Japanese George Clooney takes American Ken Watanabe to get sushi (2014) 
Ghosts See Ghosts
III Scores for Readers Chorus
Aiko Inspires Ukulele Elegies Organically
Words We Keep Creating By: L.A. Artist's Edition
Score for a Readers Chorus made up 
entirely of the five vowel sounds in the Japanese language
The "Japanese Trilogy" of Readers Chorus pieces
 
Public art project paying tribute to
the words that continue to inspire L.A. artists
Public art project in Little Tokyo, DTLA
Little Tokyo Utility Box Project (2015)
To Live and Dine in L.A.: Invisible Kitchen (2015)
Readers Rajio Taiso or Readers Radio Calisthenics (2015)
 
Politeness Counts (2015)
Tang Readers Chorus (2015)
A collection of custom made  
fake food samples and menus from imaginary "inivisible kitchens"   
Readers Chorus piece inspired by a giant sculpture of
a paper shopping bag and collegiate team sports 
Readers Chorus piece
paying tribute to common Japanese words in the English vernacular
Readers Chorus residency at the Tang Museum at Skidmore College
Readers Chorus, Krystal Krunch and a love letter to L.A.
in 16mm, forgotten bells and freeway visualizations
Experimentations with the group reading voice, art in public spaces and the Invisible Kitchen
Synchronized group walking, intangible inheritances and
art for a fire station
The beginnings of collaborative social practice and thinking
about underrepresented culinary sensibilities
Self-portraiture and June Jordan
 
 
Score for Readers Chorus tells the story of Ken Watanabe taking George Clooney to get sushi one night
 
Japanese George Clooney takes American Ken Watanabe to get sushi (2014) 
Japanese George Clooney takes American Ken Watanabe to get sushi (2014) 
Japanese George Clooney takes American Ken Watanabe to get sushi (2014) 
Score for a Readers Chorus, word for word, line by line 
Readers Chorus, Krystal Krunch, Cristóbal and Cosme: Two
young lads born in Japan, and a 16mm love letter to L.A.
 

Ghosts See Ghosts

2018

The expression "ghosts see ghosts" was told to me in English by a Japanese composer friend living and working in Thailand. It is a Thai expression and while I can't recall the exact explanation he gave, my impression from our conversation was that it meant something similar to the English expression, "it takes one to know one." The unseen see the fellow unseen. The forgotten see the fellow forgotten. The marginalized see the fellow marginalized. 

This Readers Chorus piece for 8+ explores other 3 worded phrases in English constructed in the same manner- one word in the middle sandwiched in between the same two words on both ends, like "never say never" or "time after time."

 

III Scores for
Readers Chorus

2018

A compilation of 3 scores for Readers Chorus that was put together during a residency at The MacDowell Colony from January-March 2018. The 3 pieces form "The Japanese Trilogy" of scores written by myself for the Chorus - Japanese George Clooney takes American Ken Watanabe to get sushi, Readers Rajio Taiso or Readers Radio Calisthenics, and Aiko Inspires Ukulele Elegies Organically. The "WASÁBI / WÁSABI" design on the cover is made from hand carved reliefs that were then scanned. The spaciousness, wall space, and printmaking possibilities of Putnam Graphics Studio at MacDowell all helped inspire and faciliate the creation of this compilation of scores.

 

Aiko Inspires Ukulele Elegies Organically

2018

The final chapter in the trilogy of Japanese language inspired pieces for Readers Chorus following Japanese George Clooney takes American Ken Watanabe to get sushi (2014) and Readers Rajio Taiso or Radio Calisthenics (2015). 'Aiko Inspires' is performed by a Readers Chorus of 6+ people and 1 composer willing to give animated, gestural cues. composed entirely of the 5 vowel sounds in the Japanese language - A, I, U, E, O. The title of the piece serves as the key to correct pronunciation. The composer's gestural cues act as prompts to sounding the vowels that represent real Japanese expressions and sounds. The piece concludes with the traditional "san bon jimé" clap, replacing the traditional call of "iyooooo!" with "A, I, U, E, Oooooo!" The clap marks the cheerful conclusion of the piece and the trilogy as a whole.

