UNBUILDING in words

Mermaid Arts Centre, 21st Aug – 17th Oct – 2010

Reason Versus Beauty (Akio Hizume)

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Akio Hizume gives an energetic presentation on the  influence of the Golden Ratio on his architectural, sculptural and sound works at the Mermaid Arts Centre, 9th September, 2010 (Part of the UNBUILDING Project’s Series of Conversations)

I am absorbed in looking for any form around myself either material or immaterial one, working on projects every day. I love the ecology of the bamboo as an attractive material

(Akio Hizume)

As art enthusiasts, the ‘Golden Ratio’ has made itself present, consciously or not, from very early on, especially in revisions of Renaissance Art during our secondary school days. On the 9th of September, huddled in the back room of UNBUILDING’s architectural insert at the Mermaid Arts Centre (and surrounded by Tamsin Snow’s perspex water pools), Akio Hizume brought the audience on an energetically nostalgic trip, via the Golden Ratio.

Hizume was born in Nagano, Japan in 1960. He graduated from Kyoto Handcrafts and Textile College, majoring in Technology. Primarily an architect, Hizume sees the Golden Ratio as something more than beautiful symmetry. He says this belief  ‘is too easy’, that a function or reason lies behind the Divine Proportion.

So what is the Golden Ratio?

From leonardo’s Last Supper to the present day Stock Market, the Golden Ratio, Golden Mean, or Divine Proportion, is a speculative form. Obsessively documented by enthusiasts as a fundamental structure in the work of past and modern painters (which has been recently disputed), there seems to have been a push for the Golden Ratio to be present in any art form that was pleasing to the eye, when in fact the ratio was not present at all.

Akio Hizume’s slide projection of the Stealth Bomber, made with the Golden Ratio, which allows it to avoid radar. And Hizume’s  Golden Ratio Fabrications; Mermaid Arts Centre, 9th Septemebr, 2010.

This is Hizume’s thesis, that although the Golden Ratio is an aesthetic conundrum, there is a scientific function for this proportion to exist in nature. Over the last 20 years Hizume has weaved  baskets, constructed bamboo ‘Star Cages’ and composed music, all in the name of the Golden Ratio. But it is how he reflects on the Golden Ratio that makes it a human endeavor rather than just a numeric obsession.

Akio Hizume tries the focus the light from the projector through two acetate sheets in order to show a ‘lattice’ design, which is fundamentally a Golden Ratio, Mermaid Arts Centre, 9th Septemebr, 2010.

Standing, squatting, rhythmically knocking the ground, or throwing objects into the air, Hizume energised the space at the Mermaid Arts Centre. Holding what looked like a ball of cocktail sticks strung together before the light of the projector, but on second glance was a delicately weaved ‘globe’, held together with nothing other than Hizume’s technique of  inserting one stick over another. He rotated the globe of 3000 or so sticks in his hands – where light would presumedly not penetrate – until a Star of David appeared on the wall – flat as you like, with one ray of light penetrating the centre of the globe. There was something of the magician in Hizume’s presentation, but it is what he sees in the ratio – Jewish and Christian symbols – that hints at another goal other than mere trickery.

Akiko Hizume’s ‘Quasi-Periodic Forms’ (Globe of cocktail sticks), Mermaid Arts Centre, 9 Septemeber, 2010.

Remarking on nature throughout the presentation, Hizume admits that the forms that he fabricates already exist in nature. But the twist in the tale is, he seems to believe that nature is not aware of aesthetics, but only concerned with economical form. The proportion of the Golden Ratio economically affords the mechanics of the natural world; such as speed, diffusion of light and stability. One frightening remark by Hizume was that the Virus compound is another Golden Ratio form. Maybe the Golden Ratio signifies something that Akio Hizume and we all strive to be?

Akio Hizume’s slide of the Goetheanium Monument (after Rudolf Steiner) which he hopes to build in his own Tea-Field in Japan. The Goetheanium has no right-angles and is approximately 150 metres in width (larger than a football pitch), Mermaid Arts Centre, 9 Septemeber, 2010.


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Written by James Merrigan

September 15, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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