|Participating Project||International Creator Residency Program|
|Activity Based||New York
|City / Place stayed||Tokyo|
|Period||2023.1 - 2023.3|
During my time in Japan, I will continue work on “The Petrified,” an episodic project that imagines different moments in history when people turn to stone. As with many magical-realist works, the conceit functions allegorically: petrification is a way to reframe significant events in the historical record. The first chapters of “The Petrified” focused on global art museums in the 21st Century. The next chapter will constellate a number of stories real and imagined, including the first European contact with Japan in 1543; the self-mummification practices of Shingon Buddhist monks; and the artwork of Horikawa Michio, Miyazaki Junnosuke, and others.
I came to TOKAS with an interest in the counterfactual: a thought experiment which imagines alternate routes that history could have taken. Using this methodology, I researched the first Europeans who arrived in Japan in the 16th Century, with a focus on their representation in Japanese culture—and on the role that disease could have played.
To conduct my research, I visited museums and libraries with pertinent holdings; met with an artisan making nanban objects; and did fieldwork on Tanegashima, where the first Europeans arrived. During this period, I learned how to use gofun, wrote a script for performance, and collaborated with a translator and actor.
What resulted is Candlestick Man, an installation and series of performances centered on a wall work made of gofun and two namban objects. The performances, designed for small audiences, are given in English by me and in Japanese by actor NAGANUMA Wataru.
This residency was my first opportunity to visit and work in Japan. It introduced me to certain Japanese materials and techniques, like gofun and kanshitsu, which I hope to continue employing in my practice.
As an artist who normally doesn’t work in a studio, it was valuable to have an opportunity to create a wall installation for Open Studio. I am currently planning a more ambitious wall installation for the exhibition at TOKAS Hongo, which wouldn’t be possible without the opportunity for experimentation during the residency.