Erika Matsunami

Germany (residence), Japan (citizenship) °1963
research interests: spatial perception and cognition, transversal aesthetics, spatial aesthetic

 *1963 in Hiroshima, Japan, lives and works in Berlin, Germany (Permanent Residence Title since 2005) as an independent transmedia artist engaged in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary artistic research. Her profession is visual artist, sound composer, choreographer, and artistic researcher. She graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in liberal arts at the KAW – Aesthetic Education/Art and Cultural Studies / Institute for Art in Context at the Berlin University of the Arts in Germany in 1997. In her professional education from 2009–2010 and 2011–2012 (2012/13), she researched as a guest auditor under the honorary professor Dr Martin Supper in the Faculty of Music, at the Berlin University of the Arts.

She transforms autobiographical experiences and motives from her social environment into an artistic context and creates projects with different mediums. Her works comprise a spectrum of both themes and media that spans from sculpture and photography by way of video (audiovisual), sound composition and performance art to mixed-media installations. Her auditory work in the installation is a kind of secondary space and time that is not synchronised, and that is probably a topologically manifold connecting to the visual space.



2019– IGBK (Internationale Gesellschaft der Bildenden Künste/International Association of Art)/UNESCO, Germany, membership: individual

2016 – 2019 (at the end of March 2020)/2024– The International Dance Council CID, UNESCO, Paris, France, membership: individual

2011– GEMA, Germany, Professional group: composer / Author

2008 – 2018 GEDOK (Federation of Women Artists and Patrons of the Arts), discipline: Fine Arts / IGBK (Internationale Gesellschaft der Bildenden Künste/International Association of Art), Germany

2005 – VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany, Professional Group I


2022– Swiss Artistic Research Network (SARN)

2020 (November)–2021/2022 (21. March)– The American Society for Aesthetics (ASA)

2018– The Society for Artistic Research (SAR)

2016– The European Society for Aesthetics (ESA)

2016– The Nordic Society for Aesthetics (NSA)

2015– The British Society of Aesthetics (BSA)

2012– The research catalogue that is provided by the Society of Artistic Research (SAR)



  • Erika Matsunami (1997)
    Degree: Master, Faculty of Fine arts, liberal arts, KAW – aesthetic education / art and cultural studies / Institute for Art in Context, Berlin University of the Arts (Germany), recipient: Erika Matsunami
    Artistic social advertising: the metallization and visual language in the medium video and photography (performativity), the comparing of artistic social advertising in Germany, Japan, and USA in the 1990s. Medienkampagne/media campaign: Gegen sexuelle Gewalt an Frauen und Mädchen/Against sexual violence towards women and girls – Videoclip FEEL (Im Rahmen des Projektes „Abbau von sexueller Gewalt an Frauen und Mädchen“, Institut für Kunst im Kontext, UdK Berlin) Autor: Matsunami, Erika --- Postgraduate professional education: 2009–2010 the college of music, guest auditor under honorary professor Dr. Martin Supper, Universität der Künste Berlin (Berlin University of the Arts) 2011–2012 the college of music, guest auditor under honorary professor Dr. Martin Supper, Universität der Künste Berlin (Berlin University of the Arts)


Exposition: One Motorbike, One Arm, Two Cameras (01/01/2015) by Ainara Elgoibar
Erika Matsunami 14/03/2015 at 10:05

Computerised Motion by the Notion as Visual Composition


- Contemplation for the video work ‘One Motorbike, One Arm, Two Cameras’ (2014) by Ainara Elgoibar


“The idea of creating a video work, ‘One Motorbike, One Arm, Two Cameras’ (2014) by Ainara Elgoibar, that explores the question of how an industrial robotic arm would see a handmade product, is used as a pretext to generate a meeting point for different agents in the framework of the production of an art project entitled ‘To Shoot And to Surround’ (2013).”


