11/18 Artist Talks with Shihoko Iida
Hello, Yumiko is writing.
On 18th of November, the 4th day of OPEN STUDIOS, we had Artist Talks.
We invited our guest curator, Shihoko Iida and our three resident artists to have conversation in each studio.

I would like to quote introductions of their projects as follows.
Stephanie Bickford-Smith [UK]
“Perhaps I speak look feel Japanese”

In My practice speculates how my persona may have been different had I been born and raised in Moriya rather than Britain. Through an imagined projection of my Japanese self, I hope to explore how one can enter an emotional connection with peers from different national backgrounds.

By collecting research through primary interactions and observations with the community, I have begun to build an emotional understanding of my peers here in Moriya. Through comparing this image with my experiences from home, I am starting to imagine what my Japanese self could be. I have developed creative exercises using writing, movement, sound and performance to help myself and others imagine alternative personas.

In a world of mass migration, my work aims to explore and challenge the psychological borders that national identity maintains.

As part of my work, I will perform recitals of the poem, ‘Ode to Clothes’ by Pablo Neruda.
Stephanie invited us to take part in simple workshop. It is the method for letting audience to follow the process of her project. We listened to the recorded sound of someone's morning routine, and then we imagined their living in another part of the world, and tried to replace ourselves with them.
I thought it was very interesting to see how much audience could assimilate them into other person. Trying to be a Japanese that she did here in Moriya, it should be a metaphor of it.
After that, she introduced us her documentary video. The concept is the same with the workshop we had just finished, but in this film she copied individuals' appearances, behaviors and small movements. On each of three monitors, we could see different women in their twenties who live in Moriya city sitting on the bench and Stephanie copying them seriously.
If movement comes from mind or social backgrounds, copying movement to assimilate into others might works as an experiment.

Ms. Iida asked a question about a practical attitude.
How does Stephanie feel if she stops to keep attention to a target person, might return to be British mind?
Stephanie answered she can get reading people’s feeling and emotion with using a way that finding her similar feelings to get close them, not just copying when you do it. If you can reach that state, nationality goes away from feeling, and becomes much vague to think the self, not others. The attitude was not trying to become others, but find a way, like sitting along side with others through trying to understand them.
She said that she was interested in what is the meaning of trying to challenge national identity, and if there is space you can get lost within when you adapt to behaving into new culture.
If we can achieve this moment to come across the wall between us and others, what would it bring to us? I believe that attempt is undoubtedly meaningful in this contemporary multi-cultural society where people with various backgrounds coexist in one society.
I reconsidered our peace and calm lives are reliant on vigorous imagination and consideration for others.

Then, we moved on to Eduardo's studio.
Eduardo Cachucho [South Africa]
“segurando, andando, caindo -holding, walking, falling”

A series of workshops have been undertaken with two groups of high school students from Ibaraki prefecture. Brazilian-Japanese students from the Escola Opção in Joso City and a group of Japanese students from the Toride Shoyo in Toride City were invited to take part in workshops that question culture, language and the body in everyday life.

Kept in mind during these interactions is the relationship between Brazil and Japan on a political and social level, now over one century long. With the Japanese population in Brazil at some 1.5 million and the Japanese-Brazilian population in Japan at around 200,000. The relationship between this community and Japan offers an important link to people who identify as both Japanese and Brazilian.

Visible in the installation are outcomes from these workshops including banners created by each student and video documentation of the workshop process. A performance by selected students from each school will be held on the closing day of the open studio 22 November 2015.

First, he gave us information about a quite complicated colonial history of South Africa (South Africa was first discovered by Portuguese people and after that, was colonized by Dutch and then by British), and his curiousness to identity might be from his background. He was born in Portugal from Portuguese parents, and moved to South Africa as an immigrant.
You can find the relation of his background and concern.
Also he studied architecture before he got shift to art because of possibility to express freer.

