The dialogue with Viktor began when Russia invaded Ukraineand Viktor invited Japanese artists to write anti-war statements for a letter campaign called “Letters for Peace”. Does loving someone also mean that you will lose that person eventually? Do we start a fight to prevent the loved one from getting hurt? We don’t really know what the future holds, but we believe that now we can love more people and understand each other more.
*ビクターさんは国外からオンラインで参加になり、トークは英語で行われますが、日本語でのサマリーや通訳のサポートを行います/ The talk will be held in English. Language support for Japanese will be provided on an as-needed basis.
*トークの記録 (02:38:29)をお配りしておりますので、ご興味のある方はご連絡ください。For those who are interested in the talk the documentation (02:38:29) is available. Please contact directly.
涙で梅干しを作る Making plum pickles with teas
Mako Fukuda 福田真子/ Kana Kimura 木村佳奈 With Kyoko Ebata 江幡京子
House of Ebata was the home of Kyoko Ebata’s grandparents. A few years ago, pickled plums that seemed to have been made by Ebata’s grandmother some half-century ago were found in the barn. Dried plums have long been a popular preserved food and food medicine. Preserved food is an ongoing living memory and a family history that is passed on. In screenings for the film “The Desert of the Moon”, which is about Ebata’s father’s death-watch, Kana Kimura and Mako Fukuda suggested that we should use the pickled plums in the ritual of “eating them together, crying together, making salt with a large quantity of forcibly collected tears, and using the salt to dip the newly grown plums in the garden tree”, so that even in mourning, we can practise not forgetting to find strength in life and a sense of humour.
The idea of preserving food without allowing it to spoil is itself an attempt to ‘resist death’. Waking up the dried plums in our bodies, which have been sleeping for a long time in a dream, defying death, is an act of synchronising the dried plums with our time axis and making life and death in continuity. The dream is then activated by our tears and crystallised into salt. Salt is indispensable for living beings, but at the same time it can kill all living things, if we use too much of it. By using the salt, our bodies meet the plum tree, which bears new fruit again this year, and together we pass it on to the next generation.
*The pickled plums were tested by Food Microbiology Centre Inc. and found to be safe for human consumption.
Viktor Belozerov is an independent researcher. Graduated from the Art History Faculty of the Russian State University for the Humanities (Moscow). Created the educational project Gendai Eye, which aims to promote contemporary Japanese culture in Russia. Currently the lead researcher of the Japanese Laboratory J100R, which focuses on ideas about contemporary Japanese art in Russia from the 1920s to the present.
アーティスト。ゴールドスミス卒。日常で目にする様々な事柄をテーマにそこで生活する者の目線から時代を表現する。現在はプロジェクトスペースHouse of Ebataを運営しつつ、国内外で発表している。
Kyoko Ebata is an artist, graduated from Goldsmiths’ College. She expresses the times from the perspective of a person living in everyday life. Currently runs the project space House of Ebata, while exhibiting widely.http://kyokoebata.com
Kimura has graduated from Fine Art BA, Iceland University of the Arts. From a cultural anthropological perspective, the artist observes and produces the transition of internal and external relations. Focusing on transience and the dynamic movements that take place there, she attempts projects and workshops, which she calls ‘ritual production’. She run a web magazine “vulnerable people” https://kanakimura.wixsite.com/kanakimura
One day, I received an email from my mother. She told me that cancer had been found in my father’s lower jaw and they had decided not to operate. I didn’t object, as my father had been suffering from the aftereffects of a brain haemorrhage for 22 years and had been battling with the disease. Before I knew it, they decided to take care of my father at home. His cancer was progressing rapidly and the doctors said he only had two weeks to live, and that he might choke to death before dying of cancer from phlegm in his throat. So I decided to stay at my parents’ flat for a while.
The suctioning of phlegm, which involves inserting a tube deep into the lungs, continued twice daily for nearly two months, and my father lived in hell. My mother and I could not do anything but watch him. We didn’t know anything about end-of-life care, so we said goodbye to him twice. A few weeks later, he had a black stool. Apparently, before dying, the human body has to expel all the filth out of it. It was black liquid. On the third time, my father really passed away.
