Mitchell Akiyama



108 Spectres of Release


Sep 15 - 25



Artist Details


Project Description:
In 108 Spectres of Release, Mitchell Akiyama animates the historic Buddhist temple bell on the West Island, given to Ontario Place by Japanese-Ontarians in 1977. Akiyama transforms the bell itself into a speaker, which replays recordings of Akiyama’s grandmother, who was in attendance at the bell’s original inauguration ceremony. Born in Canada, Akiyama’s grandmother was interned during the Second World War and later displaced by government-mandated relocation to eastern Canada before she eventually settled in Toronto. Reviving the bell, Akiyama allows his grandmother’s voice to surface tensions between memorialization and lived experience. 108 Spectres of Release serves as a deeply personal articulation of Japanese-Canadian history in a space where the bell’s commemorative function has largely ceased.

The artist wishes to acknowledge the generous support from the Ontario Arts Council for this project.

Mitchell Akiyama is a Toronto-based scholar, composer, and artist. His eclectic body of work includes writings about plants, animals, cities, and sound art; scores for film and dance; and objects and installations that trouble received ideas about history, perception, and sensory experience. Akiyama’s output has appeared in commensurately miscellaneous sources such as Leonardo Music Journal, ISEA, Sonar Music Festival (Barcelona), Raster-Noton Records (Berlin), Gendai Gallery (Toronto), and in many other exhibitions, publications, and festivals. He holds a PhD in communications from McGill University and an MFA from Concordia University and is currently a SSRHC Postdoctoral Fellow at York University’s Sensorium Centre for Digital Arts & Technology.