Mohri Yuko is an installation artist who recasts reconfigured everyday items to reveal intangible forms of energy such as electricity and magnetism. Orochi (Serpent) AM1485 KHz is part of her Orochi series, started in 2013 and named after the Japanese word for a giant mythical serpent. It consists of a radio receiver and amplifier placed directly on the floor, with an audio cable running from the output of the amplifier. Normally, this cable would connect to speakers, and you would hear the radio. But instead of connecting a speaker, Mohri winds the cable in circles, forming a kind of induction coil. The radio waves are then converted into an electromagnetic field at the center of the coil, where a magnet is suspended by a string, alerting the viewer to the presence of an invisible force. It vibrates and rotates to the live broadcast of a radio tuned to AM 1485 kHz, the frequency of Aomori Broadcasting Corporation, a local radio station in the area.
Mohri remembers reading a book by folk knot and wrapping researcher NUKATA Iwao and learning that employees at a telecommunications company where Nukata had worked would call long bundles of cables orochi. Mohri became intrigued by the way they resembled the shimenawa rope seen in Japanese Shinto rituals and, similar to serpent, were said to possess invisible powers—leading to the creation of this series.
Orochi (Serpent) AM 1485 kHz was on display as part of the 2018 exhibition “Mohri Yuko: Assume That There Is Friction and Resistance.”
Photo: Oyamada Kuniya
Born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1980, Yuko Mohri creates installations that let the audience sense forces such as gravity, magnetism, and light. Her major solo exhibitions include “Voluta” (Camden Arts Centre, London, UK, 2018). Mohri has participated in group shows throughout the world, including “The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art” (Brisbane, Australia, 2018) “Japanorama: New Vision on Art Since 1970” (Metz, France, 2017), “14th Biennale de Lyon” (France, 2017), and “Yokohama Triennale 2014” (Kanagawa, Japan, 2014).
In 2015, she received a grant from the Asian Cultural Council for a six-month residency in New York. Her awards include the Nissan Art Award’s Grand Prix (2015), the Kanagawa Culture Award’s Culture and Future Prize (2016), and the 67th Minister of Education Award for Fine Arts (2017).