Alan Nakagawa is a sound and interdisciplinary artist based in Los Angeles, CA. Interested in the tactility of sound, audio memory and the history of hearing, he has invented a series of participatory sculpture projects that focus on how we hear, how sound frequencies help define architecture and how auditory technology has played a role in defining our history. He has also incorporated his skills in oral history and field recording into his art practice, using stories and environmental sounds into sound installations and new media projects. He has recorded at some of the most iconic and eclectic sites in the world, including La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, the Watts Towers in Los Angeles and soon the Atomic Dome in Hiroshima, Japan.
His career is equally interesting having worked as an arts administrator for Metro Art, the public art program for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority for almost 25 years, as well as co-founding the arts collective Collage Ensemble and producing and curating the Ear Meal Webcast, a six-year project that documents the Los Angeles Experimental Music and Sound Art community. In the summer of 2015 his love for sound led him to be invited to research the history of the hearing aid at the Smithsonian Museum of American History
Nakagawa is currently in residence at the Getty Villa, and is working on a large scale sound work with the Atomic Dome/ City of Hiroshima and the Center for Land Use Interpretation. Read on to hear more about what makes him tick—and clack and hum and ping!
MOST KNOWN FOR: Very noisy art.
HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR COFFEE?
"While having the honor of spending the summer of 2015 at the MacDowell Art Colony in Peterborough New Hampshire, I couldn't help but do a short piece regarding the Peterborough Basket Companywww.peterborobasket.com . They create the basket, in this turn of the century type of way that uses machinery and techniques from the past, by hand, everyday. Such baskets are used daily at MacDowell. Each lunch time, lunch baskets filled with delicious meals are delivered to each artist studio. It's incredible. The sound you hear in this piece are all from the making of such baskets."
NAME SOMETHING YOU LOVE.
I love riding my bike because it’s just the right speed to get from point A to B, yet enjoy the environment between A and B.
WHAT IS KEY TO YOUR PROCESS?
Listening and expressing within my true voice.
WHAT ARE YOUR DREAM PROJECTS?
To compose for bats and porpoises. To do a project with one of the Great Pacific Garbage Patches.
WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE?
I have a large 1913 house and am developing a butterfly sanctuary, so I’m living where I want to live.
ON YOUR DEATHBED, LAST MEAL IN LA?
Capitol Burger cheeseburger with chili fries and a chocolate shake.