Tomoko Sauvage

For more than ten years, Tomoko Sauvage has been investigating the sound and visual properties of water in different states, as well as those of ceramics, combined with electronics. Porcelain bowls of different sizes, filled with water and amplified via hydrophones (underwater microphones): “waterbowls” is a kind of natural synthesizer that generates fluid timbre using waves, drops and bubbles. These recipients resonate and also produce subaquatic feedback, an acoustic phenomenon that requires fine tuning depending on the amount of water, a subtle volume control and interaction with the acoustic space. With primordial materials and playful gestures, Tomoko Sauvage searches for a fragile balance between randomness and discipline, chaos and order. Born in Yokohama, Japan, Sauvage moved to Paris in 2003 after studying jazz piano in New York. By listening to Alice Coltrane and Terry Riley, she became interested in Indian music and studied improvisation of Hindustani music. In 2006, she attended a concert by Aanayampatti Ganesan, a virtuoso of Jalatharangam – the traditional Carnatic music instrument with water-filled porcelain bowls. Fascinated by the simplicity of its device and sonority, Sauvage immediately started to hit China bowls with chopsticks in her kitchen. Soon her desire of immersing herself in the water engendered the idea of using an underwater microphone and led to the birth of the electro-aquatic instrument. Her work is presented regularly as performances, installations and musical compositions in Europe, Asia and America. Tomoko Sauvage has also been deeply connected to the DIY art/music scene and is more and more interested in educational projects.