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Kioto Aoki striking two large upright drums
Courtesy of the artist

Soundtrack: Kioto Aoki

Kioto Aoki will perform a solo taiko set that unfolds across multiple locations throughout the museum. Aoki’s taiko practice is informed by the Japanese concept of ma, loosely translated as a generative pause, gap, or interval—an emptiness that contains energy, feeling, and meaning. During this Soundtrack, the artist will foreground elements of performance that often go overlooked: the silences between beats, the spaces between sites, and the physical fatigue resulting from intensive artistic labor.

About the Event

Soundtracks offer contemporary sound-based artists the opportunity to transform your MCA experience on select Tuesdays with custom soundscapes responding to works on view in the museum. Soundtrack: Kioto Aoki is organized by Nolan Jimbo, Marjorie Susman Curatorial Fellow and the Performance and Public Practice team.

About the Artist

Kioto Aoki is a Chicago-based artist, educator, and musician descending from the Toyoakimoto performing arts family, whose roots date back to the Edo period. Studying under her Tokyo-born father, she carries on this musical lineage in Chicago, where she plays taiko, shamisen, and tsuzumi. Her practice retains the artistic and aesthetic integrity of traditional Japanese music while allowing for more flexible contemporary interpretation. Her performances challenge the common misinterpretation of percussion as rhythm, often using stoic gestures, sonic textures, abstracted soundscapes, and embodied phrasing that incorporates choreography as part of the melody. Musical projects include Tatsu Aoki's The MIYUMI Project, Yoko Ono’sSKY LANDING, and Experimental Sound Studio's Sonic Pavilion Festival, among others.