Ikue Mori

Ikue Mori was born, raised, and lived in Japan until 1977 at which point she came to New York initially on an impermanent basis. Upon her arrival she became a member of the New York experimental music scene as drummer for the band DNA. Having had almost no prior musical training, Mori's arrival, retrospectively, seems rather serendipitous in that the artistic climate at the time had an interest in the results produced by "non-musicians" working in music. After the dissolution of DNA Mori remained in New York beginning her transition toward a more improvisatory approach to performance, as well as working with drum machines. Since then she has been working alone and collaboratively with artists like John Zorn, as well as working with the laptop as an instrument.

Mori with DNA
Mori performance and interview
Mori recording w/ Catherine Janiaux

My interest with Ikue Mori I think comes predominantly from 3 places. One is my background in working with music as an approach to art making, another is my interest in the operation and evolution of artistic movements and communities that exist (at least to an extent) outside of institutional settings, and the last being her work with improvisation. What intrigues me about improvisation is the idea that it can create a certain kind of distance between a piece of work and its author: the idea that one can decide a set of parameters for a project that will dictate the nature of further movements can be liberating in that it puts responsibility for the project on the framework rather than directly on the author. By creating a framework to operate in, individual movements also become less significant because they're continually working within the context of a larger thought. By removing this conceptual weight from individual ideas it allows them to function in almost mechanical ways, but also develop strong personalities when they fit within the larger structure.