As gasoline prices fall, the Diet remains deadlocked, philosophers are refused entry, a film (Yasukuni by Li Ying) is effectively forced out of all theatres in Tokyo, this week sees the city embracing the global contemporary art bubble with the opening of the long running Art Fair Tokyo and the new, younger 101 Art Fair. I am due to speak with Haruka Ito of Magical Art Room on Saturday 5th at 14:00 in one of the public programs accompanying the 101 Fair. As is often the case with these affairs, the rather dramatic title of our session is 'Japanese Art Now!' (note the exclamation mark. Does it point to a sense of shock? delight? or anger?). The session publicity blurb includes the following remark: "As some new post-Superflat artists emerge in Japan, we take a look at the Japanese contemporary art scene at the beginning of the 21st century". wow.
The thing is, that I recently keep feeling that things are decidedly not of the 21st century here - that things are veneered in all of the smooth coatings of global culture, and yet that underlying much of this remains serious questions about how we want to live today in this society, this culture. Recent cultural news items which I have posted about here make me really think about the state of affairs in the place of my birth.
I am moreover, now undergoing the process of 'Kika' (changing of nationality from British to Japanese). More on this as I transform.
With all of the late nights, drinking and hard selling that is about to descend on central Tokyo, I paste images of one of the more famous of the 'energy drinks' here. While absolutely intolerant of all drugs, Japan simultaneously generates one of the largest hyper caffeine based 'energy drink' markets in the world. This is the drug for the labouring masses, the all night office salaryman, the truck drivers, the pre exam student and the hard-selling gallerist. This is the world of Murakami's wide-eyed amphetamine-hi DOB - where the world becomes flat, shiny and very fast.
And here is when I move towards the door.....