Chisato Minamimura

Deaf for 4’33’’ |Firstsite, Colchester

Chisato Minamimura at East London Dance. Photo by Greg Goodale

Chisato’s intervention, Deaf for 4’33”, is a performance which takes its title from John Cage’s three-movement composition 4’33”. Cage’s score instructs the musicians to not play their instruments for the duration of the piece, and invites the audience to listen to the sounds in the environment. This intervention is a recreation of this score from Chisato’s Deaf perspective, offering alternative ways to hear, listen or feel the sounds in this score.

“I am interested in the world of sound and how we access and move around within it, both as hearing and d/Deaf individuals. I am always struck by the way that sounds can transport hearing people to memories, places, or specific times in their life. Their descriptions tend to start with, “this sounds like…” or “it reminds me of…”. As a Deaf person who is trying to acquire a sense of what a sound is, this description can sometimes be confusing, but it is also revealing how complex sounds can be. The description is always different depending on who I ask, and their relationship to the sound. This highlights to me as a Deaf person, that sound and the experience of sound is subjective and unique. By recreating this John Cage piece, I hope to highlight these different sound experiences, and in doing so, also show the d/Deaf perspective of sound.” Chisato Minamimura.

About Chisato

Chisato Minamimura is Deaf performance artist, choreographer and BSL art guide, born in Japan, now based in London. Chisato has created, performed and delivered dance workshops in over 40 locations across 20 countries, including 3 years (2003-2006) as a company member of Candoco. Previously, she has performed in aerial works with Graeae Theatre, and as part of the London Paralympic Opening Ceremony, 2012 and Rio, 2016 Paralympic Cultural Olympiad.

Chisato’s artistic work explores ideas which centre on presenting authentic voices and in finding ways of artistically representing alternative perspectives in sensorial ways. She approaches choreography from her unique perspectives as a Deaf artist, creating what she calls ‘visual sound/music’. Through this work, Chisato has developed an understanding of vibro-technology, implementing this to find ways of presenting soundscapes to d/Deaf and hearing audiences. Alongside international artists working in sound, projection, vibration and animation, Chisato often uses mathematical scores to create choreography, enhancing the experience of dance without music.

Chisato is currently developing her practice and knowledge of Visual Vernacular (VV). VV is a unique physical performance technique with elements of poetry, dance and mime, primarily performed by international Deaf artists. This emotive style combines movement, iconic signs, with gestures and expressions, capturing descriptive meaning in all its visual complexity. By experimenting with speed, role shifting and rhythm, this choreographic style allows Deaf artists to use movement to poetically convey narrative. It is largely unknown in the UK, but Chisato hopes to develop this accessible artform further, and can be seen to use this in her performance, Scored in Silence.

Twitter: @CMinamimura

Instagram: @chisatominamimura


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