Dance on Screen

02 November, 2002
Dance on Screen
(dance umbrella)
15: 00 The Place / The Robin Howard Dance Theatre

Home (Dir. Anton Califano, Chor.Jo Parkes, UK 2002, 4mins)
The beginning is like a documentary film. It is the story of three different families of each of different races living in the East End of London. But in the middle of the film, the casts enter an imaginative world.

Inasmuch (Dir. & Chor. Wim Vandekeybus, BEL 2001, 15 mins)
This film focuses on Birth and Death. The basic idea is nothing unsusual. A man faces the birth of his baby. And in the next scene the man faces the death of an old man, who seems to him like his son and his father. The scenes seems to merge the boundaries between illusion and reality. The scenes, in which young and old people are running on a sandhill are impressive, as well as the scene with the ruined ship "Normandy". When I see his works, which of course include dance pieces, my mind is full of affection to people, even when he focuses on violence. I think he is a remarkable film director, as well as a good choreographer.

A 1-Minuite Wander (Dir. Jo Ann Kaplan, UK 2002 / 1 min)
Dana Caspersen is featured.

Swanlake (Dir. Sonja Junkers / Chor. Katya Troger & Susi Wisiak)
A male dancer dances the Swanlake in the narrow bathroom. Funny piece.
I regret deeply that I have missed Tierry de May ‘s film Master Class.


Darwin Centre Phase one

03 November, 2002
Darwin Centre (National History Museum)
I joined the tour of the Darwin Centre. The centre was opened in September inside the National History Museum in the first part of a development program. Phase two will be opened in 2007. It houses the largest number of archives of biology and zoology in the world. (Now, they have 200,000 reptiles and amphibians, two million fish, two million mollusks and three million crustaceans.) Normally we can see only the ground floor. Many bottles of specimen, which are full of formaldehyde, are lined up on the glass cases. Although only a small part of the collection, it's overwhelming in the sense of wonder that biology or zoology provides for people. Nature created the miracle form.
We need to register for a tour of the other section. The maximum number of participants of a tour are 8 people. Everybody has to wear a white coat before entering the closed section. We go to some storage rooms, working rooms, in which scientist use to investigate or make specimens, on other floors. It's a disappointing that most specimens are behind closed doors in the shelf. Only some specimens are shown to visitors. Putting exhibits on display naturally conflict with interests of good preservation. It's difficult to cope with both storage and putting specimens on show in the museum. But I had a really good time seeing the exhibits at the natural history museums both in Paris and NY. I think the Darwin Centre's main purpose is not show. However it showed me the significance of the impact that people such as Charles Darwin, Captain Cook and so on made in history in Britain.
The tour lasts for thirty mins.


Steve McQueen

03,05 November, 2002
Steve McQueen
Caribs' Leap / Western Deep
Artangel
Lumiere
02 Oct - 10 Nov
Lumiere is the film theatre near St Martin in the Fields. The cinematic installations by Steve McQueen, which was one of the Artangel program, took place there. At Lumiere, all sheets and screens were taken away. It seemed like a ruin, and not a film theatre. More like a factory or something like that. It was a strange place. A large white wall was set on the middle of the theatre as a screen. "Western Deep" was projected on the wall where the normal screen would have been. And "Caribs' Leap" was projected on the wall in the middle and the wall on the back.
"Caribs' Leap" consists of two films. One describes daily life of people living in the north of the Caribbean island of Grenada, where there was a cruel history. But the focus is on everyday life in the film. In another film, as opposed to the Caribbean people's film, there is an image of a man is falling in the sky slowly. The man appears in the screen many times from different angles. While watching the falling man several times, he seemed to swim in the sky willingly not falling. I felt the world of released mind. On the other hand, it refers also to a scene in their history. In 1651, most Caribbeanss, including children, jumped from the top of the cliff to the death because the French forced them. It was the f(l)ight for resistance.
"Western Deep" focuses on the one of the world's largest goldmines near Johannesburg in South Africa. A camera follows miners into an elevator which connects the ground and the deep underground for two miles and places for miners' health examination. Quite impressive is the contrast of industrial noise and silence and deep dark, and blinking artificial light or sunshine. He describes the black miners' severe working condition. Lumiere suits that the image brings us to another place, the goldmine.
On 3rd November I couldn't see "Caribs' Leap" because of trouble with the projector, and I revisited on 5th.


