Kioto Aoki // 青木希音

Kioto Aoki is an artist and educator using the analogue image and image-making process in photography and cinema to consider the intimacies of sight and relativity. Responding to and formed by observations and experiences of the everyday, she forms a rhetoric of nuanced quietude that explores various mechanisms of spatial and visual acuity. Her photographic work often oscillates between the still and the moving image, attentive to the apparatus of the human eye and the camera. The conceptual vernacular of her work withholds a narrative, redirecting one’s attention circles back to the body in space and time. The body activates, holds, and navigates the propositions of the analogue image through books and installations which engage notions of structural tangibility and site-specificity. A philosophy of attentiveness, a practical and simultaneously idealized slowness is used to recalibrate time as a lexicon of visual phenomenology: a dialogue of subtlety and playful implications.

Kioto is also a musician descending from the Toyoakimoto performing arts family with roots dating back to the Edo period. Studying under her Tokyo-born father, she carries on a simultaneous musical artistic lineage in Chicago, playing taiko, shamisen and tsuzumi. Her musical practice maintains a balance of retaining the artistic and aesthetic integrity of traditional Japanese music with a musical flexibility that extends beyond the measures of cultural preservation. Her playing is informed by the Japanese aesthetics of ma while challenging the common misinterpretation and beliefs of percussion as rhythm, and uses often stoic gestures of sonic textures, abstracted soundscapes and embodied phrasing that incorporates choreography as part of melody. 

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, Experimental Sound Studio’s Sonic Pavilion Festival, and Soundtrack at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Curatorial projects include the ongoing Chicago Obihiro Exchange Project and 思考回路•Shikoukairo: Patterns of Thought which reframes the conversation around Asian & Asian-American cultural diegesis in the arts. | @photoandkioto