Looking back, I feel that by being there for my father, I prolonged the time he spent suffering without realising it. I felt I had to watch him die, and my judgement became more and more impaired as I nursed him without beaks. Just a hundred years ago, it would have made sense to show him mercy. And perhaps it was I, the eldest daughter, who had to do it. Love is also violence. We really loved our father.
monade contemporary | 単子現代では、アーティスト江幡京子による「月の沙漠 | The Desert Moon」を開催します。
monade contemporary | 単子現代 is honoured to present The Desert Moon by artist Kyoko Ebata.
Kyoko Ebata has explored the loneliness and violence surrounding people’s lives and deaths through exhibitions of her photographs taken inside the homes of elderly people in various countries around the world, as well as photography workshops for young people in East Timor. More recently, she has been engaged in the process of opening her home to the public as a space for living with others and collaborating in the production of artworks, while searching for a new mode of life and death or community for survival and living in relation to the nation, region, individual, and nature.
In recent years, while reflecting on the video recordings of her father’s end-of-life care, Ebata has been creating short films that tell stories focusing on her father, experiences with family, and the nature of human life and death. The exhibition will be an opportunity for Ebata to share with the audience the process of overcoming the grief of losing her father and time of mourning to reexamine her lost father and family, life and death, then the world that comes in the future. How does love turn into violence as it meets death, and how does love keep memory alive along with death? Please join us for lyrical poetry in the moment of loss that wavers between love and violence.
* To purchase a work on display about my father’s first love, you will be asked to draw a tarot card from a pack of major arcana and the card is corresponding to a work. Then Mizumi-san, the cafe owner of the gallery/a professional tarot-reader will give you a reading alongside minor arcana cards.
The gallery is situated in the middle of Gion, the most exclusive geisha district in Japan. A cathouse is the neighbour of the gallery. The 1000 years of history of men and women astonished me. I couldn’t dare add any more words to the space.
So I decided to change the plan of installation and chose the texts from my father’s diary (Sorry, Dad. You were too cute!) about his affection towards a young girl when he was 15 years old. He only spoke to her 3 times in the year.
I know it is impossible but even in the hardest time of our life, trying to keep love in your heart is important. And simple words like these are very important in a place like this.
Burmese women artists are staying with us.ミャンマー人の作家さん達が泊まって下さってます。勇敢でエネルギーに満ち、光り輝くような美しさを持った方々で、毎日沢山の力をいただいてます。オンゴーイングでの展示は26日(日)までだそうです！The show at Ongoing is until Sunday. They are so brave, beautiful and full of energy! I am totally in love with them. We talked so much about the strange world we live in. Incredible experience. Thank you so much for staying with us😍
When a human being is born, the first thing they do is look for their mother’s white breast milk. When we die, we expel black stool from our bodies to cleanse our bodies before we breathe our last. For humans, the time towards the end of life may be the process of returning to the mother’s body.
Recently, Hanae Utamura became a mother and Kyoko Ebata has lost her father.
For two months, Ebata stared at her father, who was only suffering in living hell even though he was definitely on his way to death. In ancient times, she would have had to kill him to stop the suffering of her beloved father, but because she loved him, she wanted him to be there, and she just kept shedding tears.
When Ebata’s father was in very pain, he said “mom”. She was not sure if he was referring to his mother or his wife, but she, who had never been a mother, was shaken by the idea of a mother, and now, confronting her own mother, with whom she had been at odds for a long time. She feels a strange sense of change in their relationship, frightened of her mother’s death, frightened of being alone, and trying to rebuild connections with others.
Alongside Utamura’s own mother is supporting her father, she who has become a “mother” experiences pure love, pleasure and pain for her child, and struggles with the codependency of pain and healing, in which she devotes herself to the other person and supports the other person’s body, while being thrown around by the contradictions of modern society, which continues to polarize, repeat, and self-propagate the individual.
