human relations

KRYSTAL KRUNCH (2007-Present)
Walker Art Center
KRYSTAL KRUNCH is the artist intuitive duo of Asher Hartman and Haruko Tanaka. As KRYSTAL KRUNCH we see and respond to energy in the body, the psyche, and architectural spaces. Through readings, workshops, and tours, we are dedicated to using intuitive reading to help people come in con tact with their highest and best potential, discovering who they really are so that they might approach their lives and others with compassion, self-love, and wonder. 

THE READER'S CHORUS (2014-Present)

The Reader's Chorus consists of composers and musicians, visual artists and filmmakers, writers and poets. Inspired by the possibilities for experimentation with a group of speaking voices, the Reader's Chorus develops, arranges and performs existing and original text based compositions. The idea to convene a reader's chorus in Los Angeles was formulated by artists Sara Roberts and Jordan Biren in 2014 for the purposes of presenting a rarely performed rendition of "Black/White Oratorio," written by American poet Robert Lax (1915-2000) and British literary critic John Beer (1926). Composed entirely of names of colors in rhythmic groupings, when read by a chorus, 'Black/White' becomes a richly nuanced, incantatory and even hypnotic piece. Since coming together to perform 'Black/White' various members of the dedicated corps have written new works for the Reader's Chorus to develop, arrange and rehearse together.

THE READER'S CHORUS ON THE ROAD! Reader's Chorus at the Tang Teaching Art Museum at Skidmore College (2015)
Ian Byers-Gamber / Machine Project

With the blessing of the Los Angeles Reader's Chorus, I traveled to the Tang Teaching Art Museum at Skidmore College in September of 2015 as a Reader's Chorus ambassador as part of Machine Project's semester long engagement with the museum and community of students. After several introductory workshops, 4 new pieces were created by Skidmore students and further rehearsed with a group of 30+ students forming "The Tang Reader's Chorus." The residency culminated in a performance (photographed above) 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:

SCORES FOR READER'S CHORUS: Reader's Rajio Taiso or Reader's Radio Calisthenics (2015)

Written for The Reader's Chorus. Like traditional "rajio taiso" (radio calisthenics) in Japan, this piece 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.

SCORES FOR READER'S CHORUS: Japanese George Clooney takes American Ken Watanabe to get sushi (2014)

Written for The Reader's 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. George and Ken 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 piece is performed in three groups- one large (group 2) and 2 small (group 1 and 3). Occasionally all 3 groups will perform in unison, but for the most part, Group 2 is the Japanese, Group 1 and 3 are the English clue/hints to pronouncing the Japanese word. For example: "Hey ra shy!" (Welcome) is broken down to: Hey sunRA, tooSHY. Another example: "Wasabi" is broken down to: qinWA naSA letitBE.


Group movement aka shudan koudou is born out of compulsory drill exercises taught in Physical Education classes in Japanese elementary, middle, and high schools. These exercises however were taken to a whole new level beginning 40 years ago, when students of the Nippon Sport Science University turned the drills into a walking art. Today, schools throughout Japan have taken on the challenge of elevating their group movement skills. In an attempt to bring this phenomenon to Los Angeles for the first time we are looking for 40 people to come together to learn the basics (and a few classics) of group movement. Ideally everyone can make all 3 sessions! We will be learning everything in Part 1 (Nov 9) and Part 2 (Nov 16) and bringing what we learned in both sessions together for a final filming of our efforts in the Finale (Nov 23).


The Homesick Café '92 menu, a menu of modified Japanese food made in 2008,  was brought to life for the Relief Café food stand at the Loyola Marymount University Burns Fine Art Courtyard for my week long residency there. Students volunteered all week to help prepare and sell items from the menu. The most popular item was the 'Abogado Don' aka 'Lawyer Bowl' - rice bowl with avocado & ponzu dressing. Thanks to everyone who helped run the stand and prepare the food and to everyone who stopped by! For 1 week, Relief Café became a gathering point for the art school community. Almost $700 was raised and sent to Japan in order to help the relief effort in Fukushima.


