MIZARU – Interactive Installation & Performance

MIZARU Installation

MIZARU is about life and death, and how the border between life and death exists everywhere. This border is happening every moment, we just don’t realize it because it’s hidden by so many things. The title, MIZARU, is the name of one of the three wise monkeys in Japanese culture, Mizaru Kikazaru Iwazaru, better known in English as See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil. The literal translation of MIZARU is “not to see.” In our piece we aim to remove the curtains, look directly at our own mortality, and hopefully become more alive in the process.

The installation is comprised of a large transparent structure/box, allowing all to see inside, nothing is hidden. When one enters the structure one is presented with a white wall. Upon touching it, the wall comes to life, creating 5 different worlds of visuals and sound, surrounding the user. This wall is the barrier between life and death.

The 5 worlds represent conceptually:

1. illusions (desires), 2. chains (being bounded), 3. fire/burning (destruction), 4. water (birth), 5. universe (truth).

The white wall is actually a piece of spandex stretched tight across a large frame. The spandex acts as a membrane sensitive to touch that people can push into and manipulate visuals and expressively play music. Once people go into the room and touch the spandex sheet this membrane suddenly springs to life with fiery visual patterns and music that shifts according to the depth and pressure of a person’s touch. The projection can be seen on both sides of the spandex sheet, and seen from all directions outside the structure.

MIZARU has been appeared at:

2013 Tribeca Performing Arts Center, NY

2013 Burning Man, NV

2014 Brooklyn Museum, NY

2015 Telfair Museum, GA

2015 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

2015 Macy Art Gallery/Columbia University, NY

2016 Mesa Art Center, AZ

Info about the videos
First Video – Touch interactive installation/MIZARU

Sample of each mode

Second Video – Performance at Brooklyn Museum of Art

A performance/installation for the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Jan. 4th, 2014. Dancers and the audience create/manipulate sounds and visuals by pressing into a spandex screen.

Concept: Kiori Kawai, Aaron Sherwood
Design/Direction: Kiori Kawai
Performance: Kiori Kawai, Masanori Asahara
Visuals, Programming: Michael Allison, Aaron Sherwood
Music: Aaron Sherwood

Video shot by Edwin Adkins
Thumbnail Photo: BKLYN1834
Third Video – Burning Man 2013

Installation/performance at Burning Man 2013

Concept, Design & Performance: Kiori Kawai
Concept, Music, Visuals & Programming: Aaron Sherwood
Visuals & Programming: Mike Allison
Architect: Xuedi Chen
Lead Build: John Capogna
Video: Tomochika Yano, Kaetsu Motomitsu
Photo: Momo Nakayama

Special thanks building team: Jack Kalish, Alexandra Diracles, Andy Sigler, Jun Kawai, Yusuke Danbara, Sarah Rothberg, Yotam Mann, Anne-Marie Lavigne, Adam Quinn, Aaron Vazquez, Noah Zerkin


MICRO – Performance with Interactive installation


MICRO explores the small universe that is our body and mind. It consists of an 8ft x 12 ft x 8ft structure that has 200 translucent balls hanging from the top of the structure, each ball containing a speaker. When a ball is bumped into it generates a unique sound, and lights up with one of 5 different colors. As people play with the balls they are engulfed by a symphony of lights and sounds surrounding them on all sides. MICRO was an honorarium installation at Burning Man 2014. Throughout the week, there were a number of dance performances with the piece. This video highlights a few excerpts from those performances.


Concept/Design/Creative Direction
Kiori Kawai

Concept/Music/Electrical Design
Aaron Sherwood

BettaLambertini, Logan Scharadin, Julia Montepagani,
Matthew Hardy, Joshua batson, Kris Seto, Elise Knudson, Kiori Kawai

Andy Sigler, Lisa Park, Rosalie Yu, Laura Chen,
Wyna Liu, Scott Horton, Mark Hebert, Elise Knudson, Chris Hallvik, Angela Orofino,
Momo Nakayama, Logan Scharadin, Julia Montepagani, Chelsea Southard, Ni Cai

Roy Rochlin, Talya Stein, Momo Nakayama

Guardian Angel
Eric Rosenthal

Special thanks
The Generator Inc., Camp Contact, River School Farm

Made possible with generous support from Burning Man.

MIZARU – stage performance

Mizaru Performance 2013

MIZARU was originally developed as a stage performance with 20 dancers, several interactive installations and multiple projections. It was created in residence at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in NYC from 2012 – 2013.

Choreographer: Kiori Kawai
Composer: Aaron Sherwood
New media artists: Aaron Sherwood, Mike Allison, Johann Diedrick

Performers: Kiori Kawai, Masanori Asahara, Marjolayne Auger, Kanako Yokota, Emi Ueda, Hsiao-Wei, Hsiao-Ting, Prema Kelley, Laurence Martin, Tia Huston, Sammy Donahue, Kashimi Asai, Pavel Y. Machuca-Zavarzin, Ayaka Habata, Suzanne Beahrs, Lauren Kelly, Shandoah Goldman, Arisa Kusumi, Peter Musante

Video shot by E. Adkins & C. Lopez
Photographer: Momo Nakayama

*This piece made possible in part with funding from the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, the Puffin Foundation and Huawei.

Water in the Desert – performance

Water in the Desert

“Water in the Desert” is a multimedia/dance/music performance developed in residence at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center from 2011 – 2012.

The story line follows a fragmented and disillusioned people as they decide to search within themselves for answers they can’t find without. They eventually realize that we’re all a part of nature, even in the urban life. In the performance, dancers’ movements make visuals in real time, as well as creating and controlling sound. Musicians improvise along with the sounds that the dancers are creating.
2012 Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Artist in Residency Program


Concept, dance/visual director: Kiori Kawai

Music composer/director, new media programming: Aaron Sherwood


Dance: Ching-I Chang, Kevin Ho, Masanori Asahara, Marjolayne Auger, Kiori Kawai

Voice: Amy Carrigan

Violine: Jason Kao Hwang

piano: Jesse Lynch

Photograph: Momo Nakayama