Cinemage (2005 - 2007)
slide projection of still photo images with live improvised music

Cinemage refers "images for cinema"and"homage for cinema." On this project, I show still photo images by old-fashioned slide projections. At times, with music which is improvised by solo or duo guitarist(s), or without music, silent. Cinemage can be shown as a performance, or an installation in gallery space.

The visual images are snapshots taken from my daily life. I apply similar methods developed from my work as a composer, particularly the ongoing project Cassette Memories, in which I play field-recordings which I keep as a sound diary. By documenting fragments of my personal life, something is revealed in their accumulation. The meaning of the original events are stripped of their significance, exposing the architecture and essence of memory.

Although most photographers slice out a single moment in time to render an image as absolute, my visual images consist of a moment within a movement. The sensibility is essentially filmic. The photos are more like moving images than stills and the style is similar to Chris Marker's La Jetée. Projected on a screen, the images have the eerie familiarity of an out-of-focus memory and evoke a feeling of déjà vu.

For this project, Loren Conners, Alan Licht, Noël Akchoté, Jean-François Pauvros, and Oren Ambarchi play guitar as solo or duo along with my visuals. The music is equally important as the visual images, and not just accompaniment. These musicians have been examining the relationship between visuals and sound in other projects, and bring a deep understanding of its possibilities to Cinemage.


2007    After the Rain, color, 25 minutes
2007    Lost City, black & white, partially color, 35 minutes
2005    Something Which Wasn’t Said, black & white, 35 minutes


2009    Silent version, Uplink, Tokyo, Japan
            With Noël Akchoté at La Casa Encendida Cultural Centre, Madrid, Spain
            With Loren Connors at Lisa Cooley Fine Art, New York, USA
            With Noël Akchoté in International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Netherlands
2008    With Noël Akchoté and Jean-François Pauvros at Foundation Cartier, Paris, France
            With Jean-François Pauvros in Cimatics, Brussels, Belgium
            With Noël Akchoté in AURORA, Norwich, UK
            With Loren Connors in Media City at Detroit Film Center, Detroit, USA
2007    With Noël Akchoté and Jean-François Pauvros in Gent Film Festival at Vooruit, Gent, Belgium
            With Loren Connors and Alan Licht at Anthology Film Archives, New York, USA           
            With Noël Akchoté in Wiener Festwochen, Vienna, Austria
            With Oren Ambarchi and Alan Licht in Netmage, Bologna, Italy
2005    With Loren Connors and Alan Licht at Tonic, New York, USA  
            With Loren Connors and Alan Licht in Roulette Mixology Festival, New York, USA


2015    Aki Onda Lost City with Loren Connors and Alan Licht, Audio MER, Belgium


Aki Onda Lost City with Loren Connors and Alan Licht

Dusted, USA, 2015

Text by Bill Meyer

In Chis Marker's La Jetée, still images accompany a spoken soundtrack, highlighting the way that people perceive moments in isolation even though they are part of an endless flow of time. The effect of this technique was not lost on Aki Onda, whose work with photographs and cassette tapes of field recording made on his journeys around the world considers the meaning of frozen pieces of pasts by sharing them with strangers in distantly removed places and times.

Onda moved to New York not long before the towers came down on 9/11/01 and this process became a way to manage both the collective trauma he witnessed around him and the fulminating fear and jingoism that followed it. The result is Lost City, a series of images that he showed by screen projection with accompaniment by guitarists Loren Connors and Alan Licht. The effect of filtering the grain of black and white film through the projection process corresponds to the sounds they selected and they way they are registered on this LP, which constitutes a physical documentation of the project. The LP's packaging is elaborate, with the record, a big foldout poster of Onda's pictures, and a pamphlet all encased in a heavy plastic sleeve; it's a hefty thing, game to defy the cold facts of impermanence.

Onda chose well when he elected Loren Connors to soundtrack Lost City. Connors has spent a quarter century incorporating loss and memory into his art. He has composed odes to long-dead icons and paved-over New York neighborhoods, and on a more personal level his playing is an ongoing document of his quarter-century long task of living with Parkinson's disease. The recordings, one a duet with the indefatigable Licht from 2007 and the other a solo from 2005, include coughs and shuffling that betray the situation of the microphone nearer to the audience than the guitar amps. What you get is a magnification of distant sound, grainy and flicking, much like the projections of Onda's photos must have appeared. Reverberation, room sound, and silence all bleed together with the stark notes, feedback groans, and suspended chords. On the duo side, the music is violent, full of jagged curves and explosions. The presence of such events within the murky entirety of the music corresponds to the unavoidability of trauma in life.