Kioto Aoki // 青木希音

Kioto is a visual artist and educator using the material specificity of the analogue image and image-making process to explore modes of perception as a politics of vision. Her photographic work oscillates between the still and the moving image, attentive to the apparatus of the human eye and the camera; while installation and artist book works engage mechanisms of structural tangibility and site-specificity. Forming a rhetoric of nuanced quietude, her practice considers the intimacies of vision through the experience of sight from inception through presentation. 

Kioto is also a musician, descending from an okiya (geisha house) performing arts family in Tokyo –Toyoakimoto– with roots dating back to the Edo period. Studying under her Tokyo-born father, Kioto is carrying on the artistic family lineage in Chicago, playing in both traditional and contemporary musical contexts. She specializes in Japanese traditional music, playing taiko, tsuzumi, and shamisen and has been performing professionally since age 7. Kioto is active within the experimental and creative music communities in Chicago and the Bay Area and leads Tsukasa Taiko, the Japanese drumming department at Asian Improv aRts Midwest. 

She has exhibited in Chicago, Berlin, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London and Japan. Her work is held in the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Library. Musical projects include Yoko Ono’s SKYLANDING, Tatsu Aoki’s The MIYUMI Project, The Reduction Ensemble, and the Taiko Legacy / Reduction series at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Kioto is also a multi-year Ethnic and Folk Arts Master Apprentice Program Awardee from the Illinois Arts Council. Curatorial projects include the ongoing Chicago Obihiro Exchange Project, an initiative to cultivate international dialogue between contemporary artists from the Tokachi Region in Japan and Chicago.