Tomoko Sauvage, Japanese musician and artist active since mid 2000’s, investigates the sculpturality of sound and improvisation in relation to the environment. Mainly known for a musical / visual research about ‘natural synthesizer’ of her invention, composed with diverse fluid, bowls, ceramic, light and underwater amplification, Sauvage’s approach is attached to questions of alchemy, meditation and balance between hazard and mastery. Under the form of performances, installations and musical compositions, her work is regularly presented in Europe, Asia and America.
For more than ten years, Tomoko Sauvage has been investigating the sound and visual properties of water in different states, as well as those of ceramics, combined with electronics. China bowls of different sizes, filled with water and amplified via hydrophones (underwater microphones), waterbowls is a kind of natural synthesizer that generates fluid timbre using waves, drops and bubbles. These recipients resonate and also produce subaquatic feedback, an acoustic phenomenon that requires fine tuning depending on the amount of water, a subtle volume control and interaction with the acoustic space. Through primordial materials and playful gestures, Tomoko Sauvage searches for a fragile balance between randomness and discipline, chaos and order.
Born in Yokohama, Japan, Sauvage moved to Paris in 2003 after studying jazz piano in New York. Through listening to Alice Coltrane and Terry Riley, she became interested in Indian music and studied improvisation of Hindustani music. In 2006, she attended a concert of Aanayampatti Ganesan, a virtuoso of Jalatharangam – the traditional Carnatic music instrument with water-filled porcelain bowls. Fascinated by the simplicity of its device and sonority, Sauvage immediately started to hit China bowls with chopsticks in her kitchen. Soon her desire of immersing herself in the water engendered the idea of using an underwater microphone and led to the birth of the electro-aquatic instrument.
Under the form of performances, installations and musical compositions, her work is regularly presented in Europe, Asia and America. She has performed and exhibited at international festivals, institutions and galleries such as Roskilde Festival (Denmark), Flow Festival (Finland), Centre Pompidou Metz (France), Musée Quai Branly (France), Présences Electronique (France), Borderline Festival (Greece), Borealis Contemprary Music Festival (Norway), Museo Tamayo (Mexico), High Zero Festival (USA), Festival send+receive (Canada), Empty Gallery (Hong Kong), TÖNE festival (UK) and Grimmuseum (Germany). She has also been deeply connected to DIY art/ music scene and is more and more interested in educational projects. In 2016, her visual music project ‘Green Music’ started in collaboration with Francesco Cavaliere.
As of March 2018