Sound controls

Yamaha offers the sound of Japan past, present and

In December and January, the British Film Institute (BFI) hosts Tokinokawa, an audiovisual installation inspired by moving images from the BFI national archives of early 20th-century Japan.

This work is the creation of British media artists The Light Surgeons, with sound reproduction for the installation provided by Yamaha.

Tokinokawa is presented at the BFI Southbank in London as part of BFI’s Japanese Film Month and its new BFI Expanded program throughout the year. It was created and co-directed by East London-based The Light Surgeons Producer and Director Christopher Allen, and features a set of newly restored films from the BFI’s Japan on Film Archive through the concept of ” river in time”.

Presented on a line of six screens, the ten-and-a-half-minute presentation displays the BFI’s first cinematic views of Japan with new material gathered by The Light Surgeons from across Japan in 2020, which is then analyzed in real time by a custom AI software. This analysis is displayed in an animated infographic layer, inviting the viewer to contemplate how the understanding of such “frozen-in-time” moments could be affected by the rise of new and emerging AI technologies in the future.

Tokinokawa offers a soundtrack that combines the music of Japanese percussionist and composer Midori Takada, a pioneer of ambient and minimalist music, with sounds from images and field recordings made by The Light Surgeons. Christopher worked on the project with co-director and sound designer Tim Cowie, who worked with Yamaha Music Europe Applications Specialist Scott Coltham to provide an audio solution.

A Yamaha VXS5 surface-mount speaker sits above each of the six screens, reproducing Midori Takada’s musical patterns that drift left to right through the installation, emphasizing the concept of a river of time. At the same time, the VXS5s provide localized reproduction of field recordings and the sound of footage displayed on each screen.

The system is driven by an MTX3 matrix processor, which routes audio from six media players to the speakers through an XMV8280 eight-channel power amplifier. The MTX3’s matrix also allows low frequencies from all six sources to be mixed and routed to a single VXS10S subwoofer.

A DCP series surface mounted control panel has also been fitted so that the volume level can be adjusted and the audio system switched off when BFI Southbank is closed.

Tokinokawa is free to see in the BFI Southbank foyer until January 31, 2022.

all images: Surgeons of Light