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This weekend: London as Tokyo - click opera
February 2010
 
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Wed, Jun. 25th, 2008 09:52 am
This weekend: London as Tokyo

It's the last weekend of June, 2008. You're standing outside the National Theatre on London's South Bank listening to a couple of tour guides talking through loud-hailers. One is a skinny Western male, the other a Japanese female. Apparently it's a tour called London as Tokyo, and it's part of the Hide and Seek Festival, an event celebrating something they're calling pervasive urban gaming. Adults become kids, reality becomes fantasy, work becomes play, the city becomes a playground, one place gets mapped to another, that kind of idea.



The tour guides are dressed in immaculate white aprons with hip-slung cream pouches containing leaflets about Tokyo. The lower parts of their bodies evoke waitstaff and information bureaux, the upper parts suggest bus conductors. The man informs a party of curious passersby that the building clearly labeled "National Theatre" is, in fact, La Foret, a multi-level fashion warren containing over a hundred independent fashion boutiques. We're standing, apparently, on the corner of Meiji Dori and Omote Sando in central Tokyo. Who knew?




Pointing across at a group of Spanish tourists snapping each other outside the National Film Theatre, the guide explains that they're actually Japanese teenagers who've come here specifically to be photographed by street fashion photographers. The Japanese woman then breaks in, excitedly informing the audience that Yama-Sama, the eccentric fashion icon who works at day-glo pseudo-Tyrolian hiking boot store Tokyo Bopper -- just round the corner on Cat Street! -- has been spotted wearing something polka-dotted. The audience whips round but sees only a family on a day trip from Leeds.

At this point, their consumerist appetites whetted, a few salivating stragglers break away from the tour and enter "La Foret", only to discover themselves in the 1970s ambience of a British theatre lobby. Instead of green glass trees designed by Klein Dytham they see faded red carpets. Middle-aged British people wearing rain capes are sitting by the windows eating overpriced salmon paste sandwiches. The splinter group steps back outside to find out what's going on, but the tour guides have moved upstream. They're heading for the London Eye, which they'll reveal to be, in reality, the elevated pedestrian walkways surrounding Shinjuku station -- a miracle of concrete transport planning carrying three million pedestrians per day in complete safety. They catch up just in time to learn about Japan Rail's earthquake drills and hear the story of Mr Sato, the gaffertape folk hero.



London-as-Tokyo
Momus and Hisae Mizutani
12:00pm to 6:00pm, Saturday 28th to Sunday 29th June, outside near the Southbank Centre, London

The London-as-Tokyo Tour is an action by Momus and his Japanese girlfriend Hisae Mizutani in which they'll ply up and down the pedestrian walkways of the South Bank dressed as tour guides, speaking through loudhailers about the buildings and sights as if they were places in Tokyo. Momus gave his first 'Unreliable Tour' in 2006, when he was invited to participate in the Whitney Biennial in New York, circulating daily through the galleries giving invented (and often absurd) accounts of the art on show. During Hide and Seek, Momus and Mizutani will transform London into Tokyo - a city they both know well - using nothing more than language and the collective power of imagination.

22CommentReplyShare


(Anonymous)
Wed, Jun. 25th, 2008 08:33 am (UTC)
what not seems

Be great if some people turn up and act as unofficial unreliable tour guides upsetting the cosy planned and officially sanctioned action of the London/Tokyo guides.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Jun. 25th, 2008 08:52 am (UTC)
Re: what not seems

Actually, that's been part of the idea from the start, but if we told people to do it, it would be "officially sanctioned", innit?


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Wed, Jun. 25th, 2008 11:04 am (UTC)
Re: what not seems

Of course if you told them that would really spoil it - I meant if the interventions were genuinely unplanned as in the original Situationist "pranks", rather than being part of some funded fun day out. Lets hope a whole bunch of eye patch wearing "guides" turn up and start creating havoc (or calm for that matter).....


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Wed, Jun. 25th, 2008 11:48 am (UTC)
Re: what not seems

The real question on everyone's lips:

Are you planning to do a Momus show in London when you're there for this? I recall you don't give a lot of notice when you play.. A 'yes' would seal the deal and I'd go and get a train ticket today.

