?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Being a "black person" (or "snow person") in New York - click opera
February 2010
 
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fri, Jan. 16th, 2009 12:07 pm
Being a "black person" (or "snow person") in New York

I'm delighted to announce that Zach Feuer Gallery has invited me to make an installation-performance exhibition in their Chelsea, New York space during May. I've worked twice before at the gallery, the first time in 2000, when I made a show called Folktronia (a Chinese Whispers version of my Folktronic album), then in 2005, for a collaboration with Mai Ueda called I'll Speak, You Sing. The May 2009 show will also be a collaboration: I'll be working this time with performance artist Aki Sasamoto, covered earlier this month on Click Opera (before this show was on the radar).

The show will be called Love Is The End Of Art. I don't want to say too much about it yet -- we're still working on the content, and the dates aren't fixed -- except that it's two performance artists working daily in the gallery together, one framing the other's actions with two incongruous layers of meta-narrative (somewhat in the style of my Whitney Biennial performance). What I do want to say, though, is that it's possible that I'll appear in the guise of a kuroko.

A kuroko is a stagehand in traditional Japanese theatre. Watching kabuki, I've often been fascinated by these black-clad figures, basically technical crew who creep around in a stealthy, stooped way during the action, their every gesture seeming to say "Don't mind me, I'm not really here". Their main job is to change the scenery, or costumes, but sometimes they impersonate an animal or some other brief passing role.

Usually, though, the kuroko is in another dimension of reality from the actors on the stage, a kind of meta-dimension. For this reason, it's the perfect template for me to adopt as I appear alongside Aki as she performs. It allows me to be coded visually in a different way, and to be "not really there", even as I make interventions (my role is that I'm an unreliable critic framing Aki's actions in critical discourse, but also a man unrequitedly in love with her -- I keep switching awkwardly between these modes; the public and the private, the rational and the emotional, art and love). I also have the technical function of the kuroko, in the sense that occasionally I have a technical action to perform, like switching on a piece of music or changing the lighting.

Kuroko means "a black person", but the stagehand only wears black when the stage setting is predominantly dark. In a sea scene the kuroko might dress in blue, and in a snow scene he becomes a yukigo, a "snow person". Since an art gallery is a white-walled cube, it's possible that I'll be a yukigo in this performance, to merge in with the space.



There's an interesting dramatic use of the kuroko in the 1969 film Double Suicide, directed by Masahiro Shinoda and based on a bunraku puppet play by Monzaemon Chikamatsu. Rather than simple technical operatives, the kuroko in Shinoda's film act like a Greek chorus, an embodiment of fate, an expressionistic representation of the inexorable machinery of the plot's tragic logic. Here's an extract:



And here's an interview with Shinoda in which he explains his reasons for using the kuroko in this way:



"At university," Shinoda says, "I studied the history of Japanese art during the thousand years before which Chikamatsu was writing. The prehistory of theatre, if you like. I wasn't able to finish my studies. but I reformulated in this film -- via a kind of selective memory -- the question: "What is the essence of Monzaemon Chikamatsu?" This is why I showed the kuroko. The drama written by Chikamatsu is a fiction which uses human beings. The kuroko therefore manipulate the actors. As if they were saying to the actors: "You're going to kill yourselves? Why not use this scaffold! You're going to hang yourself? Here, I'll prepare the rope." The kuroko therefore represent Chikamatsu's technical staff, who make the drama work. I also wanted to express the difference between reality and drama. So the connection between fiction and reality is symbolised by the presence of the kuroko. They represent at once Chikamatsu himself, me, and destiny."

I'm looking forward to being a "black person" -- or possibly a "snow person" -- this spring in New York!

32CommentReply


(Anonymous)
Fri, Jan. 16th, 2009 11:30 am (UTC)
Roadie

Patrick graduating from the hard rock roadie institute. Pictures, Images and Photos (http://photobucket.com/images/rock%20roadie)


ReplyThread

(Anonymous)
Fri, Jan. 16th, 2009 04:20 pm (UTC)
Off Topic sorry...

Thought you might like to know that JoeMus got a very positive/favourable review in Record Collector by Grahame Bent.


