Yasuhiro Morinaga

The Voice of Inconstant Savage

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This multifaceted, polyphonic and immersive sound installation by Yasuhiro Morinaga links the historical encounter of Portuguese culture with Japan, memories and myths that remain and co-exist with other minority cultures in the Amazon.

Yasuhiro Morinaga (Japan, 1980) is a sound artist and sound designer who has developed a particular interest in conducting ethnographic fieldwork and documenting sound and music internationally. As an artist, Morinaga has created installations and theatrical performances featuring an auditory culture. Morinaga’s immersive works encourage an awareness of the sound that is unnoticed in everyday life.

Commissioned for the ‘Engawa – Japanese contemporary art season’, ‘The Voice of Inconstant Savage’ (2023) is an immersive installation that theatrically juxtaposes a recitation based on a Portuguese missionary report in the 16th century, a chant of the ‘Kakure-Kirishitan’s Oratio’, which is rooted in Nagasaki Prefecture, a singing of the Karawara spirits of the indigenous Awá people living in the Amazon rainforest, and a chorus of Western Gregorian chant, questioning where the aesthetics of inconstancy lie in relation to the discourse of savagery that modern society is faced with. This work collates reports of missionary work by 16th-century missionaries to other cultures and constructs narratives through recitation, addressing impressionistic perspectives on the Japanese, indigenous peoples, and Portuguese (Western) peoples, forming a sonic tornado that undulates through time and space with Mother Earth. Morinaga explore the place of an “aesthetic of inconstancy” to create a society without discrimination, blowing away the savagery from the past to the present day.

The exhibition is designed to create a space recalling the small hidden “Nando” Room of the Kakure Kirishitan, a narrow space with a tatami floor that can accommodate three to five people. Visitors who take off their shoes at the entrance enter the dark exhibition space and sharpen their physical and auditory senses, stepping on fallen leaves with bare feet until they reach and sit on the tatami floor.

Engawa – A Season of Contemporary Art from Japan

‘Engawa’ is a programming that brings to Lisbon a set of creators from Japan and the Japanese diaspora, many of them for the first time in Portugal. More info



Emmanuelle de Montgazon
Rita Fabiana

Main image

Yasuhiro Morinaga recording 'Sole Oha' chanting of the Lamaholot people in Flores Island, Indonesia © Venti Wijayanti

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