It is a film event built on the idea of dislocation in the common uses of its leading actors: a motorbike restored to be a museum piece, an industrial robotic arm programmed to produce the image of something that was fabricated with a pre-robotic sensitivity, and a sculpture for a history without a monument (Ainara Elgoibar, ‘One Motorbike, One Arm, Two Cameras’, Research Catalogue, 2014).



A two-channel video shows us moving images reconstructed with details of a motorcycle that were taken from a programmed robot (robotic arm). By programmed awareness of the robot’s shooting, the object ‘motorbike’ is abstracted, which characterises that these moving pictures are sterile (that the thereby resulting motion pictures are sterile). The unemotional noise of the machine (robot) was edited together as background sound of this video. I’d like to have an opportunity to learn more about this two-channel video installation. What is very important to consider about this work is the sound. I’d like to know whether this sound is stereo or multi-channel, and more. Thus the figurative abstraction is reinforced by this minimal noise and also as a subversion of the illusion.


Parallel to his two-channel video I think about ‘minimal music’, One + One (1968); the composition by Philip Glass “consists of the two rhythmic components in ‘continuous, regular arithmetic progression’1 put together and realised by striking the hands on a table without that Glass has explicitly given mathematical structure” (Minimal Music, Ulli Götte, 2002). In contrast to the composition One + One (1968) by Philip Glass I contemplate for the work ‘One Motorbike, One Arm, Two Cameras’ (2014) by Ainara Elgoibar – which is a musical composition while the other is an audiovisual composition – an auditory representation and visual representation, musical and (photo-)graphically, fertile and sterile, emotional and unemotional in the minimal structures, in both compositions mathematical structures are explicated in their notions. The ideas are presented as a work or piece; one was produced by a robotic arm while the other was created by the hands of a human but both were conceptualized by the human.


Minimalism in the visual arts: “There are two distinct terms: the known constant and the experienced variable”, Morris maintained, touching on the philosophical dichotomy of knowing and seeing. “You see a shape – these kinds of shapes with the kind of symmetry they have – you see it, you believe you know it, but you never see what you know, because you always see the distortion and it seems that you know in the plan view.”2 Arnheim3, however, suggested that the brain compensates for or corrects what the eyes see (Minimal Art – The Critical Perspective, Frances Colpitt, 1990). In a way of thinking of minimalism, it is possible to reduce the attribute and to reinforce the message and the perception of the arts; the minimalism is thus a complete art form. But on the other hand the expression and image logic is rejected in minimalism by automating the production. Of course, technology gives us more and more new opportunities that not only serve as a function, but rather (life-) styles and concepts can be developed by new ways of thinking. Whatever is indicated, however, our basic existence is not changed by technology; we live and we die as the law of nature wants.

After the digital revolution of Minimal Art today, minimalism is a kind of reflection of contemporary society. I think simultaneously of humanity in the digital industrial system. The question is what art presents to us and what we see and understand what is made visible with art.


“With reproduction as the moment of individuality, the living being posits itself as an actual individuality, a self-related being-for-self; but at the same time it is a real relation outwards, the reflection of particularity or irritability towards an other, towards the objective world. The process of life, which is enclosed within the individual, passes over into a relation to the presupposed objectivity as such, in consequence of the fact that when the individual posits itself as a subjective totality, the moment of its determinateness as a relation to externality becomes a totality as well” (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Science of Logic).4

For a long time people have dealt with humanity and its existence. Art has assumed an important role as a visualization of thinking. However, art not only has the iconographic character to be a symbolization, expression and representation, but it also influences the human psychology in relation to the brain and the individual perception and emotion, etc.

For example, Zeki5 claims: “Yet no one has been able to relate the variability in artistic creativity and appreciation to any given brain structure or process, partly because no one knows the neural processes underlying the creative impulse or brain variability. And yet these differences in brain organization, whatever they may turn out to be, are superimposed on a common plan that is characteristic of all brains. It is this common organization that allows us to communicate through art and about art without using the written or spoken word.”6

In the case of the mathematical information as creation which is provided by the digital sensors of the computer and the programmed idea or the concept that arises from the idea of the human, and when this artwork (information of image) enters through the brain, according to this, I start to contemplate on the automatization (programmed recording without human eyes – “without seeing”) and also reflect on their creation (what is robotic creation).