06 November, 2002
Jonathan Horowitz
Pillow Talk
Sadie Coles HQ
17 Oct - 16 Nov



06 November, 2002
Ilya Kabakov
The Toilet in the Corner
SPROVIERI
03 Oct - 16 Nov



06 November, 2002
Andreas Serrano
AMERICA
Gimpel Fils
25 Oct - 30 Nov



06 November, 2002
Holywood is a Verb
Gagosian Gallery
29 Oct - 20 Dec

Included classic works by Ed Rusha, David Hockney, Dennis Hopper and Andy Warhol, and more recent paintings and photography by Maurizio Cattelan, Philip-Lorca di Corcia, Dexter Dalwood, Dougras Gordon and Cindy Sherman.

Bark Dance Productions

05 November, 2002
Bark Dance Productions
Now Blind Yourself
20: 00 The Place / The Robin Howard Dance Theatre
This work was a mix piece of Dance and Theatre. But it was not a Tanztheater. In this work, the part of dance was dance, the part of theatre was theatre. I guess the director (Jan de Schynkel) wanted to create a theatrical poem. But I didn't enjoy this experiment. The actors and the dancers lacked fascination. Only lighting sets were interesting. The left-hand of the stage, a big light ball hanged down. The texts were projected on the surface of the ball from inside. Some fluorescent lights covered with a long and narrow vinyl were hung over the stage. The lights seemed like the backbones of animals. But the chair on which the main character (a blind old man) was sitting was the wrong choice. Its chair, which like Marcel Breuer's one did not match other sets and costumes. The dancers' costume were like decorative swimming suits. It made dancers' bodies seem like sausages. In addition, I think there was also a problem in the ensemble of dancers.
The old blind man required a girl to read the book. But the texts she read have been written on her skirt. I think "Book" should have a book shaped material. Because pleasures which a book gives us are in touching and seeing the material, not only in reading or in listening to the voice. It might be that reading the book had a sexual meaning in this play. I think that it was the less of sexually attractive if the director has intended that.


11 November, 2002
Turner Prize
Tate Britain

In this year, those nominated for the Turner Prize were Keith Tyson, Liam Gillick, Catherine Yass and Fiona Banner. Keith Tyson's works are most enjoyable because of his various methods and quotations in his drawing. Liam Gillick is a maker of object and designer and also writer. His works are stylish. Fiona Banner uses erotic texts. It is controversial but not impressing for me.
Catherine Yass made a lot of impression on me. She exhibits films and light boxes. The film named "Flight 2002" was shot from a remote controlled model helicopter flying around the roof of Broadcasting House, London. The sight with camera is falling down or rising suddenly. No. If anything, I can't recognize the direction "up" or "down". The camera seems to move as if it were out of control. My physical perception was changed by only sight of the film. Another film "Descent"s sight is rising with falling. We see a shot of the following a skyscraper which is under constructtion from top to bottom in deep fog. However, the film was projected up side down. It reminded me of the words "To be free, one must first fall." The light box series are images made by this footage. These are mere colour lines, which have become an impression of light and graphical meaningless surface of time. I voted for her.



Logic of the Birds
11 November, 2002
Shirin Neshat
Logic of the Birds
Artangel
20: 00 Union Chapel
Union Chapel is an arts and music venue in Islington. The live performing " Logic of the Birds" took place in this gothic interior. This work was inspired by Persian poet and mystic Farid al-Din Attar's 12th century masterpiece "The Conference of The Birds". The three big screens have been set in a chapel, some beautiful footage, which shows a woman(Sussan Deyhim) floating in a lake, the woman and Muslim people wandering on the wasteland which have been blown up in places, the standing woman on a red heath and so on, projected on that. The woman and people, who were featured in the footage, performed. Their music and footage were beautiful and strong. But it was flat and too heavy.


12 November, 2002
Bridie Productions <http://www.outofschoolhourslearning.org/site/partners/performingarts/bridie.htm>
The Hunchback of Bethnal Green
19: 30 St John in Bethnal Green
This is the modern and Bethnal Green version of "The Hunchback" by Hugo. Bethnal Green is in East End of London, many immigrants have lived there for many decades. "The Hunchback of Bethnal Green" was performed in an old chapel in front of the tube station.
As the audience was waiting in the entrance hall, suddenly the lighting went down. The play started the steps at both sides of the hall. After then the audience acted as "the audience". The story proceeded at places of this chapel and the audiences followed the actors and actresses.
I couldn't imagine that such an immoral play could be performed in a real chapel. A Romany girl Esmeralda dances bewitchingly for the Father in front of Christ's statue. The Father entreats Esmeralda to marry him at back of the chapel. The black Hunchback dances Michael Jackson right in the chapel. A drug dealer threatens the Father with a pistol. At the basement, there is Hell. There is Violence, Sex and Drugs.
All casts were fascinating.
The production make me remind me Shuji Terayama's play. (He was a Japanese experimental playwright.) He often made the audience act "the audience" and the theatre opened onto the real city. In the last scene of this play, the door of the chapel opens and the Hunchback releases to the actual town. We could see a real double decker go past a road over the door. But this play's theme was the release from chapel (Father), But Terayama had focused incestuous love and hate between a mother and a son. This is big difference.
Anyway I was really impressed. There are some rooms for artist in residence at the basement of this chapel. And also regarding the performance I saw last night, I was moved by the strong support and tolerance for the Art by the Chapel.



