Ryoji Ikeda’s ‘the transfinite’
May 22, 2011, 8:04 pm
Filed under: Art, Exhibition, New York City, Technology | Tags:

trans·fi·nite [trans-fahy-nahyt] –adjective

going beyond or surpassing the finite.

In his upcoming installation at the Park Avenue Armory, Ryoji Ikeda explores the transfinite.  As the installation will be housed in the Armory’s 55,000 sq ft. Wade Thompson drill hall, the infinite may not seem so far off.  Articulated to me by Armory president Rebecca Robertson and artistic director Kristy Edmunds, Ryoji’s conception of the infinite is something beautiful; a concentration composed of the sonifying and aestheticizing of sets of data.  For this particular installation Ikeda synthesized data sets from the human genome sequence, NASA constellation coordinates, and non-human muscle structures, amongst others, to create the installation’s soundscape and aesthetic cues.

To the unfamiliar ear Ikeda’s installation may sound like sonic destruction, but it is that confrontation with seemingly infinite sets of data that brings the transfinite into the realm of the sublime.  The installation is limitless in its scope and its sonic possibilities.  Listen in for Kristy and Rebecca’s take on Ikeda’s infinite precision, and the challenges of curating such an installation.


Zoe Rosenberg