Rite for a Dream
(Today my Empire sings)
3 channel video installation
28 min. 04 sec
Installation view of the exhibition "Rite for a Dream (Today My Empire Sings)" at VACANT, Tokyo, 2017, photo: Shizune Shiigi
In the first work of the Trilogy, I examined the Emperor in a very personal level. With this work, I overlapped a strange dream that I saw when I was a small child, with the violence of the current rise of nationalistic sentiments in the Japanese society.
This dream goes like this:
I had this strange dream when I was, I think, six or seven years old. Due to a food shortage, there is a decrease in production of chicken; there is not enough grain to feed them. So, they decide to feed human flesh to chickens. In this situation where someone has to sacrifice his or her life to feed chickens, my father is chosen. I cannot bear to be separated from my father and cry my eyes out. However, my father accepts his destiny calmly and is taken away by car. As soon as he is out of my sight, I suffer from acute fear and burst into tears again. Even after I woke up, I kept on crying in bed.
The filmic video installation starts from a narrator narrating this strange dream. As the narration goes, the story starts to merge with cityscape of Tokyo, and gradually, the narrator finds himself in the middle of chaotic situation where he was pushed by the police and exposed to vulgar violence of nationalists shouting at him “get out of Japan!”
The scene was shot in the annual anti-Emperor demonstration that takes place on every August 15th. Against 200 anti-Emepror demonstrators’ rally, proto-fascistic nationalists from all over Japan gather and try to stop the demonstration, and 2000 polices control the whole scene. It is one of the biggest collision between the right and the left. I used this particular scene to shoot my own nightmare, in which, my father is taken away by the police to be sacrificed for the survival of the community, just like other father-figures such as Jesus Christ and Emperor are destined to be sacrificed to keep the higher order.
The final performance was shot in the Imperial Palace before the guard police. I tried the performance three times, and they never stopped me.
"Today my Empire sings"
3-11 May, 2017
VACANT | Tokyo, Japan
photo: Shizune Shiigi