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Jan. 16th, 2009 04:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Off Topic sorry...

Ah yes, here we go, Astounding sounds, amazing music. God bless Bent!


ReplyThread Parent
electricwitch
electricwitch
For anything, oh! she´ll bust her elastic
Fri, Jan. 16th, 2009 12:02 pm (UTC)

That IS an incredibly stylish outfit.

I got Joemus in the mail! When you said it was going to be glammy I was all ooh bb, I'm sorry you don't know the meaning of glam, but I have to say it kind of is. In an early 70s bubblegum Gary Glitter way. Swoony.


ReplyThread
imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Jan. 16th, 2009 12:23 pm (UTC)

This makes me happy! It is glammy, isn't it? It somewhat surprised me too -- I wasn't sure where it was coming from. Half from Joe, half from me, I guess, and my early glam-ditioning.


ReplyThread Parent
electricwitch
electricwitch
For anything, oh! she´ll bust her elastic
Fri, Jan. 16th, 2009 02:28 pm (UTC)

Yay! I don't know where it came from, either! Maybe you spent too much time looking at the bouncy Bolan icon. It's a bit like those strange 60s novelty bubblegum songs about gangster dwarves and lesbian motorcycle gangs.


ReplyThread Parent
electricwitch
electricwitch
For anything, oh! she´ll bust her elastic
Fri, Jan. 16th, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)

Also, the cover is a lot gayer and more rapey in real life than the internets.


ReplyThread Parent
eptified
eptified
H. Duck
Fri, Jan. 16th, 2009 01:17 pm (UTC)

"Double Suicide" is also one of those films that gives you the impression that Edo and the Yoshiwara in particular were an endless, constantly shifting next box of luminous paper screens -- always night-time, no such thing as sky.

Man, what a pretty movie.


ReplyThread
imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Jan. 16th, 2009 03:44 pm (UTC)

The other great thing about Double Suicide is the soundtrack by Toru Takemitsu.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Fri, Jan. 16th, 2009 01:37 pm (UTC)
Slumdog Kuroko

I like the idea of meta-dimensions being introduced to break down recursive debate.

Danny Boyle: “Depicting the poverty of Mumbai is about moving British-style realism to new territories.”
Amitabh Bachchan: “Showing one side of India is creating limited impressions not true ones.”
Bollywood: “Bollywood expresses the romanticism and passion of a culture – more ‘real’ than economic hardship.”
Western movie awards boards: “It's all too funky for us, thanks.”
Danny Boyle: “No director is God. Social change or personal redemption is at the heart of my art.”
Bollywood: “Winning a gameshow is not social change. The trouble is you ARE depicting dreams, just afraid to admit it.”

Where’s a kuroko when you need it?


ReplyThread
kineticfactory
kineticfactory
this is not your sawtooth wave
Fri, Jan. 16th, 2009 01:52 pm (UTC)

On a tangent: some people claim that the kuroko were the closest thing to ninja that actually existed. Apparently the ninja never existed outside of Japanese popular fiction, and their appearance (attired in black, stealthy) was derived from the kuroko.


ReplyThread
internought
internought
denial o'niall
Fri, Jan. 16th, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC)

I'll be there, dressed as a buraku.


ReplyThread
imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Jan. 16th, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)

I prefer the transplanted, lateral, parallax, Parisian angle on that story provided by the International Herald Tribune.


ReplyThread Parent
internought
internought
denial o'niall
Fri, Jan. 16th, 2009 06:55 pm (UTC)

Ah, those Parisians, so subtle that they can render entirely different meanings using exactly the same words! (No, really, both papers ran exactly the same story...)


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Fri, Jan. 16th, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC)

You should wear a douchebag costume it will suit you fine. You arty farty fucker. You are not selling your crap records anymore so you have to make up pretentious & vacuous shit for galleries & biennals. Go conceptual with the snobs but if you think there's something deep with your performances. Duchamp was making a joke afiter that it's just most of the time untalented idiots saying nothing. Check Beaudrillard texts about art like :

http://felix.openflows.com/html/baudrillard.html


ReplyThread Parent Expand


(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand




(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand

an idea - (Anonymous) Expand