The beginning of life and the experience of death, which a person experiences once in a lifetime, is a world that has no memory and can only be perceived from the outside. While there must be countless stories, it seems that there are very few opportunities to talk about this today.
In the field of life and death, there are families and people who care for them. With the development of science and medicine, humans seem to be becoming more and more free, and the choices we have seem to be getting more and more confusing. And with the overflow of information, we seem to be more and more divided.
The United Nations issued a report on “human security,” reporting that although humanity has become economically prosperous, six out of seven people are insecure. And in the midst of the corona disaster, war has started again. What was it that we had built up?
Ebata and Utamura, now living in Japan and the US, are at a turning point in their lives. They make works about these issues while deepening their dialogues, examining the history of societies and countries from personal family relationships, reviewing the values and knowledge systems that modernization has promoted, and trying to rethink what the heck it means to live as human beings on this earth.
House of Ebata happily presents the group show ‘Green’. The focus of the show is painting and especially the problem of how to start a painting. House of Ebata strictly specifies that all works in the exhibition will be green. The choice of green may be arbitrary. And the starting point of a painting may also be arbitrary.
“[As in the example of Duchamp’s Pharmacy] painting at its most elemental and elementary was a colour decision. But the implications of any colour decision – given due weight – are emotionally and ontologically intense.” (John Chilver)
If green is a decision, the exhibition asks what kind of decision it can be: as the determinant of the mood, feel, image, symbol, chemical and associations. Is green a unity or an infinite subdivision? Is the monochrome the ghosted polychrome? Is green sacred or salted? Proper primary or sneezing secondary? Is green there to calm our nerves? Or to get tuned up for an afterimage that will follow that we’ll say is red?
‘Green’ combines works by experienced painters (John Chilver, Rie Iwatake, Simon Willems and Diana Zrnic) with a novice painter (Kyoko Ebata).
Special Thanks: 岡本大河｜Taiga Okamoto, 中島 ふみえ| Fumie Nakashima, John Tran
Emily Rosamond Teaching the Remedial Class in Political Economy and Algorithm Studies,2017,John Chilver, oil on canvas, 30.5 × 25.4 cm
Starting a painting is no harder and no easier than starting any other kind of artwork: it begins with a sense of something lacking, which provokes a desire for something to be made and seen. This making doesn’t resolve the lack in any real way, but – if things go well – it alters its pressure.
In ‘Pharmacy’, Duchamp tried to reduce painting to a pure decision: just get any vaguely romantic landscape image and add 2 coloured dots. This was a negation of sorts. But it still feels like an affirmation. It’s a decision but interestingly for Duchamp it was still a decision about color.
Colour is transorganic, meaning it is of the mind and simultaneously of the world. It is also radically contingent and radically discontinuous. For example, we see brown as a colour, yet brown is nowhere to be found in the rainbow. In scientific terms, brown is a corrupted orange. But in the visual world we see brown and orange as equals.
Duchamp’s lesson in ‘Pharmacy’ was perhaps that painting at its most elemental and elementary was a colour decision. But the implications of any colour decision – given due attention – are emotionally and ontologically intense.
John Chilver is an artist and writer. His work orbits around painting, understood as a stage for scenes of agency and dispute, and styles of subjectivity. He invokes image-making as an unstable site of inquiry. Since the late 1990s he has exhibited and published widely. He studied philosophy at the University of Reading and art at Goldsmiths College, London. He lives and works in London.
Recent solo exhibitions have included Xero Kline and Coma, London, 2018; The Near Abroads, Atlas House, Ipswich, 2019; and The Scene of Instruction, Coleman Projects, London, 2021.
