Monday, October 14, 2013

Far East in East New Orleans

For its first international exchange, The Front invited four Ginza Art Lab members from Japan. The show was still undergoing some last minutes touches Saturday afternoon when I visited for a preview.
Tonight, I was told, fog will fill the street room and the two sober signs hanging on the wall will be fading in the clouds but this cannot soften the message: "Silence Is Violence" and "Invisibleness Is Violence". At a time when text is overtaken by images, simple sentences become powerful slogans. The words, visually activated by their bright colors, depersonalized by the use of bar codes, hit hard. They are a reflection on the inertia that paralyzes a country following the Fukushima nuclear disaster whose consequences are still not fully known. But the silence and invisibleness are becoming part of the disaster itself, perpetuating the decay. Silence becomes a message of loss and defeat. But wait... is Taisuke Morishita referring only to Fukushima?
In the second room, two videos from Keiko Kamma displayed on two opposite walls treat the same theme and keep the conversation going. A peaceful white and black video of flowers and leaves falling in a stream is interrupted by short sentences: "keep the silence, no one knows" or "break the silence" upside down. One can almost hear the water looking at the poetic soothing scene but the text interrupting the images is a message of quiet destruction.
The third room was still in preparation but Jomi Kim's theme of absence, decay and transience came out loud and clear, translated through a pile of clothes abandoned on a rack.
An installation from Syuta Mitomo fills the fourth room. In his endeavor to break the silence from crowds, he developed a social practice which involves the public's participation as seen on a video. His final work assembles blue and red Keith Haring-like figures overcrowding a circle, a closer look reveals their differences. Some are more adventurous, climb up the wall and their shadows add a mysterious dimension. A new vision of the crowd is emerging from the work. A shift from "we are all equal, united and melt in a crowd which becomes powerless" to "we are in a crowd but all different and can act as individuals in concert to build and make changes". A simple project, very powerful with another vision of the future.

The Front succeeded in reaching a new landmark, an international exchange program.

photograph by the author:
Installation from Syuta Mitomo                                

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