In September last year, Japanese singer and artist Etsuko Yakushimaru received the Ars Electronica EC STARTS Prize 2017 for “Artistic Exploration” with her project “I’m Humanity.”  

In “I’m Humanity,” Yakushimaru creates pop music through biotechnology, converting musical information into a long, durable DNA sequence capable of recording massive amounts of data. 

The full 14-minute video of her performance of “I’m Humanity” at the Prix Ars Electronica Gala held at the Brucknerhaus in Linz, Austria has been released. In the clip, Yakushimaru appears onstage after Ars Electronica Artistic Director Gerfried Stocker introduces her background and a video summarizing the aim and process of the project is shown. 

Dressed in an originally designed hakama skirt by FACETASM and a flowing robe by SINA SUIEN, Yakushimaru performed “I’m Humanity” in front of an audience that included multinational jury members and artists as well as political figures from EU nations.  

Also known for creating various original instruments, she performed the piece by utilizing creations such as the “nine-dimensional” instrument “dimtakt” and the YXMR Ghost “Objet,” which controls sound and visual effects through gestures, along with a KAOSS PAD sampler. Motoki Yamaguchi from Yakushimaru’s band Sotaisei Riron supported her on drums. 

After her mesmerizing performance, which an Ars Electronica staff member noted as being so captivating that “it was the first time I saw politicians in the audience leaning forward in their seats to get a better view,” she exits the stage with a simple “bye-bye.” 

Watch Yakushimaru’s performance of “I’m Humanity” here: 

Text: Billboard JAPAN / Photo: Courtesy Photo