アーティスト／作家。レディング大学で哲学を、ゴールドスミスカレッジ（ロンドン）で美術を学んだ後、1990年代後半から、幅広く展示や出版を行い、ロンドンを拠点に活動している。作品は、主体性や争いの場面、主観性のスタイルの舞台として理解されている絵画を中心に展開され、イメージの制作を不安定な探究の場として様々なアプローチを試みている。近年の個展に「Xero Kline and Coma」（ロンドン、2018）、「The Near Abroads」（アトラスハウス、イプスウィッチ、2019）、「The Scene of Instruction」（コールマン・プロジェクト、ロンドン、2021）など。
Exploiting a friendship from John Chilver, <<Oak and Air>> 2012-2017, oil on panel, 40 × 40 cm, 2022, Kyoko Ebata (work in progress)
The Case of T&S 2020; Good Bye My Father, 2021~, Kyoko Ebata, digital video 11:41 and stillpictures
When I was very young, I had made some paintings, and looking back they were selfies and also copying a sight which I see on photographs, so I would say I was taking pictures or performing rather than painting.
I enjoy looking at paintings very much and I would like to look into the world of painting at least once in my life. However, when I wanted to paint, I didn’t know where to start. I drew a red circle on paper, but then I had to decide what to do next. I felt it was too much responsibility. Usually when I make a piece of work, I have an image or a concept in my head, or it just appears in front of me, and I feel a pang. Then it usually becomes a work of art.
So I have decided to start by ‘exploiting’ the sincere friendship of the participant, John Chilver, as I always do in other works. I had once seen a piece of his work on a mobile and thought it was wonderful, without realizing that it was only part of the work. This time, I’m going to try to enter the world of painting by copying the part of that painting.
I tried to draw a bit, but unlike photography, it’s very hard to exploit. The wet-on-wet approach is similar to a way of life. I think it is also similar to housework. In housekeeping, you have your own standard, “this place should be kept like this”, and you always work to maintain it. In painting, you have to work at a certain time and in a certain way in order to match your image of what the painting should look like. If I wait until I’m in the mood, the paint will harden. I can’t wait until I feel motivated. You have to move even if you don’t feel like it. In a way, it’s like a habit to live a healthy life. It’s contradictory to my way of making things, which reacts to external stimuli.
アーティスト。東京出身、ロンドン大学ゴールドスミス校卒業。グローバル社会、大都市での生活、戦争と平和、デザインとタブー、記憶と場所、高齢者社会、東日本大震災、環境問題、家族、愛情などをテーマに生活者の目線から時代を表現する。現在は国立市の庭付古民家をプロジェクトスペースに、制作やキュレーションを行いつつ、国内外で発表している。主な展覧会・賞与に「横浜トリエンナーレ2020」、「Volcana Brainstorm; 江幡京子展」、「The Perfect Day to Fly」（ギャラリー・ハシモト、2018）、「あいちトリエンナーレ2010」、「現代美術展企画コンペ」、「現代美術地中海ビエンナーレ2010）、「カルチャー・オブ・フィアー」、「Halle 14」（2006）、「MEDIARENA：日本の現代美術」（the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery、2004）、「ヤング・ビデオ・アーティスト・イニシアティブス」受賞（森美術館準備室、2002）がある。
Kyoko Ebata is a Tokyo based artist, studied in Geneva and Oxford for schools, and graduated from Goldsmiths’ College. Ebata works on diverse projects in various mediums around her everyday life including global society, life in metropolis, war and peace, design and taboo, memory and place, aging society, the Great East Japan Earthquake, environmental issues, family and love. Currently, Ebata runs a project space at an old Japanese house in Tokyo showing a contemporary international programme. She has exhibited widely and received prizes as an artist. Key exhibitions include: Volcana Brainstorm, Yokohama Triannual 2020; The Perfect Day to Fly, Gallery Hashimoto, 2018,; Aichi Triennale 2010 Curatorial Exhibition Competition, Culture of Fear, Halle 14, 2006; The First Mediterranean Biennial of Contemporary Art, MEDIARENA: contemporary art from Japan, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, 2004; Young Video Artist Initiatives, Mori Art Museum, 2002
Atopon；No place|場所をもたない,2019, Rie Iwatake, archival pigment print on paper, 75 × 60 cm
The title of the work, Atopon (having no place), is a Greek word meaning a strange thing (moment) between motion and stillness.