17 November, 2002
Emma Kay
The Laws of the Land
The Approach
- 17 Nov

Emma Kay exhibited eight panels, printed British legal documents, on the wall in her latest work.
From Adoption Act, Freedom of Information Act, Homeless Person Act, Wild Plants until Protection Act, the eighty four acts were listed by small letters heavily. But depending on the context they seem almost to limit our rights, instead of protecting them. It shows us the framework of rights in Law.



17 November, 2002
Leon Grodski
Great Balls of Fire 2001
Anthony Wilkinson Gallery
One of the video programmes "NEAR-LIFE EXPERIENCE".
This video was taken on a street in NY in the afternoon of September 11, 2001.
A camera takes a man, who is singing, asking a pedestrian for coins with a coca-cola cup. The pedestrians are walking wearing a mask not in a hurry, but in normal speed. Sometimes the scenes, in which the World Trade Center building is falling apart, are insert until it become mere white smokes at night.
The building is collapsing, the pedestrians are walking on the street, the man is cursing and swearing. You could never see such a sight on the CNN.



17 November, 2002
Cornford & Cross
Nylon
30 Oct - 21 Dec

Presented some proposal for site-specific political art projects. Photography, drawings, models, clippings and plan about Afghanistan, Hyde Park and etc.


21 November, 2002
Rachel Whiteread
Haunch of Venison
30 Oct - 21 Dec

This is European art which aspires to be light-footed but in vain, because of the burdens of tradition and history.


21 November, 2002
Glen Lunchford and Paul Berczeller
Here to Where
Sadie Coles HQ
20 Nov - 23 Nov

I saw this documentary-like film in an art gallery.
According to the instruction of this film, Alfred Merhan, from the Middle East, has lived on a bench in the basement of Terminal 1 in Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport for 11 years. He couldn't enter Paris and go to any countries, likes the protagonist of Kafka's "The Castle", because he didn't have the papers he needed. The lawyers fought for is freedom and he was finally granted travel papers in 1999. He could go anywhere he wanted in the world. But all he wanted to do was stay on the bench. This story reminds me of "Fallen from Heaven" directed by Philippe Lioret featuring the unforgettable Jean Rochefort. And the title reminds me of J.L.Godard's film.
The film follows the story of how ambitious American film director Paul Hugo tries to make a film about Alfred and failed. Deserving special mention is Abbas Kiarostami stars as himself in the movie. In it, he is asked to play the role of a psychiatrist. In the first scene in which Abbas meets Alfred, Abbas speaks in French not in English to Alfred, on the other hand Alfred doesn't speak in French. They couldn't communicate and there is a silence. They are upset in this unexpected and ridiculous situation. We foreboded the unfortunate future of this film from this scene. In the next time Abbas tries speaking his lines in English. But he has a question for the way this film is in this time. After an argument between Abbas and Paul, Abbas escapes from this film and the airport where this film is located. He said that Paul should let Alfred alone. He is a victim. That's true. He loses the actor and the fund at the end. Paul's father was a refugee and the film and taking the prize of Cannes would have established his identity if he had succeeded. Eventually he loses hope. On the other hand, Alfred doesn't have his official identify. Nevertheless he lives everyday life on the bench with a serene state of mind. This filmed like a making film about the unaccomplished movie. But this is a well-made fictional film about Film.


24 November, 2002
Reality Check
14 Wharf Road
24 Oct - 24 Nov

Exhibited works by Roderick Buchanan, k r buxey, Phil Collins, Alan Currall, Graham Fagen, Ori Gersht, Dryden Goodwin, Luke Gottelire, Nigel Shafran, Lesley Shearer, David Shringley, Keith Tyson, Michelle Williams, Saskia Olde Wolbers, Shizuka Yokomizo and Bettina von Zwehl. Organized by The Photographer's Gallery.


