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June 13th, 2006
Tue, Jun. 13th, 2006 10:47 am

Hisae is my partner; for the last couple of years we've been living together in Berlin and Osaka. She's a graphic designer by training, a graduate of St Martin's in London, but recently she's also been acting: she featured in Woof Wan-Bau's video for My Angel Rocks Back and Forth by Four Tet, and can also be seen on the cover of the single release, in the guise of a Korean businessman.

Last month Hisae was in London shooting a new film with Woof Wan-Bau, who now goes by his real name of Joji Koyama. From Nose to Mouth will be Joji's debut as a short film maker (in other words, his first non-pop video release). According to the synopsis, the film features Hisae as "a nameless and volatile protagonist in a series of abstract vignettes involving a process of learning and social interaction. Presenting a phenomenological conundrum, the routines and activities are not going very well. “Mavis Beacon” is here to help…" The film features mixed media including 3D CGI, live action, compositing and puppetry, and develops the nasal themes seen in the Four Tet video.

"I'm playing a role of a student who try to learn but always fail and never get right. I will do ice skating wearing ridiculously stupid costume," Hisae reported from the set. "We've just finished three days shoot on a location called 'New River Village' near Crouch End, which is a new developed residential village. Final shoot is on Tuesday in an ice skate link." (Clearly Hisae means a "rink", but I like the idea of a rink being a link, perhaps as the nose is a link to the mouth.)

The first thing Hisae did when she got to London to shoot with Joji was watch a DVD of the film Tujiko Noriko made last year, Sand and Mini-Hawaii. Premiered in July at the Fondation Cartier in Paris, the 50 minute film was shot in Marseille. It's about one day in the life of a girl, played by Chloe Fabre. "It’s got hamburgers,” Noriko explains, “and mini Hawaii, and mini hamburgers”.

Because Chloe didn't really want to speak in the film, Noriko has voiced her character herself.

I haven't seen either of these films, but they sound mysterious and intriguing. Something in the descriptions of what they're about -- and this links them to the contemporary Japanese works in the Berlin Tokyo show I saw the other day, or to the work of people like Koki Tanaka and Yuki Okumura -- is goofy, superficial, deliberately clumsy, fixated on weird takes on eating and digestion, somehow left-handed... and highly original. There's an anti-lyrical lyricism here, a sort of yuck-turned-poetry factor. It's the place where the supereveryday meets the otherworldly.

I doubt I could even parody this creative mindset; it completely baffles -- yet intrigues -- me. I have no idea where it's coming from, or where it'll go next. I may live with Japanese people, but I doubt I'll ever understand them.

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