By dividing an image of a landscape into sections and changing the size of the print particles in each section, the effect of combining images with different perspectives is created. The point of view is not a fixed point, but represents a fluid visual experience of time and distance.
There is a parallel relationship between the image space and the art material space on the same screen, with the landscape appearing as you move away and reducing to ink and paper as you approach.
To be able to see/to see/to be able/ see, observing and perceiving complement and interfere with each other. In the interlocking flow of seeing and looking, there is a visual experience that only the subject who is looking can see/see.
Rie Iwatake lives and works in Kanagawa, Since graduating from M.A. Art and Design Science, University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki in 2006 and B.A. Textiles, Department of Craft, Kanazawa College of Art, Ishikawa, she has traveled to make works in many locations including Peru, Paris, Yokohama and Taiwan. She often works as a unit with Junya Kataoka, combining kinetic and two-dimensional works in a spatial composition that creates a narrative in the encounter of materials and designs, and in which the subject matter of each work is gently echoed.Recent exhibitions include “MOT Annual 2020 Invisible Powers” Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo in 2020; Big Two- Hearted River, 3331 Arts Chiyoda, 1F 3331 Gallery, Tokyo in 2019; “BankART U35, Junya Kataoka+Rie Iwatake” BankART Studio NYK, Yokohama, “PyeongChang Biennale 2017” Gangneung, South Korea in 2017.
Green (Expand Monochrome)
Cast your eye to the left and the colour hovers between snooker table felt and AstroTurf, a brief entry of artifice that shouldn’t really work. Rebelling in the lower region of the painting, the riverbank in Morning Mist at Anderlys is a curious proposition: pitching green against green. It’s not just the colour, willing itself towards neon that appeals, when the cartoon graphics so characteristic of Felix Vallotton elsewhere (anticipating Hopper and Katz), accentuate this tension. Move to the right and the surface fogs – like Whistler’s Nocturnes – Green Earth and White stilling the river through a yellowing glaze. Except there’s a bluing in the mix, a mineral effect, and it’s hard to discern whether Oxide of Chromium or Pthalo are to blame. Either way, lime holds sway (Cinnabar Green, to be precise), marshalling the trees in the mid-distance.
Nocturne in Blue And Silver, 1875-80, James Abbott McNeill Whistler
Morning Mist at Anderlys, 1917, Felix Vallotton
Afterthought: Picasso’s Blue Period strikes a chord not so much because blue is the signature, as to how this is achieved. Whether you’re looking at The Old Guitarist, Two Women at a Bar, or The Blue Room, what is primary is not the idea of monochrome as a point of singularity, so much as a space of difference, fuelled by the possibility that blue is a range as much as a given pigment. All hues are up for grabs, that is the point: monochrome doesn’t have to mean Gerhard Richter or Mark Tansey. Navigate the surface of any one piece and you’ll find Cerulean, Prussian and Cobalt, not to mention complementary earths, in all manner of applications.
Simon Willems is a London-based artist. He is currently a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Reading (UK), where he completed a practice-based PhD in Fine Art in 2019, having graduated from the Painting School at the Royal College of Art in 2000. He has shown widely in both solo and group exhibitions throughout Europe and North America, including solo exhibitions at Torrance Art Museum (Los Angeles), FRAC Auvergne (Clermont-Ferrand), Elephant West (London), Galerie Polaris (Paris) and Wallspace (New York) His work has featured and been reviewed in Flash Art, Art Review and Elephant Magazine amongst other publications, and was included in the survey painting publication, A Brush with the Real:Figurative Painting Today (Laurence King Publishing). Willems has written and published articles in the Journal of Contemporary Painting, the Journal of Organizational Aesthetics and the painting journal Turps Banana.