As it is said, to sing in another language is to possess another’s soul. Come and join Haruko Tanaka and friends in the “Other tent” for some tea and some singing while we relax and learn a song in Arabic that is sure to bring you calmness and centering when you or another are in most need of it. So why not begin the process of adding a beautiful healing song to your repertoire that you can gently fish out like a touching line from a poem that you’ve committed to memory. No experience or equipment necessary.

Presented in Valencia, California, September 2007 as part of "The Other Project" organized by Evelyn Serrano.


Did you do it WRONG? Have you messed up? Are you on the peripheries of the margin? Then we invite you to join us as we build a critical mass of communal wrongness, celebrate insecurity and difference in a hyper-friendly, come-as-you-really-are party environment. Stop fitting in and write on The Wall of Wrong, clam up and fall asleep in the Shy Room, split a gut on some wrong eats, take a sustainable cart ride powered by human legs, Fish for the Truth, Heal Somebody, ask your ancestors a questions, pick up a new wrong accent, brush up on some old ones, choose your archetype, ask 11 year old Gene anything, and much much more as you become part of the Wrong Revolution to be okay with you and almost everybody else. Come any time, leave any time. Friday night is “Missing Toof Night” ~ show that you’re missing a tooth and get in free! On “Long 2nd Toe Night” Saturday, show that your 2nd toe is indeed longer than your big toe and line up for free entry.  Presented by Asher Hartman, Seema Kapur, and Haruko Tanaka at Highways Performance Space and Gallery, Santa Monica, CA, Fri, Sept 1 & Sat, Sept 2, 2006, 8:30pm-10:30pm

M-Y-MANIFESTO Workshop & fundraiser for South Central Farm (2006) 
A manifesto writing workshop/fundraiser for the South Central Farmers who faced eviction.

"Manifestos are not only for Karl Marx, Valerie Solanas, Gandhi, or the Unabomber. We each have spot within ourselves that seeks change. Now is your chance to extract that truth within yourself. You have a manifesto to write! Come take a walk through the farm, breathe the fresh air, each lunch from the market stands, and get energized for the work you’re about to do. We shall dive into traditional and unusual manifestos, view the world in a new way, and help spark ideas for your own manifesto. Bring your pens, favorite journal, because during the latter part of the class we will put our creativity into practice. By the end you will have written a manifesto or have made a great start."

Presented by Matt Dunnerstick and Haruko Tanaka at South Central Farms, South Los Angeles, CA, Sunday, April 2, 2006, 12:30pm-2:30pm.

Naruhodo the World! / Fuji TV
Everyone is a contestant in this screening of a 40 minute un-subtitled episode  of one of Japan’s legendary 80’s TV travel quiz shows “Naruhodo! (ohhhh I see...) The World.” Not to worry, live amateur simultaneous translators are on hand to try and translate the trivia questions as best as possible. Contestants are encouraged to rely on their savvy worldly deciphering skills of cultural cues during very possible lulls in translation. Real-time translation by: Alisa Benfey, Mari Okada, Rui Mandiberg, Natsu Furuichi, and Haruko Tanaka


Join us as we explore the external and internal politics of empathy through group research, discussion, food preparation, and other chores. The evening will be topped off with an improvised grande finale dinner prepared with food leftovers brought to the workshop by you, the participant.
"Have you ever wondered about the difference between sympathy and empathy? Are you able to relate effectively to others? Did you mysteriously turn against your otherwise good friends during the 2004 U.S. presidential election? Do you have problems getting spiritually aroused? Do you feel empty inside? Do you feel hungry? Do you have any leftovers? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then Le ‘Rationale: Workshop in Empathy needs YOU!"  
"Le'Rationale: Workshop in Empathy" was organized and presented in collaboration with Wanda Smans at Crazyspace, Santa Monica, CA on April 16, 2005, 6-9pm.


A collaboration between four artists (Seema Kapur, Maryam Kashani, Noña Meko and Haruko Tanaka) whose own works were influenced by the late June Jordan- poety, essayist, activist and educator. An evening of film screenings with live accompaniment, spoken word, live music, installation and beats to groove to- all in celebration and tribute to the work of Ms. Jordan. The event took place at the vibrant experimental art space "Six Months: Crenshaw" in South Los Angeles, co-founded by curator Eungie Joo and artist Kehinde Wiley.