The creation of visual art is a kind of intensive non-verbal “communication” that remains of the statement on the work of Elgoibar, or it could also “not remain” a statement of his work, it’s thereby made us descriptive or perspicuous about the technology in human life; what “alive, mortal and fragile” means for us.

Zeki claims in his essay on the influence of “abstraction” in the memory system on the brain and with reference to philosophy its “idealism” from the neurological aspect that: “Abstraction is also imposed on the brain by the limitations of its memory system, since it does away with the need to recall every detail. (...) Abstraction leads naturally to the formation of ideals. Plato used the term ‘ideal’ to mean a universal – derived from the intellect alone – as opposed to the particular, derived from sensory experience. Because memory of the particular fades, the ideal built by the brain from many particulars becomes the only real thing about which we can have knowledge, much as Plato and Kant believed.”7


As artistic work “One Motorbike, One Arm, Two Cameras” (2014) by Ainara Elgoibar is, I would assume, vibrant in the specific context, which doesn’t consist only of the computerised motion pictures by the robotic arm. Other contexts include the audiovisual context, the context of the film production such as the shooting in the nuclear power plant in Fukushima or the art-mediation context.



Every work of art is individual, same as each (genomic) DNA is unique. This individuality is or cannot be summarized as a totality in society.





1. Ph. Glass, zit. Nach: W. Mertens, 1983, S. 70.

„besteht aus den beiden rhythmischen Bausteinen die in „continuous, regular arithmic progression“1 zusammenfügt und durch Schläge der Hände auf einen Tisch realisiert werden sollen, ohne dass Glass die mathematische Struktur explizit vorgibt“ (Minimal Music, Ulli Götte, 2002)

2. Morris, “Notes on Sculpture, Part 2”, p. 22; Sylvester and Morris, “A Duologue”, in Compton and Sylvester, Robert Morris, p. 18.

3. Arnheim, Rudolf (1904–2007) German-born Jewish-American media scientist, psychologist and co-founder of the art modern art education.

4. “Hegel’s Science of Logic”, translated by A. V. Miller, George Allen & Unwin, 1969

„Mit der Reproduktion, als dem Momente der Einzelheit, setzt sich das Lebendige als wirkliche Individualität, ein sich auf sich beziehendes Fürsichsein, ist aber zugleich reelle Beziehung nach außen, – die Reflexion der Besonderheit oder Irritabilität gegen ein Anderes, gegen die objektive Welt. Der innerhalb des Individuums eingeschlossene Prozeß des Lebens geht in die Beziehung zur vorausgesetzten Objektivität als solcher dadurch über, daß das Individuum, indem es sich als subjektive Totalität setzt, auch das Moment seiner Bestimmtheit als Beziehung auf die Äußerlichkeit zur Totalität wird.“ (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Wissenschaft der Logik, Werke. Band 6, Frankfurt a. M. 1979, S. 474-480.)

4 Semir Zeki (1940–) ist ein britischer Neurobiologe mit Forschungsschwerpunkten im Bereich visuelles System, visuelle Wahrnehmung durch das Gehirn sowie neurobiologische Grundlagen der Kunst und Ästhetik. (a British neurobiologist who has specialized in studying the primate visual brain and more recently the neural correlates of affective states, such as the experience of love, desire and beauty that are generated by sensory inputs within the field of neuroesthetics.)

5 Trying to make sense of art

Nature,  August 29, 2002, Vol.418(6909), p.918(2) (Peer Reviewed Journal), Cengange Learning, Inc. ISSN: 0028-0836

6 Abstraction and idealism

Nature, April 6, 2000, Vol.404(6778), p.547(1) (Peer Reviewed Journal), Cengange Learning, Inc. ISSN: 0028-0836