ロンドンを拠点に活動するアーティスト。2000年にロイヤル・カレッジ・オブ・アートのペインティングスクールを卒業し、現在はレディング大学（イギリス）のブリティッシュ・アカデミー博士研究員として、2019年にファインアートにおける実践ベースの博士課程を修了。トーランス美術館（ロサンゼルス）、FRAC Auvergne（クレルモンフェラン）、Elephant West（ロンドン）、Galerie Polaris（パリ）、Wallspace（ニューヨーク）での個展をはじめ、ヨーロッパと北米の各地で発表している。作品は『Flash Art』『Art Review』『Elephant Magazine』などの出版物で紹介され、絵画の研究書『A Brush with the Real: Figurative Painting Today』 (Laurence King Publishing) で紹介された。また、『Journal of Contemporary Painting』、『Journal of Organizational Aesthetics』、絵画専門誌『Turps Banana』に執筆している。
Time Does That, 2022, Diana Zrnic, 80 X 70 cm, Oil on canvas
Is painting an overly chewed bubble gum that lost its flavour? It became almost radical to push the pigment over the flat surface in the last few decades, criticized as old-fashioned, commodifying, or irrelevant. The fact that painting is in its most usual form flat like the screens in our pockets and on our tables makes one wonder whether the oldest art form, questioned to the point of crucifixion unlike any other, is in fact the most relevant in relation to the context of vast digital networks. Often contrasted rather than compared for the obvious physical/digital differences, paintings and screens are, all in all, both portals offering the clashing of realities in the strong illusory conjunction between real and projected spaces.
Simultaneously shrinking and stretching space of the mind and the surroundings, painting and the Internet pose a question of where we see things being real. In constant search for bits of that real, even in the unreal, we are looking for something that resonates or vaguely resembles our sense of existence, genuineness, relevance, and importance.
While offering spaces we cannot touch or step into, paintings and screens are still excellent hosts. Although physically fragile, they have the strength to put up with any content we lay on them. Resilient to stories, figures, crazy ideas, good or bad antithesis, they testify to there being no actual or absolute truths by offering a variety of possibilities.
With painting, the key notion is that of the frame and what fits inside. Constraints are essential to the very existence of painting as it depends on the limits of the object it inhabits and the architecture it becomes a part of. Contemporary painting means pushing against some constraints while working along with others. While a rejection of the weight of painting in the 80s was an inspection of what painting is and what taking pleasure in the paint is, today, it is not so much about rejection as it is about arriving and departing in different directions.
Although always present, stripped of its prominence by consciously holding onto its own materiality, painting is coming back, and the world is flat once again!
Diana Zrnic, born in 1995 in Zagreb, is an emerging artist living and working in the UK. She completed her postgraduate degree MFA Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2021 after graduating from the Academy of Fine Art in Zagreb in 2018. Zrnic attended three residency programs; in Barcelona, Berlin, and Lapua, which resulted in group and solo exhibitions. Most recent shows include Grads Now at Saatchi gallery in London and the 6th Biennial of Painting at HDLU in Zagreb. Mainly working with paintings and sculptures, her latest work explores notions of hybridity, simultaneity, and displacements of our lives and world. Imagery seen in her work deploys experiences of disparate forces, the reality of being implicated in an excessive number of processes at various scales and how, in a material sense, the body is the co-processor of digital information.
1995年ザグレブ（クロアチア）生まれ。2018年ザグレブの美術アカデミーを卒業後、2021年ロンドン大学ゴールドスミス校の大学院MFAファインアート課程修了。イギリスを拠点に、主に絵画と彫刻を制作している。最新作では私たちの生活や世界の混成性、同時性、変位といった概念を探求している。作品に見られるイメージは、異質な力の経験、様々なスケールで過剰な数のプロセスに関与している現実、そして物質的な意味で、身体がデジタル情報の共同処理者であることを表現している。近年の展覧会に「Grads Now」（サーチ・ギャラリー、ロンドン）、「第6回Biennial of Painting」（HDLU、ザグレブ）など。
Contact info(a)kyokoebata.com for direction to House of Ebata and appointments.
House of Ebataへのアクセス、予約についてはinfo(a)kyokoebata.comにお問合せ下さい。
<<The Case of T&S; Good Bye Father>> was shown as a result of works shop which I was invited as a guest work shop a guest workshop leader on martial arts to investigate a relation between love and violence through working with martial art groups in Dili.
