The Canadian Art Database
 

   
VIDEO PORTRAITS

Nobuo Kubota

Video clips © CCCA & Linda Corbett_Eyeris Inc. 2007
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Connections

Nobuo Kubota is firmly rooted in two worlds. He comes from a long line of samurai but was born and educated in Canada. In 1970, after receiving his architecture degree and working in the field, he decided to travel to Japan and study Zen Buddhism. In this clip Nobuo traces his connections to architecture, minimalist sculpture, and the legacy of eastern and western ideas behind his work.


connections.flv / running time: 8:40
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Chant

"Getting in touch with nature" was always a part of Japanese culture. In the west, the concept emerged as a major theme of the hippy movement in the 1960's. "The whole idea of becoming one with nature" brought Nobuo to do three pieces, Chant, Tocroc, and Roctoc. In his fourth piece, Fermentacio, he explored the idea of transformation by placing an image of himself inside an "alchemist's" bottle.

chant.flv / running time: 3:34
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Phonic

In this clip Kubota explains how the idea of "intermedia" originated by Samuel Taylor Coleridge has had an effect on his work. Intermedia is the "movement of an idea from one form, continuing into another form". With that in mind, he describes the transformation of his sculpture Phonic Loaf, into Phonic Slices, then into Phonic Rubbings, and finally into a vocal score. Likewise, the piece Deep Text "became a moving score" depending on the viewer's point of view. In Phonic Traces, Kubota physically deconstructed the alphabet assigning new sounds to each of the fragmented letters, which he then proceeded to sing.



phonic.flv / running time: 6:46
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Essence

"The making of art is the most important thing", says Nobuo. That's when he's "really alive". He doesn't show his work that often, and has "recycled" many of his major pieces without regret. Once a piece is finished, his audience is his wife, his friends, and the public, in that order.

essence.flv / running time: 3:05
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Symmetry

Kubota's newest works draw again on his architectural roots. These sculptures are really an "investigation into structure" where objects can transform themselves in many different ways. Repetition and symmetry are at the heart of these shapes. After the cubist period and into the modernist period symmetry was "forgotten or even frowned upon", but Kubota "would like to revive it".

symmetry.flv / running time: 3:27
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Music

A major part of Nobuo Kubota's creative work has been his multimedia approach to music. Beginning with the Artist's Jazz Band founded by Dennis Burton in 1962, this group of visual artists took their favorite jazz pieces and reproduced them "as abstract expressionism". Next he was involved in the foundation of the CCMC (Canadian Creative Music Collective) and the Music Gallery, in the 1970's. But after a problem with his hearing, Kubota had to leave the "huge sound" of those bands behind. The Four Horsemen introduced him to sound poetry and the dynamic, free expression of the voice. Adapting his chanting and scat vocalizations, he has developed his own individual vocal style..

music.flv / running time: 7:19
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Performance

In this rare recorded clip, Nobuo Kubota treats us to an original improvisational sound performance piece. A combination of chanting and scat, Kubota's unique musical style has been called sound poetry, and sound singing. He prefers to call himself a vocalist. No two of his performances are the same.

performance.flv / running time: 7:04
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