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Aki Sasamoto is Feeling Stretched

July 14, 2017

How far can an artist bend without breaking? Installation and performance artist Aki Sasamoto unwinds the logic of her latest work, Yield Point (2017), finding unexpected connections between the tension of stretched materials and the stresses we experience in everyday life. “Lately, I notice that I’m [feeling] super stretched and tired—trying to do a day job and trying to do art—so I was interested in how much one can push yourself,” says the artist. “That’s why I went to thinking about elasticity and testing that limit.”

Mirroring the artist’s own stream of conscious logic and deadpan humor, the film follows Sasamoto as she uses a mechanical stress testing machine at Rutgers University, tours a dumpster warehouse in Queens, and performs in Chelsea’s renowned arts space, The Kitchen. During the performance, Sasamoto moves freely within an installation comprised of plastic trash bags, immersive videos, stretched bands, and rolling dumpsters with trampolines inside.

Like the materials she pulls apart, Sasamoto resists bending to expectations and refuses an easy explanation of her subjects—instead trusting the creative process to yield its own truths. “Whenever I try to say this piece is about this or that, that’s when it starts to feel like I’m a liar,” she says. “I almost feel like I’m performing to find out answers for my own questions.”

More information and credits


New York Close Up Series Producer: Nick Ravich. Producer: RAVA Films. Director: Rafael Salazar & Ava Wiland. Cinematography & Editing: Rafael Salazar. Sound: Ava Wiland. Design & Graphics: Anita Hei-Man Yu, Open, & Uros Perisic. Artwork Courtesy: Aki Sasamoto. Music: Datapanik, deef, & Chris Zabriskie. Thanks: Cooper Tank LLC, Tim Griffin, Chris Landshof, Karina Larroca, Michael Littwin, Matthew Lyons, Rutgers University, Arya Tewatia, & The Kitchen. © Art21, Inc. 2017. All rights reserved.

New York Close Up is supported, in part, by The Lambent Foundation; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; VIA Art Fund; and by individual contributors.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Aki Sasamoto

Aki Sasamoto was born in 1980 in Kanagawa, Japan, and now lives and works in New York. An installation and performance artist, Sasamoto works in various media, finding material inspiration in response to the conditions of her site or surroundings.

“What does it feel like to be a graph myself? What does it feel like to put myself in a place of steel being pulled?”

Aki Sasamoto


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Personal Effects

by Nina Horisaki-Christens

Writer-in-Residence Nina Horisaki-Christens looks at several artists who explore the interpretive potential of objects in a performative context.