I was not sure what I could show next to the performance of violence by people from Timor-Leste. Only violence I can think of is that our family decided to watch my father’s death at home last year, and he suffered so much at the end of his life.Living in Japan, I don’t really see real violence in everyday life, rather violence does not take physical form anymore. For some people violence is a form of communication and entertainment, or we talk about harassment all the time. Japan is more or less in a peaceful state but I feel how we humans are helpless. We need to keep making new friends and learn from each other.
A Photography Exhibition’7,610-kilometer Distance: Finally, We’ve Met One Another’byREKREATIF photographers from Timor-LesteFine art students from Silpakorn Universityand Kyoko Ebata, a guest artist from Japan1-24 AprilPSG Art GallerySilapakorn University, Bangkok
About the new video work in progress
Currently, Ebata is working on a documentary about her father’s end-of-life care and a film about life and death based on her research of folk traditions passed down from generation to generation, centering on the old well in the house where her father grew up.
Exhibition opening Wednesday 31 March 2021, 15:00, PSG Art Gallery Faculty of Painting, Sculpture, and Graphic Arts, Silpakorn University, Exhibition period1-24 April 2021 10:00 – 18:00, Closed on Sundays, Mondays and Public Holidays
“The virtue of all-in wrestling is that it is the spectacle of excess. Here we find a grandiloquence which must have been that of ancient theaters. And in fact wrestling is an open-air spectacle, for what makes the circus or the arena what they are is not the sky (a romantic value suited rather to fashionable occasions), it is the drenching and vertical quality of the flood of light. Even hidden in the most squalid Parisian halls, wrestling partakes of the nature of the great solar spectacles, Greek drama and bullfights: in both, a light without shadow generates an emotion without reserve.” ― R. Barthes, Analysis of wrestling from “Mythologies”
Goal: Understanding the culture of the participants with critical thinking and appreciate beauty and humanity
Definisaun: saida mak Arte Marsiais? / What is Martial Arts?
Historia: halo referensi ba realidade iha Timor / Reality in Timor-Leste
To study love and violence in human nature, REKREATIF, a collective of young Timorese photographers will study forms of martial arts and document the movement each other as central players of the free practices and spectators of the practices. https://www.facebook.com/groups/rekreatifmedia
Make something NEW
that only a contemporary Timor-leste can make.
Why there is the issue with martial arts groups in Timor-Leste?
A tradition is often created to unite a group of people.
What is tradition to you?
Investigate your feeling while the performance.
Do you also feel affection as well as excitement and anger?
“There is a miracle in every new beginning.” Hermann Hesse
Because of the Covid 19, we had to find a way to do the workshop remotely. I wanted to take this challenge into a chance to do something that I don’t usually do. Every work of mine always has my strong ego as a female Japanese artist. 10 out of 11 participants in the workshop are men. I thought this is a chance for me to do something that only boys can do.
I never really had a problem being a woman, but sometimes I felt I can’t join the boy’s club, like pro-wrestling in school (Yes, it was the 80’s). I couldn’t help myself to stop them and I was called Eba-police, which comes from a children’s TV show combined with my surname Ebata. I envied the boys talking about their secret base. They seem to warm friendship through pain as a sign of accepting each other.So I wanted to propose a project that only boys can do.
Learning about The 1999 East Timorese crisis, it seems to be appropriate to do something about violence , not to celebrate and as a disaster tourism, but to understand what is violence. A primitive violence can be a tool of communication and the physical power has been celebrated throughout human history. A love towards beauty, power usually encourages desire of possession and leads to violence. But love can survive as a noble mind.
It is great to have peace, in Japan physicality including violence becomes more like a fantasy rather than reality. But there is a downside of higher suiside rate and lower childbirth rate. To not have real space and real small violence, things can go crazy.
The sad history of the East Timorese crisis can be strong aura of the identity of the artists, and to think through physicality is very important part of martial arts, to have harmony in mind and body, which all of us feel strongly during the Covid 19 where everybody has to stay at home at the moment.
