The Department of Digital + Media
Rhode Island School of Design
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Yasunao Tone

Yasunao Tone (born 1935) is a Japanese-American artist, writer, theorist, and composer. According to critic Alan Cummings, he is “part of a whole generation of post-war iconoclasts who followed in the wake of John Cage’s discovery of indeterminacy, determined to shake music and art out of their enslavement to the high art, romanticist ideals of the 19th century.” He co-founded Group Ongaku (Music group) in the early 1960s, has been active in the Fluxus movement since 1962, and has also been an organizer and participant in many important music and performance scenes including New York’s Downtown improvisors, and the European electronica experimentalists. An outstanding experimentalist, Yasunao coined the term “paramedia art” to describe his work, and his artistic inventions include prepared CD, interventions with an MP3 system and AI programm. Primarily a composer, Tone has worked in many media, creating pieces for electronics, computer systems, film, radio and television, as well as environmental art. His work is distinguished by conversion of text into music via images with analog and digital means, and with critique of medium in use (Music for 2CD Players, Solo for Wounded CD). Tone has presented concerts at the Kitchen, MoMA, the Guggenheim, Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona, the Ars Electronica Festival, Centre George Pompidou, Sonic Lights in Amsterdam, ATP festivals and Lovebytes festivals, among many others. Select exhibitions include the Venice Biennale, numerous FLUXUS shows, “The Japanese Avant-garde since 1945” at the Guggenheim Museum, “Bitstreams” at the Whitney Museum, the Yokohama Triennale. Honors include the Ars Electronica Golden Nica award and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts award in music.