If not, well I do hope to make it anyway :)


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Jun. 25th, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC)
Re: what not seems

Upcoming Momus pop-rock-folks concerts are outlined on my LastFM page:

July 2008
Friday 4 July 2008
Faraday Festival
Tachenko, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, Momus, Howe Gelb, Robyn Hitchcock, I Was a Cub Scout, El Guincho, The Lodger, Francisco Nixon, Bart Davenport, Manos de Topo, The Violets, We Are The Physics, Mishima, Hatcham Social, Jonston, Lidia Damunt, Gentle Music Men, Fred Galvan & Frida Calo Molí de Mar
Vilanova i la Geltrú

Sunday 20 July 2008
Momus
TOP MODEL West Germany
Berlin

Wednesday 23 July 2008
Momus
Star and Shadow Cinema
Newcastle

Sunday 27 July 2008
Momus
Germlin
Stereo
Glasgow


ReplyThread Parent
microworlds
microworlds
Sparkachu Maelworth
Wed, Jun. 25th, 2008 06:44 pm (UTC)
Re: what not seems

OMG OMG THE US GOVERNMENT BETTER GIVE ME MY PASSPORT SOON OMG


ReplyThread Parent
sarmoung
sarmoung
The Empire Never Ended
Wed, Jun. 25th, 2008 12:41 pm (UTC)

I don't know, that rather frumpy uniform really isn't doing it for me. Why not something racier with a bit of colour to it? Like these "companion" outfits from Expo 70 in Osaka:

Photobucket



As salmon paste sandwiches, I'm just a little suspect about how well Momus and Mizutani really know London in 2008! Methinks you might be imagining both locations although good luck along the sticky stretch of mime artistes, painted human statues and the rest between the RFH and the London Eye. Tenjo Sajiki revival?


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sarmoung
sarmoung
The Empire Never Ended
Wed, Jun. 25th, 2008 12:42 pm (UTC)

Obviously that should read "as for salmon"....


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Jun. 25th, 2008 03:00 pm (UTC)

We're working on the costumes just now, but I don't want to get too swinging, too Braniff Airlines. At the moment it's looking quite North Korean:



ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Wed, Jun. 25th, 2008 08:46 pm (UTC)

Wonderful!

-r


ReplyThread Parent
pay_option07
pay_option07
Thu, Jun. 26th, 2008 01:53 am (UTC)
don't want to get

I'm getting a floral or some unusually strange confectionery shop. You still need some good B/W documentary photos of the event.LOL..


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Wed, Jun. 25th, 2008 02:06 pm (UTC)

an action by Momus and his Japanese girlfriend Hisae Mizutani

She's Anthea to your Larry Grayson or something?

To be honest, this sounds like a bit of a lame idea. If Chris Morris ever writes a satire about a performance artist, this is the kind of thing he'll have him do.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Jun. 25th, 2008 02:21 pm (UTC)

I hate to break it to you, but Chris Morris has written a satire about a performance artist. Quite a while ago!





ReplyThread Parent
eclectiktronik
eclectiktronik
eclectiktronik
Wed, Jun. 25th, 2008 11:56 pm (UTC)

...then there was 'Spaced', which had Mark Heap from Jaaaam and Big Train. Cast as an angst-ridden conceptual artist, I recall in one scene he had to do an installation and fell asleep in it or something...and people thought it was intentional.

BTW in the N.B. clip above, that's Can: 'I want more' playing in the background. (For the fellow Krautrock trainspotters)


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Wed, Jun. 25th, 2008 02:56 pm (UTC)
http://bibabidi.net/audio/TRAXX/Jens%20Lekman%20--%20Sipping%20On%20the%20Sweet%20Nectar%20%28Bogdan

http://bibabidi.net/audio/TRAXX/Jens%20Lekman%20--%20Sipping%20On%20the%20Sweet%20Nectar%20%28Bogdan%20Irkuk%20Love%20Nectar%20Mix%29.mp3


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Jun. 25th, 2008 06:51 pm (UTC)
On The Buses

What about the Unreliable Tour Bus? Buy an old Routemaster and take hipsters to parts of London they'd never normally visit (Chadwell Heath Kwik Fit / Loughton gas works). It'd be the party(s) of the summer. Jamie Hince and Jefferson Hack would be fighting over the back seat.


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Jun. 25th, 2008 07:56 pm (UTC)
Re: On The Buses

On the basis that Chadwell Heath Kwik Fit needs Situationism more than the South Bank


ReplyThread Parent
eclectiktronik
eclectiktronik
eclectiktronik
Thu, Jun. 26th, 2008 02:51 am (UTC)
Re: On The Buses

or the REAL 'unreliable tour bus' - which breaks down continually? maybe some hipsters would 'get the irony'


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Thu, Jun. 26th, 2008 08:56 am (UTC)
Re: On The Buses

The bus should resolve to visit the site of any teen stabbing or shooting occurring the previous evening, where the fashionistas will perform a Venetian-style masquerade. To show solidarity and breed positivity.


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Jun. 25th, 2008 08:14 pm (UTC)

I'll be there Saturday, having contributed some words and pictures to Goldbug Dissected, another part of the Hide and Seek festival.

Miles


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(Anonymous)
Thu, Jun. 26th, 2008 12:55 am (UTC)

You look like Laverne from a rerun episode of Laverne & Shirley set in Tokyo...that never existed, or atleast never aired.
love,
John Flesh


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, Jun. 26th, 2008 04:14 am (UTC)

Dazed and Confused runs a little interview about the London-as-Tokyo tour here.


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