Method No. 17  (November 3, 2002)

Guest: Makoto Nomura

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purpose is to pursue and exhibit method arts, such as method painting, 
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- "Method" members:  
Hideki Nakazawa (artist), Shigeru Matsui (poet), Masahiro Miwa (composer)
- Manifestos of Methodicism
- Japanese translation

Preface  by Masahiro Miwa
Guest's manuscript:
Shogi Composition (1999)  by Makoto Nomura
Guest's work:
Musical Scores for "Shogi Composition"  by Makoto Nomura
Members' manuscripts:
Appearance: From Euclidean Geometry to Topology  by Hideki Nakazawa
Machine for Writing Poems  by Shigeru Matsui
Building a New Religion  by Masahiro Miwa
Members' works:
Circuit No. 2 of a Regular Hexahedron Type  by Hideki Nakazawa
Quantum Poem No. 50 - 60  by Shigeru Matsui
Fragment, from "For All Time" for Harp  by Masahiro Miwa
Information, Editor's notes


Method No. 17  Guest: Makoto Nomura

by Masahiro Miwa

   The guest of this time, Makoto Nomura, is one of those musicians who 
continue to engage in some of the most unique activities in the Japanese 
music world.  For instance, his experimental group composition in recent 
years, "Shogi Composition," if considered merely for its clear rules, 
should no doubt be ranked as "method" music. (Shogi is a Japanese board 
game like chess.)  However, the appeal of Nomura's works lies not in any 
ostentatious intellectual challenge but in his search for the joy that 
music originally possess ... or possessed.  This joy is the joy of 
making sound, the joy of telling a story, the joy brought by our 
amazement at a world changing in the continuum of music.  Though these 
pleasures are surely forbidden in Methodicism, the craft of Nomura's 
music lies in structurizing as action what only our body knows; going 
beyond a simple quest for pleasures.

Guest's manuscript & work:

by Makoto Nomura

   Shogi Composition is a kind of recipe for collaborative composition 
among various people with different musical backgrounds and various 
musical abilities.  It is just like playing cards around a table.  A few 
players around a table compose short passages one after another instead 
of playing cards.  Please enjoy it and compose new interesting music!
1) The number of players
   In order to do Shogi Composition at least 2 players are required.  
Although you can do it with 10 or more players theoretically, with the 
more players you will have to prepare the greater amount of time. 
Practically speaking, the proper number of its players can be 3, 4, 5, 
or 6.  Each player is supposed to bring his/her musical instruments, 
some objects which makes sound, etc.
2) Useless paper etc. and coloured pens/pencils etc.
   In order to do Shogi Composition you have to prepare paper to write 
music down.  Of course you don't have to prepare 5-lined-music-paper 
because in Shogi Composition each player is allowed to write music down 
in his/her own way.  You can use drawing paper, useless calendars, 
useless posters and so on.
   You also have to prepare coloured pens/pencils etc.  Each player is 
supposed to choose one colour and use always the same colour.
   When you complete the composition, the paper will be the artistic 
picture as well as music score.
3) The process
   At first you have to decide who will start, and which way to go round 
the circle.  Then the first player starts to compose his/her part on his
/her own instrument(s).  When s/he completes his/her part, s/he writes 
it down on the paper in his/her own way with the coloured pen/pencil.  
Please notate it in any way as you will remember it later.  You may draw 
a picture how to play, you may explain by sentences, or whatever.  As 
soon as s/he writes it down, s/he hands the paper to the next player, 
starts to play his/her own composed part and continues it until his/her 
turn comes around again.
   Similarly the next player makes another part which goes well with the 
first part, writes it down in his/her own way next to the first part on 
the paper, hands the paper to his/her next player, and continues the 
part until his/her turn comes around again.
    Similarly keep this process.  Finally the last player writes his/her 
own part, s/he hands the paper to the first player.  Then the first 
player stops playing and listens to every sound, makes a new part which 
goes well with what other players are playing, writes it down on the 
paper, hands the paper to the next player, and continue it until his/her 
turn comes around again.
   Similarly continue this process.  Each player's notation does not 
have to be understandable for everyone.  If each player understands his/
her own notation and replays it later, any notation can be welcome.
   The length of each part does not have to be the same.  For example 
after the first player composes a 4-bar phrase of 4/4 meter, the second 
player can compose a 2-bar phrase of 7/8 or a 10-second-graphic-notated 
   Continue this process without any break until you can not find any 
space to write down on the paper.  When the paper is full, composition 
is finished.  Don't stop the process until the paper is full.  If you 
can't help going to the toilet, wait for your turn to compose.  During 
your turn you may go to the toilet quickly.  For musical reason having a 
break during composition is absolutely bad.
4) Performance
   For the performance, at first the first player starts his/her first 
part and hands the paper to the next player.  Then the next player 
starts playing his/her first part and hands the paper to the next player.  
Similarly keep the process until everyone plays every part.
   Consult and decide how to finish the music before the performance. 
In order to play fluently, practise the piece you composed according to 
the Shogi Composition many times before the performance.
   For example it takes 2 hours for composition and only 6 minutes for
   You may photocopy the paper for each performers.

