But the Japanese Ikeda, now in his 40s, is a bona fide legend in experimental-music circles, and his audiovisual projects, shown internationally with increasing prevalence over the last decade, are arguably among the best of their kind. Indeed, Ikeda has been at the forefront of contemporary art since the 1990s—when he collaborated with the important Kyoto-based artist collective Dumb Type, for instance—and is not difficult to exhibit, for his practice revolves around making sound both as visual and as tactile as possible.
DHC/ART divides its survey of Ikeda’s work into two parts and, accordingly, over its two spaces. In its main space, there is a focus on more traditional art objects under the heading “systematics.” Here are Ikeda’s works on paper, sculptures, lightboxes and other objects which reveal, and make concrete or even reimagine, various data systems.
In DHC/ART’s satellite space, a “datamatics” program, named after an ongoing project of Ikeda’s begun in 2006, highlights the artist’s most spectacular side. Previously shown at venues such as London’s Barbican, the titular audiovisual piece is aptly described in DHC/ART’s press material as “symphonic.”
Expect extremes: a large projection with, at turns, minimal and maximal abstract digital visioning of grids and networks; and an accompanying soundtrack that, true to Ikeda’s aesthetic, explores a range of frequencies, from shrill to thudding. Spectacular by nature, it’s essentially a thinking person’s amusement-park ride or planetarium show—and one of Montreal’s imperative summer art events.