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this edition of framework:afield, entitled nam june’s spirit was speaking to me has been produced by aki onda. production notes:
We are pleased to announce a series of international Public Programs by artist Aki Onda in conjunction with his work for the 2022 Toronto Biennial of Art.
About the Work
Aki Onda has channeled the spirit of the late Korean artist Nam June Paik via radio transmission in Nam June’s Spirit Was Speaking to Me (2017/2021). Paik is known for his association with shamanism, a practice that consistently surfaces in his works. With a portable radio in hand, Onda communicates with his spirit from a distance—collecting field recordings of cryptic broadcasts and messages on anonymous radio stations. The series of séances has been conducted in different cities across the globe, beginning in Seoul, Korea in 2010 and continuing in Cologne, Germany in 2012, Wrocław, Poland in 2013, and Lewisburg, United States in 2014. This work was originally commissioned by documenta 14’s radio program “Every Time A Ear di Soun” in 2017.
From March 26 to June 5, 2022, Aki Onda will present Nam June’s Spirit Was Speaking to Me, through microbroadcasting and printed matter at the Toronto Biennial of Art. Broadcasting over two frequencies (88.5 FM and 106.5 FM) that cover the exhibition site of 72 Perth Ave in Toronto, radios are placed as part of the exhibition to symbolize sound waves in the air. The audio work exists as invisible yet discrete and perceptible through the proper medium, recalling the ritual of channeling spirits. Bring your own radio to catch the frequencies.
Onda is also bringing Nam June’s Spirit Was Speaking to Me to the international radio waves in a series of international public programs. The program will play, uninterrupted and in its entirety of 50 minutes. For Onda, those broadcasts are a response to how Nam June Paik spread his ideas through TV cable networks and connected to a large number of people at a global scale.
About Aki Onda
Aki Onda is an artist and composer currently based in Mito, Japan, after living in New York for two decades. His works are often catalyzed by and structured around memories—personal, collective, historical—such as his widely-known project, Cassette Memories (2004–ongoing), drawn from three decades of field recordings. Crossing genres, he has been active internationally in art, film, music and performance. His artistic collaborators include Michael Snow, Ken Jacobs, Raha Raissnia, Loren Connors, David Toop and Akio Suzuki.
About the Toronto Biennial of Art
The Toronto Biennial of Art is Canada’s leading visual arts event focused exclusively on contemporary art from around the world. For 10 weeks every two years, local, national, and international Biennial artists transform Toronto and its partner regions with free exhibitions, performances, and learning opportunities. Grounded in diverse local contexts, the Biennial’s city-wide programming aims to inspire individuals, engage communities, and contribute to global conversations.
The Toronto Biennial of Art launched in 2019 and was a popular and critical success. The Biennial provides expanded understandings of contemporary art practices and is building a legacy of free, inclusive, and accessible contemporary arts programming in Toronto, Mississauga, and their surrounding communities.
For more information, visit: torontobiennial.org, @torontobiennial, and #TObiennial22 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.Toronto, Canada, February 18, 2022