Eye On: Symbols and Rituals
7 January 2013
Symbols and Rituals is the NYC-based creative studio of Eri Nagasaka and Nanse Kawashima. Prolific and diverse, the two work widely across the fields of art, design, and fashion. For the holidays, The Avant/Garde Diaries commissioned the two to create an immersive and light-filled installation that both enchanted and confounded the viewer. “Toward the Light” was the result, and if you couldn’t swing by during the holiday break to see for yourself, take a peek at the film above which captures the installation and our little party to celebrate it. Below, Kawashima answers a few questions about the methodology behind the installation and about the background of S+R.
Given your wildly diverse output, tell us what’s inspired you recently.
Our recent inspiration has been about systematic organization. It's found in math, nature, everywhere! And it’s often so beautiful. Some of the things that pertain to the types of systematic organization we get inspired by are light, form, dance, people versus space, stasis versus movement, balance. Michael Clark is also inspiring to us right now, in terms of stage design, dance choreography, and costumes.
Tell us where the inspiration for your piece, “Toward the Light,” in The Avant/Garde Diaries project space came about.
We've always been inspired by the character of light – some of it sneaky, some of it bright and right in your face. It's also fascinating how light reacts and co-exists with form, and the shadows created by their presence together. It sounds so fundamental, but there's a lot to explore there, sculpturally. The Avant/Garde Diaries installation was an exciting way for us to explore those elements and to experiment with the various layers of lighting effects that we could achieve using skeletal form and reflective materials.
In what way was the piece informed by the space itself, and perhaps the brand, versus the holidays or wintertime?
We wanted to take advantage of the floor to ceiling window at The Avant/Garde Diaries space and create bold skeletal shapes with the addition of warm fading lights and gold reflective materials. The use of well proportioned and bold geometric shapes rendered in a minimal, almost skeletal form also echoed The Avant/Garde Diaires’ logo. The large reflective background also gives the illusion of multiplying the forms, which gives it more dimension. The warm lights are certainly a nod to the season, but really we were more interested in how linear light would interact with the gold mirrored planes of these forms and create infinite reflections that would interrupt the planes of the figures and provide an unexpected rhythmic dimension and beauty. The slow fade of the lights on and off, programmed at different speeds, helps to accentuate the deeper dimension of the images infinitely reflected in the two-way mirrors.
Briefly taking a step backwards, tell me how S+R began.
Eri and I met through mutual friends. We’ve always been inspired by each other’s career backgrounds, which are fashion and interior design. Our collaboration started organically in January 2011. We had no name or agenda. We just started making sculptural objects and jewelry together, and collecting old books and bric-a-brac. Our collection grew, and a friend hosted a curated pop-up shop at her home in the spring of 2011. The response was really positive, and we continued to get great feedback and interest from friends and people who visited our studios and saw the collection. The objects we find are from various places and unexpected sources, including our families’ homes in Japan and England, and flea markets in New York or Belize. I think the fact that some of the objects that we gravitate towards come from such disparate sources yet really resonate together, keeps us and those who respond to the work engaged and enthusiastic. The name Symbols and Rituals came from our shared desire to pursue this visual language, and to clarify what resonates for us as creative people.
And where do you see S+R in five years?
We'd like to keep creating installations of course but also continue to do more lifestyle, art, and design related projects. Something we'd like to achieve by then is to create environments for performance and stage–costumes, sets, etc. It would also be great to have a store/space that represents who we are so that we can share and exchange ideas with others.
Learn more about Symbols and Rituals HERE.
"Toward the Light" video produced by Brady Welch / Filming & editing by Kohichi Ogasahara / Music by Robert Gayler