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Exhibition information

The 333rd Exhibition phono/graph -@sound, letters, graphics

May 09, 2014 - May 31, 2014

Design: Takuya Minami / Softpad
Design: Takuya Minami / Softpad
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In May, ginza graphic gallery (ggg) will stage an exhibition entitled gphono/graph—sound, letters, graphics.h

As the pace of technology development has accelerated in recent years, we have entered an era where a host of media, including music/audio, letters, images, and videos, is available for everyone to share equally.

The graphic design environment is also changing drastically. Three years ago Yukio Fujimoto curated an exhibition by five inspired creators, including himself, at ddd gallery in Osaka offering a panoramic view of new possibilities in the fields of sound, art, and graphics. The exhibition was subsequently staged in Dortmund (Germany), Nagoya, and Kyoto. New content has now been added for the forthcoming Tokyo exhibition, offering the chance to see many experimental works that transcend the genres of visual and aural expression.


ginza graphic gallery (ggg)
DNP Ginza Building, 7-2, Ginza 7-chome, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061
Tel: +81-3-3571-5206
11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m. on Saturdays)
Closed on Sundays and national holidays
Entry is free of charge

Gallery Talk

4:00–5:30 p.m., Friday May 9, 2014
Speakers: Yukio Fujimoto, Lyota Yagi, Yusuke Mimasu
3rd floor, DNP Ginza Building
Reservation required: limited to 70 persons


If Edison had been born before Gutenberg, books might have been distributed as sound recordings.

In 1877, Thomas Edison, the king of inventors, created a device capable of recording, storing, replaying, and duplicating fleeting sound like a photograph captures visuals. He called his invention a gphonograph,h in contrast to a gphotograph.h We are now in an era when the output of a gphonographh can be treated like a photograph. This necessitates a new relationship between sound and letters.

As the main character in the novel Tomorrowfs Eve by Villiers de LfIsle-Adam, the inventor Edison laments:
gWhat is most surprising in history, almost unimaginable, is that among all the great inventors across the centuries, not one thought of the Phonograph!h
Tomorrowfs Eve, translated by Robert Martin Adams

The reason for this dismay on the part of Edison, father of the phonograph, is that his invention was based on such simple principles:
gA steel stylus, a leaf of silver foil or something like it, a cylinder of copper, and one could fill a storehouse with all the voices and noises of Heaven and Earth.h
Translated by Robert Martin Adams

If Edison had been born before Gutenberg, the society we live in would have been very different. Marshall McLuhan suggested that media are extensions of ourselves, and if our world of visual information via print had been substituted for one of auditory information via record, we would have extended in different ways.

Letters were originally records carved into rocks and clay. Sound was also recorded by being gcarvedh into the face of a record. Carved letters can be seen, and type can be touched. We can also see the sound grooves carved into the face of a record. If we trace them with our fingernails, we can hear a faint sound.

gphono/graphh is an exhibition exploring new relationships between sound and letters.

Today we see sound and listen to pictures. The artists of Italyfs Futurism movement proposed and experimented with this concept a century ago. One hundred years later, easy access to audio-visual devices has enabled us to express ourselves freely.

In this exhibition, ginza graphic gallery presents works by artists who transcend the genres of visual and audio expression to gracefully engage with sound, letters, and graphics in multifaceted and flexible ways.

Words originally existed in aural space as voices, but with the discovery of letters and the emergence of printing technology, they moved into visual space. Now, in the 21st century, technological change is requiring new spaces for our eyes and ears. By flexibly and skillfully using their eyes and ears, creators and audiences are taking the first steps down the path to an unknown world of words.

gPrimitive and pre-alphabet people integrate time and space as one and live in acoustic, horizonless, boundless, olfactory space, rather than in visual space. Their graphic presentation is like an x-ray.h
Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage