us, so easy, yeah, before KINELL, False Sense of Security I am WEEing - THE SCREENS went OFF ON ONE, the room started to SHAKE, the dark below us, a sound like War of the Worlds sirens across the air - weeeee SHIT ourselves,,,, I - literally, not even messing - shouted, ‘ZARINA, I HAVE BEEN SHOT.’ A CAPS LOCK REVIEW because we had a caps lock reaction. We were sweating before, during, and after. Flashy and aggressive, Ryoichi Kurokawa’s ‘Unfold’ visualises data - - - which sounds boring and in our heart of hearts it’s Zzz so STEM, but actually it’s like Manfred Mohr on steds. It delivers aggression with pace, in its prodding us for a reaction. And all this by exploding data into the physically cinematic.

It’s funny with this type of focused spectacle because we know a lot of people are not convinced - they will not let themselves be carried away by the piece, they remain suspicious and aloof and frankly I am glad I am not them, happy I get to enjoy these things, glad it works for me, on me, because, well, I wrote an essay a few months ago on the Transformers 3D Ride at Universal Studios, how it might fulfil Katherine N Hayles’ call to arms —- she wanted us to find embodied virtuality in our time, against our time / to find ways to politically and literally reaffirm embodiment. The Kurokawa form suggested that again. This bawled over reaction is something I don’t think I can physically get from a painting or sculpture lol (and YEs I will pit them all against each other, i can do what I want) because they don’t literally engage the body, they only suggest we move around object and image. I just find it more impressive, immediate, and stirring when a work works upon. i am such an attention seeker lol

And then for the installation upstairs, I recognised something of gaming in how it operated - something visibly Atari but narratively dangerous; how an RPG is pushed onwards choice by choice, but all Kurokawa’s decisions, of course, he is the one playing / like we are watching him tame data, and it keeps slipping through his fingers and crashing its head smack against the screen. And honestly I could never-ever watch Let’s Play Youtube videos - you know, when a gamer narrates against screen-recorded footage of their playthrough. So boring, I have to be doing, like i said I need to be attended to, I gotta be involved, and so for me ’Unfold’ is stronggggggg I was bound like a witness and stuck. This works, and it holds, I like it.

emoji summary of a shocked/scared face, a thermometer, and a laughing face with a tiny bit of sweat in the top right corner