Hurtling us through a dark and apocalyptic universe, populated by perhaps nothing but the graphic forms of a melancholy imaginary, “Blck Rck” is a new multimedia project by Akatre, begun through recent installations in museums and galleries. Stanley Kubrick’s monolith looms over the project – this mysterious black symbol of humanity’s destruction or salvation. Encompassing the diverse talents of Akatre, the project includes large-scale installations, graphic compositions, as well as a musical score – creating a universe at once somber and romantic, sensorial and post-human. Willfully mysterious, the studio does not reveal specificities about the members’ roles in production. Whether in art, design, installation, and now music, they are implicated in all elements of creation – from typography to layout to photography to video to composition. Each work is thus intensely personal and evocative of the studio’s evolution. Blck Rck invites us into this more fully formed artistic universe made possible by their new venture into sonic expression. This first imagining of the monolith took the form of a large-scale cube of chopped black wood, totaling 2.5 tons. Following this exhibition entitled Recto Verso at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs were three exhibitions in galleries, each accompanied by original musical compositions. These compositions are complemented in “Blck Rck” by three new musical works, culminating an ensemble of work and exhibitions that evokes a changing universe – saturated and polluted, at once filled with harsh, natural beauty and the surprising elegance of deterioration.
“Somewhere”, the first video representing the project, invites us into the universe created for this project – a simple yet suggestive story of an astronaut forced to eject from his vessel upon contact with an asteroid. Finding himself barreling through space, he dreams of arriving on an imaginary planet, while actually floating amongst a sea of unidentifiable particles until coming to a tragic, solitary end in the cold infinity. A story of a possible future told with the tools of the not-so-distant-past, Akatre produced the video with real models – exercising their considerable creativity in the realization of an astral elsewhere with the materials of this world – plaster, paint, man. Guided by the music rather than a narrative, in the video’s absence of special effects there is also the absence of time and epoch. Rather, Akatre’s clean and powerful aesthetic recounts a somber, graphic history both intimate and epic.
“Prelude” allows us glimpses into the heart of the project – a narration of the the bleak, dehumanized world that is both the style and content. Structure is less a concern here than a sonic interpretation of the graphic deterioration, the forms and the landscapes that populate this imaginary land. “Remorseless”, “Somewhere”, and “Dark Glow” elaborate this universe of breakdown and destruction. “Misunderstood” is most explicit in illustrating Akatre’s position with this project – a dedication to creation rather than comprehension, without taking established codes or the desire to be accessible into account. And with nostalgic melancholy, we arrive at the “End of Story”. A classical instrument attempts a last stand against a synthesizer. A nod to the past in face of the uncertainty of the future. Still existing, but perhaps soon to be disappeared – or taken to another realm that we are no longer able to recognize.
Ana Iwataki, Curator