In theory, of course, all these things should be straightforward. In theory. In the upstairs gallery, all I had to do was set up a projector, hook it up to a media player via HDMI, plug in a USB memory stick, and route the audio output into a sound system. That took me about six hours.
Meanwhile, downstairs, Heather and Matthew were cracking on putting up the 50-odd individual items that made up her six pieces. Matthew has exhibited at ASK a couple of times before and his experienced eye really brought out the best in Hev’s work. A superb show. They finished before I did.
Thanks to Masa for doing the translating for the information boards and for running around to the shops (in the sweltering heat and suffocating humidity) at my behest and totally unnecessarily. Thanks finally to Carl ‘CJ’ Boland for his crucial last-minute technical support.
We arrived at Atelier Outotsu around 5pm Tuesday afternoon. As seems to becoming standard practice, after a good flight over HP and myself indulged in the usual in-Japan transport hi-jinks which delayed our arrival by a good hour. I cannot talk about it in public. Let’s just say that before we even arrived at our new home, we’d been on a lovely sightseeing jaunt to Kobe. Really, there are times when we would put Laurel and Hardy to shame…
Anyway. We were given a fabulous welcome by one of Outotsu’s directors, Kaoru Higashi. The Atelier is spread across the top two floors of a 1960s apartment block, and we have been allocated a small flat on the fifth floor. Cool! After a tour of the facilities I kind of collapsed and slept for a good 12 hours.
The next morning we were in action immediately. We were taken by Outotsu’s founder and director Ritsuwo Kanno to an exhibition they currently have running at Nishinomiya City Hometown Museum. Spread across two huge floors, the exhibition is a mixture of work we saw last year in Tokyo and a lot of new stuff. Needless to say the quality was sky-high, some of the work absolutely exquisite. It managed to be both a varied exhibition but also one that had a definite underlying (modernist) aesthetic that tied it all together. Very satisfying!
Before we went the opportunity of a photo shoot presented itself. Whilst not someone who normally revels in such things, this photo delights me simply because it is almost identical to a photograph taken on our last day in Tokyo in 2018. The only difference being Kaoru Higashi is absent, but instead it is Izumi Ueda Yuu (another superb print artist associated with the Atelier Outotsu (cue Google)) on Kanno-san’s right:
Satisfyingly, this photo glues this first day of our visit almost directly onto the last day of last year’s. Who would have thought!
Last year we moved around a fair bit: roughly two weeks in Sapporo in the north of Japan, three days in Osaka, a weekend in Sugoshicho, and then about ten days in Kyoto. It was all a bit mad. This year we’re adopting a rather more sane approach and will be staying in the Osaka/Kyoto area throughout:
We have a two week residency at Atelier Outotsu to start with. Arrived yesterday afternoon.
This coming weekend we’ll have to set up an exhibition at Art Spot Korin in Kyoto which runs from July 30 to August 11.
On August 7 we will be leaving Outotsu but staying in the area. We haven’t booked anywhere to stay, yet. What can possibly go wrong!
Return to the UK August 17.
What will I be doing? Making a film with Matthew Fasone (shooting it at least). Shooting video that will form the basis of at least one more film. Photography. Recording sound. Keeping my eyes and ears open…
This video is part of the submission to 1SSUE 41 by Carl “CJ” Boland and myself. Last year when Heather Parnell and I spent a month in Japan this is what I was doing.
The majority of the footage was shot by CJ in 2008 when he first went to live in Japan. There are a few clips derived from an unattributed home movie that I downloaded from the Prelinger Archive, and another single sequence that I shot in Sapporo on my phone.
I started editing it together during our residency at Sapporo Tenjinyama Art Studio in August 2018. The editing was sync’d to an unfinished and/or abandoned track that I’d been working on months earlier with David Pitt: basically just the looped sound of a railway work car overlaid with two interlocking music box samples.
After I had the basic thing up-and-running we headed down to southern Japan from Hokkaido and we spent a weekend at the Boland residence in Sugoshicho. CJ and myself put in a couple of long sessions on the music track with him doing most of the sound design work on his Kyma system and me kludging it all together.
I spent another couple of evenings working on it in my hotel room before CJ and I played live to the film at Gallery G-77 in Kyoto on Friday August 24.
The film’s next outing was at The Swansea Fringe on Friday October 5th at Cinema & Co. The visuals were identical but the soundtrack somewhat different as I didn’t have CJ’s ATV aFrame playing along.
Finally, when we were invited to contribute to 1SSUE 41, I stripped the soundtrack back down to its basics and rebuilt: it’s now very different from the Kyoto and Swansea live versions although still based around the same backbone of the train and music box loops. Most of CJ’s original parts survived the cut of course, and he also contributed two new sets, one in November 2018 and another in January 2019. [At this final stage I asked him for a few last-minute overdubs to patch up some remaining holes and he sent me 43 tracks of audio! What a guy…]
A few last minute tweaks to the movie itself—it’s amazing what you can overlook even when you’re watching the same thing over and over all day, weeks on end—and here we are. I hope you get something of value from it:
From this month’s SoundBoard magazine, a review of my Dreaming Detroit EP. Great review! Sounds like he’s actually given it a proper listen and totally “gets it”. Thank you Keith Williams—the Milky Bars are on me…
After the funding-inspired blogging frenzy of last summer we may note that I haven’t posted here for more than three months. Clearly many of you will be overjoyed at this respite. Tragically, your joy is short-lived, for you will be dismayed to learn that I have not been idle. Au contraire mon amis, I have been furiously at work. The Global Art Project™ never sleeps!
First up then: here’s a new version of A Question of Time. This was originally produced for 1SSUE 40, but I wasn’t really happy with the soundtrack. The video is exactly the same. The notes are the same, although some of them may have changed position. The arrangement is the same. Otherwise, it’s completely different:
PS: I probably should have added this line to the credits in the video: Paul Hazel – Blatant Wholesale Copyright Material Appropriation.
An interview just published in Arts Illustrated. Quite interesting, in the sense that I was sent a list of questions and wrote the replies, and so had the opportunity to give the answers some thought and to edit and tweak the text until my heart’s content. No excuses then…