25 November, 2002
Pedro Almodóvar
Talk to Her (2002)
Odeon Wardour St
In the first scene I see Pina Baush’s dance masterpiece "Café Müller". Pina Baush and Pedro Almodóvar, I felt strange this combination first.
This film is mellow like the song by Caetano Veloso featured. Humour, sweet sadness and challenging polite ideas about sex are all his style. For example the male nurse, who acts like a gay person, lies about his sexual inclination and rapes a coma girl he loves. A sensitive protagonist is in tears by Pina Baush. And a brave female bullfighter fears a snake. This is a story about impossible love. This setting is his own. But this film has different flavour from others. In the last scene, Pina Baush’s dance work ("Masurca Fogo") is featured again. I was really impressed with this matching. His film has become very sophisticated. This film is excellent. I was gripped. But I think I am not alone in missing his earlier "bad-taste" style of film.


26 November, 2002
Martin Scorsese
My Voyage to Italy (2001)
National Film Theatre
Martin Scorsese’s "The history of Italian Film" started from his family memory, in Little Italy, NY in the early 20th Century. His grandfather was an immigrant from Sicily. Surprisingly, he has preserved the old films, which filmed his big family. When he was a child, he saw a lot of films on his parents´ 16 inch black-and-white RCA Victor TV set. This voyage starts from a private life, but he didn´t tell the private history and the film´s history in piles. He only indicated how the immigrants think Italy in modern Italian films. The movie doesn´t trace his roots directly but explains how he caught the tender views from the classic Italian films. He tells the styles of Neorealismo directors and so on with footage from the masterpieces.
I couldn´t supress my tears in "The Biycle Thives" and "Umberto D" by De Sica, discovered the shocking beauty of "La Terra Trema" by Visconti, moved with the sharpness of "Germany, Year Zero" and beautiful Bergman’s action in the "Europe 51", "Voyage to Italy" and "Stromboli" by Rosselini, and absolute beauty of "L´Éclipsse" by Antonioni. (I really like Antonioni´s films), rediscovered the last scene of "La dolce Vita" which had been established in my mind in another way with Scorsese´s analysis.
The length of 245 mins, is full of pleasure of seeing Film, and is not long. A must see for all film lovers.


Biome, Eden Project
Eden Project
30 November, 2002
Eden Project http://www.edenproject.com/
I went to Cornwall. It’s 270 miles away from London. I left from London Victoria coach station at 23: 30 on the previous day and arrived at St Austell at 7:15 on the next day. I was very tired. I couldn’t sleep on the coach. I remembered Japanese coaches which are comfortable. And I missed Su-Udon in the service areas. (Su-Udon is Japanese noodle soup. It has no topping except chives. I like the simplicity of it. I’ve always wanted to eat it there.
Now it’s winter. It was raining. This means season off. Nevertheless, a lot of people were there. I recognised the success story of the Eden project with my eyes.
Biomes are absolutely amazing. Biomes itself are like living colonies. They seem like eggs of frogs or the insect Ohmu from the Japanese animation film ” Nausicaa of Valley of Wind”.
If Buckminster Fuller lived now, he would be satisfied to see Biome. Biome is the biggest geodesic dome in the world. The Eden Project is really appropriated to his geodesic concept, which is creating the maximum energy from minimum energy. This architecture is photogenic both from the inside and outside. The dynamic rainforest landscape inside the Biome is wonderful.
This area has been a disused china clay pit. The scientists developed a way of bringing this area to life again without bringing clay from other places. This project is expected to spread to other wastelands around world.
Meanwhile I was not impressed with art works in Eden. These are of exotic taste. I think the founder sees the myth in the exoticism. And they present the myth to us by low tech. Even though the architecture is very high tech. The project suggests how to live with plant life for the present and also with a vision of the long term in mind. According to an article on the Wired’s site Mr Tim Smit, the founder, doesn’t have faith in interactive technology. I’m wondering if it means he hasn’t hope in communication technology. Perhaps he likes the way of physical.
In addition, I never saw exhibits about the genetic modification. GM is out of the myth of relationship of the human and the plant. But I think that we need to get the story, not the myth, about GM now. (I think that GM should not be made a myth so easily.) Anyway this project is full of hope and optimism. It’s good. Because the Eden was named from Eden. They found out optimism, which they believe that we can survive with, from the myth. Maybe the Eden project is just a tropical garden.


*Buckminster Fuller Institute <http://www.bfi.org/><http://www.bfi.org/Trimtab/summer02/eden.html>


Special thanks: Kengo Oshima