Born in 1963 in Tokyo (Japan)
He has lived and studied in the U.S. at Harvard University, the Peabody Conservatory, and Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics.
Atau Tanaka's research focuses on sensory input based instruments, which he integrates into installation and networked performances.
He was groundbreaking in adopting as early as 1990 the Biomuse process, a system of electromyogramatic input devices that turns the body into a multi-media instrument.
In 1992, he received a grant to live in the Cité des Arts (Paris) and work at Ircam. He was also an artist in residence at the STEIM and the V2, and an 'artistic ambassador' for Apple Europe, to pursue his research on interactive music. In 1997, he moved back to Tokyo to work at the NTT International Communication Center.
He is currently a researcher at the Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Paris. He has received several prizes, as well as the support of the GMD/Fraunhofer Society, and the Fondation Daniel Langlois, for his work on networked musical installations.
As an artist-professor invited to Le Fresnoy this year, Atau Tanaka plans to further develop an existing project entitled 'Bondage'.
'Bondage' began as a musical score based on the photographs of Japanese artist Noboyushi Araki. These photographs are scanned and analyzed by a dedicated software program which turns the pixels of the images into sound samples. Each photographs thus becomes a 'sonogram' which represents the sound spectrum of the resulting music. The visual world becomes an aural world... The initial graphic transformation leads to the sound creation.
The photographs can undergo several transformations to create different sound samples that are then introduced into the musical score.
An first version of 'Bondage' was released on CD on the Touch/ash and Bip-hop labels. An installation version will be worked out for Le Fresnoy, involving Japanese sliding paper walls used as projection screens to surround the spectators with sounds and images.
This version will be shown at Le Fresnoy's Panorama 4, and will then tour several museums in the U.S. under the supervision of Kathleen Forde through the "Independent Curators International" organization.