ACC Cultural Conversations ~Series: Thinking About Art in the Time of “The New Normal” 
#2 “Contemporary Art in the time of Covid-19 “ - Mizuki Endo × Koki Tanaka × Aya Momose”
Live Streaming Date: Sunday, July 26, 2020, 4-5 p.m. (JST)
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  Curator Mizuki Endo, and artists Koki Tanaka and Aya Momose gather to discuss contemporary art and its relation with the Corona crisis. 

  Endo explains the reasoning behind the casting choice of Tanaka and Momose, being that neither of them are artists who isolate themselves inside a studio in order to create artwork. Tanaka and Momose’s work is based on the communication with others, hence Endo anticipates that the Corona crisis has a unique effect on the way they work. 

  Endo has asked the artists to comprise a 10 year calendar in advance, listing important artistic or personal moments beginning in 2011. The artists present this chronology to the audience.

  Tanaka looks back on the 10 years, and summarizes his work during the period as a manifestation of a “shifting interest from abstraction to individual specificity”. Having lived in Los Angeles when the 2011 earthquake happened in Japan, and thus not having a physical experience of the tragedy, Tanaka failed to approach the earthquake as a concept in the 2011 Yokohama Triennial. This failure led to the experimentation in the usage of the “abstraction” of experiences related to the incident, in an attempt to bridge the gap between individual specificity, stimulating an imagination towards what is other. 

  But later in the decade, after moving back to Japan with the willingness to deal with various problems of East Asia, Tanaka’s interest begins to shift towards the individuality of experience itself. He explains how through his work “Vulnerable Histories (A Road Movie)”, the focus begins to shift from the abstract concept of discrimination and hate against Koreans in Japan, to the specific struggles of the individual people he worked with in creating the piece itself.

  In relation to the current Corona crisis, Tanaka points out that the vocabulary surrounding the Corona virus functions in abolishing any difference between individual experience. The “Three Cs” must be avoided, and social distance must be maintained, regardless of the specific circumstances of each individual. Within such climate, Tanaka believes that  focusing further on the individual is a potential methodology of resistance against the violent nature of such abstraction. 

  Momose also recalls struggling to incorporate the 2011 earthquake in her work. In 2011, Momose worked in a bar whose primary clientele were members of the Japanese Self Defense Force. The tragic accounts she would hear from her customers were not something she could use as source material, and at the time, she chose to work with surrounding issues such as the state of media. 

  Momose reflects upon her primary work in chronological order, beginning with “An Interview with Mr.Kinoshita: Detaching the Voice”, an interview with a deaf man, where they discuss the different imagery of “voice”. She depicts how her work relates to the different issues surrounding notions such as sexuality, family, female identity, etc.

  In relation to the Corona crisis, Momose points out that under lockdown, “family” becomes the sole sexual relationship allowed within society. Long distance or non-familial relationships are discarded as “non-essential”. She also points out that the current notion of “contact” as something potentially dangerous is constructed by the social majority who have the option to avoid contact with others, and that the voices of those who have no choice but to  remain in contact are dismissed. 


Organized by Asian Cultural Council Japan Foundation
In cooperation with Yamabuki Factory


ACC Japan Program is supported by the Saison Foundation and the Association for Corporate Support of the Arts.