Eduardo showed us his performance after his talk.
The title was 'Viva Brazil'. It was short performance as five minutes.
The space was full with tense atmosphere, I felt his studio became totally different place.
The performance was strong and stunning, which caught audience's eyes and hearts.
One of the reasons why his performance was so fascinating is because it was skillful as performing art, as tone and stress of his voice and his well-organized movement.
And he emerged as a hollow container transcending the boundary of individual, and slowly, he repeated polysemous phrase in familiar melody. That moment could awake audience's past memories, and project them on his words.

But in the latter half of the performance, artist started shifting his shrewd eyes onto the audience. Also, his call 'Viva' or 'Brazil' with his speaking up awaked the audience from past and encouraged them to look at and imagine about specific social issue.
Here, you can see a part of this performance. (01:08min of 05:00min)

We visited Angga's studio at the end.
Timoteus Anggawan Kusno [Indonesia]

During my residency period at ARCUS Project, I have been collecting stories, memories and secret questions from the people under the "Lost and Found and Lost and What Department" (LFLW). LFLW is a temporary fictional institution which using my studio as the medium. Through this institution, I transformed the collected stories, and articulate the questions through the prototype of interactive installation, which will be happening in the studio. LFLW will be activated physically during the open studio. By using the same single space, I make the tension of forgetting and remembering by making a contrast and split them with time: during the day, the studio will be "Forgetting and Remembering Club", and when the night comes, it will be the “Lost and Found & Lost and Karaoke Club”.

Through Forgetting & Remembering Club (which only activated during the day) I invited participants to share their stories by using the mediums operated in the studio. And after the sun goes down, the Lost and Found & Lost and Karaoke Club will be opening, and invites people to show their talent on the stage. At the closing of the open studio, there will be a DJ Party at this Club.

This work is responding to John Shotter, which discussed about "Remembering and Forgetting as Social Institution" (1990). On the other hand, this work is an experiment, which challenge my existing methods on developing "fictional narratives on historical context" that I have been working on this last 2 years. At my previous works, I had been experimenting through fictions, which brought to historical context in aim to record the 'unspoken' (collective) memory. Now, in this residency, I am experimenting on the bottom-up methods on collecting (collective) memories, and raising those questions through fiction.
He started with the Indonesian history that was re-written and justified by the Haji Muhammad Soeharto Administration. Still nowadays, that kind of distorted history is accessible at textbooks. You can call this history as "fiction" produced by the nation as an extreme expression, however, Angga told us that Indonesian young artists were not that interested in reconsidering the history or searching for the truth so much. As the minority in art world, he has be inspired not from other artists but from activists in his country.
What he wants to do with art is not just blaming the evil fellows (like politicians or government), but he strongly believes that we can avoid repeating the same mistake we did in our past by getting know the truth of history and judging it objectively.


Depending on the time, his project can be divided into two parts; day and night, and the talk was in the night part, “LOST AND FOUND AND LOST AND Karaoke club”. Usually it was the time for karaoke, but today it seemed he would start karaoke after this talk.

As he mentioned above, in his fictional institution, you can see enormous collection of stories, memories or hidden questions that Angga collected from the people living around Moriya city. They have wide range of the ways of expression as text, documentary video of interview, photo, drawing and so on. The contents are also various, and some of them include war experiences and sad memories, hence the audience are encouraged to see those collections seriously and sincerely. This collection is apparently others' memories, at the same time, they can be our history. We can not help but project their stories on a part of our memories. The piece of artwork suggests audience to take part in the process looking at memories from different side, which fascinates them even more.

After the sun set, the night part starts. Everyone is welcome to stand on the stage and enjoy karaoke in his studio. The way they immerse themselves in singing as if they try to forget everything probably looks like optimistic, especially compared with the severe atmosphere in the daytime. That contrast is one of the aim Angga tried to show. This skillful method reminds us not to forget our mistakes and memories, and to feel our stupidity and great affection that we cannot help forgetting in our lives.
He has keen awareness of social problem (especially about history and politics), and expresses it in humorous way. I think it is absolutely one of the Angga's marvelous characters as an artist. We may be able to invest something new through seeking past memories deliberately.
This point of view to seek how individual's experience can influence to form history was also interesting.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
by arcus4moriya | 2015-11-18 15:01 | AIR | Comments(0)
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