Image: Handle Lance © Eric Lesdema
“Whilst one uses a chair it is constricted to service one. What then happens when the chair disappears from the field of vision, field of prospect? Does the chair gradually disappear? Would the raw material be insubordinate to the totality of the chair?
The chair slipping away from the field of vision is an indictment of its retinal autonomy. Could the entoptic image of the chair impressed onto the back of the eyelids be similar to the bang experienced by pilots traveling and breaking the sound barrier?
Could the experience of retinal capability be the warranted imputation of the object’s alliteration when moving throughout space and time?
Could the human-eye-mind deviate from the definite emotional bias in favour of certain parts which contribute the reality scene before it and prefer to calmly ignore what it doesn’t like?
Could this discrimination become the cause of irritation and consequently behold the gift to see too much too deep with or without conscious selection.
These are questions to which one seek’s meaning either as a perspective or a solidity and a depth which could inform a practice. But the light is mainly coming from behind and a large part of the subject must never by necessity be in the shadow but allowed through discipline and methodical rigour to emphasise the variation and tone of these ideas in order to not reduce their existence into subdued simplified experience."
(Extracted from a letter to the late Professor R L Gregory 2006 reproduced in Drowning The Moon.)
A recording of Drowning The Moon was exhibited in The Astrologer Who Fell Into The Well as CAS Osaka.
Image: Dream Time © Jane & Louise Wilson
Dream Time documents the launch of the 2001 International Space Rocket at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakstan. The Cosmodrome is the focal point of the Russian space programme. It was from here that in 1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first man to be launched into space and, more recently, where the IS.S star and sunrise were launched.
Like previous works by Jane and Louise Wilson, including Stasi City (1997), Gamma (1999) and Parliament (1999), Dream Time examines the way in which political and technological power behind the international space programme – is manifested through architecture and atmosphere.
Dream Time was included in The Astrologer Who Fell Into A Well at CAS Osaka.
Images: © Semiconductor
Black Rain is sourced from images collected by the twin satellite, solar mission, STEREO. Here we see the HI (Heliospheric Imager) visual data as it tracks interplanetary space for solar wind and CME’s (coronal mass ejections) heading towards Earth.
Working with STEREO scientists, Semiconductor collected all the HI image data to date, revealing the journey of the satellites from their initial orientation, to their current tracing of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Solar wind, CME’s, passing planets and comets orbiting the sun can be seen as background stars and the milky way pass by.
As in Semiconductors previous work ‘Brilliant Noise’ which looked into the sun, they work with raw scientific satellite data which has not yet been cleaned and processed for public consumption. By embracing the artefacts calibration and phenomena of the capturing process we are reminded of the presence of the human observer who endeavours to extend our perceptions and knowledge through technological innovation.
Black Rain was screened in The Astrologer Who Fell Into A Well at CAS Osaka.
Tatsumi Orimoto’s “Art x Life” at the Kawasaki City Museum comprises videos, drawings, posters, sculptures, photographs and newspapers spanning his career. The exhibition occupies two wings of the museum, with the central hall between hung with large fabric prints of the artist and his mother. Throughout artworks are accompanied by documentation and archival material, communicating a sense of Orimoto’s biography, methods and ideas, the interlacing of which is summarized by the exhibition title.
Kawasaki is Orimoto’s hometown and much of the work on display was produced there and concerns issues pertinent to the area. The exhibition begins with selections from the ‘Art Mama’ series, which focuses on Orimoto’s care for his elderly mother, who suffers from both Alzheimer’s Disease and deafness, in Japan, where now almost one hundred eighty thousand people between 15-29 years old tend to a family member. With government projections showing that by 2055 around 40% of Japanese citizens will be sixty-five or over, homecare is an increasingly common lifestyle. Orimoto conveys the complexities and emotional difficulties connected to this demographic through absurd, dark and humorous performances and events.
The video Beethoven Mama is a particularly vivid introduction to his work. Here Orimoto plays with the hair of his seated ninety-three year old mother while singing along to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. He has placed himself in the position of the conductor, and alludes to being the conductor of another’s life – dictating his mother’s routines and actions. Like Orimoto’s mother, Beethoven was deaf and significantly ill at the end of his life.
A related video, Elvis Presley – Changing Diapers, has Orimoto replacing his mother’s diaper wearing an Elvis mask and listening to the King’s music. The playlist begins with That’s Alright (Mama). With resolute black humor, Orimoto wears the happy mask throughout his action. There is poignancy to be found in his careful gestures, but this stands in troubling contrast to the surreal imposition of pop culture into sad domesticity.
The darkness continues in Gaikotsu – Skull. This series of drawings was made on the backs of betting slips at Orimoto’s local Kawasaki stand bar. Each day while his mother is cared for by home-helpers, Orimoto has an hour to himself and escapes for a drink and a flutter. The five hundred slips are a testament to Orimoto’s trapped routine and somber thoughts in Kawasaki’s lonely underbelly.