When I proposed the idea to the participants, they were shocked, saying it was dangerous. Apparently the martial arts groups are a hot issue in East Timor at the moment. It was a kind of miracle that I pointed out the important issue.
Near the end of his last book Chaosmosis (1993), Félix Guattari asks: ‘how do you bring a classroom to life as if it were a work of art?’ For Guattari, art is an endlessly renewable source of vitalist energy and creation, a constant force of mutation and subversion. He lays out a tripartite schema of art’s development, arguing that we are on the brink of a new paradigm in which art is no longer beholden to Capital. In this new state of affairs, which he names the ‘ethico- aesthetic paradigm’, art should claim ‘a key position of transversality with respect to other Universes of value’, bringing about mutant forms of subjectivity and rehumanising disciplinary institutions. Transversality, for Guattari, denotes a ‘militant, social, undisciplined creativity’; it is a line rather than a point, a bridge or a movement, motored by group Eros.
In other words, I would like to investigate love and violence in human nature with REKREATIF studying physicality and emotion through forms of martial arts. Although I need more research I could somehow understand this martial arts movement needing to protect themselves among different political powers and after the crisis, and low employment rate of course. However I hear that there are positive sides of this group that they are uniting the community. Young people are full of energy. After all an martial arts suppose to unite body and soul. The energy of people is so attractive.
I don’t consider workshop as a form of education, for me it is just making a project together as usual. But after I spent time talking to each participant and learnt a lot, it reminded of the do famous Paulo Freire’s education as a practice of freedom (educacao compo praticia) a little and made me like the idea of workshop. I am excited to see from this beautiful island East Timor.
– Kyoko Ebata, Tokyo, 17 February 2021
In the End
Through the Covid 19, I made a lot of good friends without meeting in person from a country where the sun rises and in same time zone as Japan but in completely different season. I feel I know them and I can trust them. What an interesting world. Although in terms of violence, I didn’t learn anything, I think. I only learned through conversation, book and photographies. I even admire them looking at the pictures that the participants took. I am not sure how I would feel I were there in Timor-Leste. I guess there are things that we cannot learn without being there.
Through the workshop, we tried martial arts performance in a kind of mockumentary, and even invented one dancing like technique which I would like to call REKREATIF Dancing Puch (please collect me if is not cool) if no one object. One of the REKREATIF member succeeded invite a person from different martial art group, which seems to be quite a difficult thing. I see this is as a kind of symbolic gesture of friendship of mart art groups in dispute, and very proud of them.
Other discovery was that there are ao many strong women in Timor-Leste. The women there are so beautiful and healthy. The recent trend of plus size fashion models, they really should use the women from Timor-Leste, they look happy, beautiful proud and strong. Maybe this is another fantasy I build up from the pictures and not from the reality by not being there. I see so many possibility here where a democracy has just starting to grow and makes me excited..
But if they are interested, perhaps the performance can be developed into Capoeira, Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics, and music. Or if there are next time for me to visit Timor-Leste, I would like to do something about dance that I like, exchanging denser representatives from each tribes and learn another style from different tribe and have a dance festival.
In the show we could only show a few works, I tired to show different emotions in the model, passion, pain, excitement, concentration, cares and affection. So pictures with similar expression were turned down, but it does not mean they are not good picture. REKREATIF produced many good pictures in very short time. And without the members like Janicia and Binsar who helped for translation and solved communication problems, we could not do this workshop. Also in the first one on one interviews with all the members of the participants, I feel very welcomed especially there was one who brought his family support our challenging project. I learned about the history between Timor-Leste and Japan too. I am so glad that nobody got injured in the end and I would remember all the words and smiles that we exchanged.
Thank you very much Ms. Toeingam Guptabutra, Faculty of Painting, Sculpture, and Graphic Arts, Silpakorn University, The Royal Photographic Society of Thailand, The Japan Foundation Asia Centre for giving me wonderful opportunity.