Musical Scores for "Shogi Composition"
by Makoto Nomura
A few examples of written scores for Shogi Composition.

Members' manuscripts & works:

Appearance: From Euclidean Geometry to Topology
by Hideki Nakazawa

   Every art concerns both logic and sense, but the method art does 
logic more than sense.  For example, ordinary visual art is strictly 
dominated by its appearance which visual sense determines, while the 
method visual art is not always dominated by its appearance.  Rather, it 
is strictly dominated by its method or construction or logic.  To seek 
method art is to discard sense and to choose logic, that is, "from 
Euclidean geometry to topology" using the terms of geometry.
   Suppose there is a simple electric circuit which consists of a 
battery and a midget lamp and two cords which connects the battery and 
the lamp (*1).  If this circuit is an ordinary visual artwork, it 
matters greatly whether the cords are five inches long or seven inches 
long because they have different visual appearance.  The issue of 
whether five or seven may manifest the artsit's aesthetic value.  But if 
this circuit is a method visual artwork, it does not matter greatly 
whether five or seven because they have the same method or construction 
or logic as an electric circuit; the same electric current, the same 
voltage.  These two standpoints can be explained as: ordinary visual art 
is dominated by Euclidean geometry which treats quantity as well as form, 
while the method visual art is dominated by only topology which treats 
only form.
   CGs may be one of more familiar instances.  If you are an ordinary 
visual artist, it matters greatly whether you print a certain CG data in 
a five-inch square or in a seven-inch square because they have different 
visual appearance, that is, different quantity.  But if you are a method 
visual artist, it does not matter greatly whether five or seven because 
they are exactly the same as CG data, that is, form.
   Or, some of my artworks are text-based.  If I am an ordinary visual 
artist, it matters greatly what kind of font I use because they have 
different visual appearance.  But if I am a method visual artist, it 
does not matter greatly what kind of font because they are the same row 
of letters.  This is another example for the Euclidean geometry and 
topology.  Accessories are of Euclidean geometry, while order is of 
   I think this argument can be applied not only to visual art.  For 
example, musical performances are of Euclidean geometry, while musical 
compositions are of topology.
(*1) My new artworks are the series "Circuit."

Machine for Writing Poems
by Shigeru Matsui

   When poetry was born, the God existed.  The God was the 
personification of the outside world which could not be seen.  Phenomena 
beyond one's prediction seemed to be expressions of the God's will.  For 
instance, a natural phenomenon was the expression of the God's will.  
Therefore to write about transition of nature and seasons was to know 
the God's will.  They called it poetry what the God's will was written.  
And the God's words needed a different structure from general ones.
   In ancient Japan it was meter and repetition that mainly 
characterized the God's words.  As a result the fixed form of the verse 
was completed to know the God's will.  That is Waka, a Japanese 
traditional poem.  To write the God's will in characters and tell it to 
ordinary people was the duty of a man of religion and a statesman in the 
period of theocracy.  They were emperors and aristocrats in ancient 
Japan.  So they became writers of poems.
   The God's will was written in annual events performed at the turning 
of the seasons and funerals.  And those expressions were naturally 
stereotyped.  As time went on, the fixed form became dogmatized.  For 
example, they made a poem A at a natural phenomenon A' and a poem B at a 
natural phenomenon B'.  That became like a function.  The God's will was 
transformed automatically in accordance with the fixed form.  The 
expression of the God's will became fixed.  Emperors and aristocrats 
came to write poems not to know the God's will, but to guarantee their 
own existence. But the God has been dead since the 20th century.  In 
Japan the then Emperor denied his divinity in 1946.  That is to say the 
poetry has been dead, too.  But the form and the deed have remained as 
tradition.  If I am to concern myself with poetry in the stream of this 
history, I have to be no longer a part of the traditional form and the 
deed.  Therefore I have become a machine for writing poems.

Building a New Religion
by Masahiro Miwa

   Someone said, "I am jealous of religious people, I too would like to 
believe in something."  The strangeness of this statement comes from the 
fact that originally, the meaning of the word "believe" went beyond 
those of transitive verbs defined in respect to a subject influencing on 
a given object (*1).  In other words, "to believe," in essence, is 
neither active nor conscious, but denotes the state of lacking doubt.  
From this, it could be said that the person above believes in the fact 
that he has no religious belief.
   In this way, the belief that data streaming on the internet from some 
unknown origins could actually be a message from God is not something 
meant to be the object of scientific scrutiny (*2).  Even if, after 
having researched the IP address of the sender, it comes out that the 
data in question was actually intentionally generated by someone, this 
simply means to the believer that God worked through this person to get 
his message across.  To push the example further, manipulated by 
something that goes beyond human understanding (God), it is possible 
that the person who is sending the data himself, unknowing of the truth, 
might be utterly convinced that "this is a new form of musical 
presentation that I, myself, came up with." However, should he come to 
doubt this interpretation of his action, see it only as one possible 
explanation, or see it as the product of a certain faith in the concept 
that people act of their own free will, he would come to realize the 
real meaning of his daily goings; that might be said to be the birth of 
(*1) "Believe" is always a transitive verb in Japanese although it is 
an intransitive verb in some cases in English.
(*2) cf. Propaganda Broadcast from the Head Quarters of "The New Era"

Circuit No. 2 of a Regular Hexahedron Type
by Hideki Nakazawa
Batteries are  authorities, lamps are meanings, and the circuit is the 
device which incarnates authorities into meanings.  Series "Circuit" 
treats lines or form, not dots or color.  The form of "Circuit No. 2" is 
topologically congruent to a regular hexahedron (cube).  The exsistence 
of two batteries symbolizes the plurality of the authorities, that is, 
collage in the context of art.