In contrast to this material is the Grandmother’s Lunch project, in which Orimoto brings together a community – often an overtly excluded one, such as the invitees of 50 Japanese Immigrant Grandmothers. The biggest of these gatherings was held in Evora, Portugal in 2014 for 500 Grandmothers – Lunch. In video documentation, Orimoto sings with locals and serves soup in a large and noisy hall. It is a statement for community, conversation and care.
Orimoto’s animal performances, an important body of work, are also surveyed in the exhibition. Orimoto lived in New York between 1971-1979, where the interdisciplinary events of the Fluxus Movement were formative experiences. At Rene Block Gallery he witnessed Joseph Beuys’ 1974 work I Like America and America Likes Me, in which for three days Beuys spent his daylight hours in a room with a coyote.
Orimoto’s own animal performances invoke a similar tension between nature and culture. In Carrying a Baby Pig on My Back, he resembles the comic father to a cute but difficult piglet he has strapped to himself in a baby carrier. Associating care and responsibility with holding a burden, Orimoto resembles a strange Atlas, shouldering not a globe but a swine.
A compelling feature of the show is a recreation of Orimoto’s busy studio, a small room packed with documents, photographs and posters. In the next wing, walls of drawings are hung salon-style in geometric blocks. A series of dense watercolors, in predominately red, yellow and green completed from 1997-2004 portray rooms of figures in the middle of various exertions (sexual, labor, domestic), and provide insight into the underpinnings of Orimoto’s work. As in his performances there is an emphasis placed on the actions of the body.
In documentation of Orimoto’s Breadman performances, the artist ties bread around his head, concealing his face in crust, flour and seeds. There is a Christian undertone to the work, as Orimoto appears halfway through an act of transubstantiation – half man, half bread. A clown and king, crowned with baguettes.
These performances take place in Nepal, Germany and Brazil, amongst other places. While bread is a global foodstuff, the varied performances elicit different reactions, which allude to the cultural, economic and social particularities of place. Breadman in the Train has Orimoto in Germany as an immigrant or tourist – badly equipped, anonymous and almost blind. In these performances he is a sad outsider figure, who garners confusion, pathos and laughter from his public.
The solitary and cartooned figure, often under duress, recurs throughout the exhibition. It reaches an intense climax in a series of performances called Punishment. Here various people stand bound to wooden poles, their heads covered in white bags and baskets of bread tied to them. The figures struggle, yell and fall, spilling bread from their merchant baskets. They are together, but separated by their collective blindness. It is perhaps only their shouting that alerts the others around them to their shared condition. As Jacques Rancière comments in the book Moments Politiques: Interventions 1977-2009, “There is no truth in suffering except that which emerges through a dramatization that gives it speech, an argument.”
Calum Sutherland is an artist from Scotland. He studied Painting and Printmaking at The Glasgow School of Art. He then moved to London and attended The Royal Drawing School. He arrived in Japan in 2015. Website: calumsutherland.co.uk
Images: © @johnhns
“I was just thinking, to be it has nice,” a poem in scrambled sentiments for click here 5 second users. Blue splash, black square, a speck of dust magnified and repeated again and again near empty rooms. Cigarettes, fingers dyed in blood comes free in eggshell green on 9 likes Monday.
Is that how the others like it there, up there on that milky globe? Why are two dots inside a tin of white paint, their edible texture makes the poisonous look organic?
There's so much deceit in semaphore, that shows not how or where's the way.
Street signs, ground control, screens to watch a world through, binary codes slack to the hardness in dark lines.
Images: © @johnhns
A preview of @johnhns book To Be It Has Nice edited by Julia Waugh and published by Waugh Office Productions
I was told that tree leaves can deliver a message to anyone you like no matter how far away, ever since then they have become a secret post. One day I looked up and asked one to send a message to someone that had slipped away from my lips, with no expectation for a reply, seriously though no offense, the trees never do.
Yet they certainly bring a sort of satisfaction to me, with the slightest possibility that the message could be delivered through their roots, rather than with leaves, because it’s more substantially connectable, whereas the leaves seem ethereal in regard to delivering since there is never a real connection to any celestial verge. In that sense. likewise I looked up to the clouds, moving, modestly, changing their curious shapes in the blue vault of parallel horizons.
Birds were taking off skirting above my head. Then a few drops of white smeared a right shoulder and left eye. Damn it, I tried to blink, once and a few more times till sight became clearer but it stuck harder and vision stayed weird with obstacles.
I missed the moment when the clouds lost their form, now the birds are gone too and the vault is not blue anymore. Buds have bloomed, I missed all of them, the continuum of things unknowingly, there are too many, I can’t cope with these unfathomable observations.
Abruptly, the sound of birds fluttering wings grazed my ear and gave me the creeps. I hate birds. Their pseudo-intellectual eyes are gross, so tiny but scrutinizing me with the contemptuous glance that would break my intimation and I forgot the message, the roots, the clouds and all that.
It’s forgettable in the first place, that I knew it would be lost since there are as many replies, they cancel each other without distracting intention.
That is what secures my life peacefully.
Image: © Julia Waugh
A participant at Midori Mitamura's Art & Breakfast for Leaving Language at The Folkestone Triennial.
“Is what you see what I see?”
Waugh Office Productions is an