 

Words We Keep On Creating By:

L.A. Artists' Edition

2016

Commissioned by the California Community Foundation on its Centennial Anniversary, the project We Are Los Angeles asked 30 L.A. County artists to create artwork designs to be placed on angel shaped sculptures created by Gayle Garner Roski. For Words We Keep On Creating By, I reached out to artists and performers that I know who have 30, 40, 50+ year careers under their belt and asked them to share what words have kept them going. What has stayed with me so far in a very short 15-year career is what an artist who I was assistant to once said, “L.A. is a great place to make art. You can drive an hour in each direction and find ocean, forests, mountains and desert.” I’d like to take that a step further and say that you can look around in any direction and find the entire world in our people and all the ways we express culture. We might not melt, but we’re all together in this pot, and, as makers of culture, we couldn’t ask for a richer set of histories and sensibilities to create from. The angel is currently on view at the Mar Vista Family Center in Culver City at 5075 S. Slauson Ave, Culver City, CA 90230
http://www.calfund.org/centennial/wala/artists/haruko-tanaka/

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Little Tokyo Utility Box Project:
(Some of) My Inheritance

2015

Created for the community driven initiative "Sustainable Little Tokyo," the Little Tokyo Utility Box Project brought together artists with a connection to Little Tokyo to design artwork to cover the facades of utility boxes in and around Little Tokyo.  

My design was placed on a utility box at the corner of Sushi Gen and Aloha Café at 2nd/Central in Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles. Based on my photograph (Some of) My Inheritance: triangle fold for plastic bags from mum (2007), the utility box showcased instructions on how to fold a plastic grocery back into a neat and efficient triangle. 

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Invisible Kitchen

2015

"Invisible Kitchen" is an ongoing project that pays homage to under-represented eats and food related stories. This particular iteration was created for The Library Foundation of Los Angeles for the exhibition "To Live and Dine in L.A." The exhibition and book by the same name, curated and written by author, music critic, and USC professor Josh Kun,  showcases the vast menu collection of the Los Angeles Public Library and celebrates the rich, as-of-yet-untold, history of restaurants and food in the City of Angels. 3 contemporary artists who use food to explore social issues also contributed to the exhibition. "Invisible Kitchen" is an installation of 6 menus to 6 imaginary restaurants and cafes and a selection of fake food samples made of items from the menus. The names of restaurants/cafes and food items are linguistic plays on mostly a combination of English, Japanese, and Spanish words. Each menu points to a different theme- homesickness, coming to America, sickness, global and indigenous food. The fake food samples were custom fabricated in Aichi, Japan, at the production workshop of Japan's two-time fake food sample champion, Takeuchi Shigeharu. An almost 200+ year tradition in Japan, fake food samples were originally made to function like stereographs, where people could travel and show the type of food that was popular in a far off region in Japan. Today, fake food samples are made with flair and artistry, with flying forks and cascading buckwheat noodles. 

 

Tang Readers Chorus

2015

With the blessing of the Readers Chorus in Los Angeles I travelled to the Tang Museum at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, to put together a local Readers Chorus group and initiate the creation of new 'Readers' pieces. This workshop residency was part of a semester long engagement between the museum/college and L.A.'s Machine Project called "The Platinum Collection (Live by Special Request)."  After several introductory workshops, 4 new pieces were created by Skidmore students and further rehearsed with a group of 30+ students forming "The Tang Readers Chorus." The residency culminated in a performance at the museum to an enthusiastic and appreciative audience of friends, students, faculty, museum staff and members of the Saratoga Springs community. The entire progress of this Reader's Chorus residency (complete with audio recordings and scores) can be found on the dedicated blog: 

http://tangreaderschorus.blogspot.com.

 

Politeness Counts

2015

Written for and performed by the Tang Readers Chorus (see above), Politeness Counts takes its name and inspiration from the giant shopping bag sculpture by Jonathan Seliger (American, 1955 - ) that sits in front of the Tang Museum and all of the student varsity sports teams that walk by it countless times in a day on their way to practice.

 

Readers Rajio Taiso or
Readers Radio Calisthenics

2015

Written for the Reader's Chorus and arranged with the Chorus, the piece, like traditional "rajio taiso" (radio calisthenics) in Japan, is meant to serve as a warm-up, in this case, to its companion piece for Reader's Chorus, Japanese George Clooney takes American Ken Watanabe to get sushi. From 'Kurosawa' to 'sayonara', 'Rajio Taiso' is comprised completely of Japanese words commonly found in the English language.

 

Japanese George Clooney
takes American Ken Watanabe
to get sushi

2014

Written for the Readers Chorus, the piece tells the story of Japanese George Clooney taking American Ken Watanabe to get sushi one night. Gara, gara, gara, gara...the sound of the sliding door to the restaurant. A lively welcome Hey rah shai! from the chef. Ken and George reply good evening Do mo! Kon ban wa! A friendly waitress shows the way E ra shai mah se, oku dozo and some hot tea, hai ocha. Ginger gari and wasabi come out and they order. What an amazing meal. Thank you Go chi soh sama! The Chorus tells this short story about Ken and George, in Japanese, with the help of English cues that hint at the pronunciation of the Japanese words.