Quantum Poem No. 50 - 60
by Shigeru Matsui
Works from September 3 to October 27.

Fragment, from "For All Time" for Harp
by Masahiro Miwa
A visual representation of the melodies from my harp piece, "For All 
Time."  All the pitches used in this piece are chosen only through a 
self-feedback algorithm.
cf. "For All Time" for Harp
(only in Japanese)


from Makoto Nomura
- My new CD "Semi" is going to be released from Steinhant in December, 
which includes 3 pieces: "Semi" (2000) for Javanese gamelan, "Semi Bongo" 
(2002) for koto ensemble by 31 musicians, and Shogi Composition 
piece by 21 musicians "Semi Ogura" (2002).
- P-blot, which is a keyboard harmonica quintet, holds a concert at 
Monnaka Tenjo Hall in Tokyo on January 12, and at Sazanka Hall in Nara 
on 16 March 2003. 
- P-blot is releasing its first CD in March. 
- My new piece for syamisen and marimba will be premiered on 8th March 
in Kyoto by Kazuko Takada and Mutsumi Tsuzaki. 
- Another new piece for koto duet will be premiered on 9th March 2003 by 
Naoko Kikuchi and Shin Ichikawa.

from Hideki Nakazawa
- I am now participating in ISCP in NYC.  I will be in USA for a year.
November 10 ... Open Studios as part of the Asian Contemporary Art Week.
December 13-14 ... ISCP Open Studio Exhibition.
- Solo show "Set" at SAI Gallery in Osaka is being held until November 9.
(Solo show "Circuit" at Gallery Cellar in Nagoya ended on November 2.)
- Group show "Tanagokoro 8" until November 23 at Roentgenwerke in Tokyo.
- Essay "The Third Surrealism, Its Contradiction ... Art Therapy's 
'Possibility'?" on the coming MOOK by Filmart (only in Japanese).
- Mails to and fro between Hiromi Unakami and I, the second round on 
the coming Korogi-Kirigirisu (only in Japanese).

from Shigeru Matsui
- Contributed to "Kitkat+"
- Contributed to "suigyu"
- Perfomance "READING" on December 7, 2002 (Tokyo)
- "About Method Poem" at Urawa Art Museum
"About Method Poem" is an event related to the exhibition "Melting Point: 
On Poetry and Sculpture" by poets and artists.  Perfomance and lecture 
programs are organized by Shigeru Matsui.
1. 'What is Method Poem?' at 2:00 pm on December 21, 2002.
2. 'One Hour for Poetry of Shigeru Matsui' at 2:00 pm on January 5, 2003.
3. 'The Recital: Method Poem and Surrounding Arts' at 2:00 pm on January 
19, 2003.

from Masahiro Miwa
- World first performance of; From "an administrative daily report by 
the office on day nursery, the department of social service, N city" for 
a cello and a computer, composed by The Formant Bros. (Masahiro Miwa & 
Nobuyasu Sakonda), will be performed by Yuu Nakata (vc) on December 19 
at Tokyo Opera City recital hall.

from "Method"
- Event "About Method Poem" ... see Shigeru Matsui's info.
- Back numbers
Guests up to the issue No. 16: Motoaki Shinohara, Toshiaki Furuya, 
Masahiro Miwa, Akira Tatehata, Kenjiro Okazaki, Haruyuki Suzuki, 
Tatsuhiko Ishii, Yutaka Matsuzawa, Yuji Takahashi, Shin Tanabe, 
Shigeyuki Toshima, Yasunao Tone, Yasuko Toyoshima, Clarence Barlow, 
John Solt, Takashi Murakami.
- Those who want to subscribe for this bulletin, contact the members.
- Volunteer assistants wanted for the activities of "Method."

Editor's notes:
   This is the fifth issue since Masahiro Miwa took over the member of 
"Method" from Tomomi Adachi, and also the first English-language edition 
of "Method."  During this time, through the Second Method Art Festival,
meetings with bimonthly guests, and individual activity of course, 
methodicism has been understood and criticised by a greater audience.  
Seeing this response as an asset, we feel that it will be possible to 
clarify the direction of methodicism in contemporary society and further 
its growth.  We hope you will look forward to our future developments! 


Bimonthly Bulletin "Method"  No. 17  published on November 3, 2002
Publisher: Hideki Nakazawa, Shigeru Matsui, Masahiro Miwa

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