The Beginning of Creation: Abduction / A Child

(Sozo no hottan, abduction / kodomo)

- JAPAN / 2015 / Japanese / Color / Blu-ray / 18 min

Director, Script, Photography: Yamashiro Chikako
Editing: Yamashiro Chikako, Hirata Ryoma
Sound: Sunagawa Atsushi
Sound Design: Takagi Hajime
Executive Producer: Echigoya Takashi
Presented by: Aichi Arts Center
Produced by: Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art
Production Company, Source: Suijo no hito Productions

This film documents the creative process behind About Ohno Kazuo by performance artist Kawaguchi Takao, a former member of the artist group Dumb Type. Kawaguchi captures the movements of the late dancer Ohno from a recording of one of his legendary performances, replicating the movements with his own body. The filmmaker’s gaze clings to the enigmatic exposed figure that emerges.

[Director’s Statement] This film started with me documenting Kawaguchi Takao, a dancer who challenged himself to entirely imitate and reenact the work of the late butoh dancer, Ohno Kazuo, based on video recordings of his performances. How to summon the deceased’s dance (= body), how to laminate his own body onto it, how to take it in and dance? The more one tries to approach a complete copy, the more the absolute difference of one’s individuality appears. Superimposing the theme that I myself have carried—the question of whether it is possible to inherit another’s experiences—onto Kawaguchi’s creative process, I gaze at the conflicts, divisions, dissolutions, and attainment of a new flesh, as the foreign substance of another person is brought inside one’s body. Shooting this film was a journey through a process that could be described more as creation than as one of inheritance.

A Woman of the Butcher Shop

(Nikuya no onna)

- JAPAN / 2016 / Japanese / Color / Blu-ray / 27 min

Director, Script, Photography: Yamashiro Chikako
Editing: Yamashiro Chikako, Sunagawa Atsushi
Production Company, Source: Suijo no hito Productions

A woman chops up blocks of meat that have washed up on a shore that has been spared development because of the presence of a US military base. She then sells this meat at the illegal market on farmland tacitly permitted for use by civilians within the base. Men flock to the meat she sells, and limestone caverns sprawl behind her butcher shop. The film—which switches back and forth between reality and fiction—portrays the state of Okinawa today.

[Director’s Statement] The presence of a US military base accidentally spared a portion of the natural Okinawan coastline. Then in the name of economic progress, the prefectural government decided to destroy the beautiful beach that people would gather to enjoy. Places that are no more, like a landfill construction site, and the illegal markets that had emerged on tacitly permitted farmlands within the boundaries of the base, became the locations for my film, a fiction-incorporated exercise made in collaboration with real people I met there. By setting the film in a market overflowing with vitality on US-occupied land that the people took over–a place where people exchange raw life with one another–and by depicting the ethos of cooperation that can be life-threatening (meat from the sea is recycled), I attempted to capture and represent contemporary Okinawan society.

- Yamashiro Chikako

Artist, filmmaker. Born in Okinawa, she studied drawing, photography, and installation art. Since 2004, her photography and films have been displayed at exhibits across the globe (the 2016 Aichi Triennale, the 8th Asia-Pacific Triennale in Brisbane, the Jewish Contemporary Art Museum in San Francisco, “Move on Asia” exhibit in Seoul, etc.). She was invited to participate in the second Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions (2009). She transitioned towards film production through the series, Your Voice Came Out of My Throat (2009) and Sinking Voices, Red Breath (2010), which thematized what it means to inherit others’ wartime experiences. From 2010, she learned the ropes of film production and cinematography as she made her own films. The Beginning of Creation: Abduction / A Child was invited for screening at the 2016 Image Forum Festival under the category, “New Film: Japan.” A Woman of the Butcher Shop, is an edition of a work presented as a three-part multi-screen installation at the 2012 MAM Project organized by the Mori Art Museum, revised into a single channel work for theaters.