Tokyo – Yokohama

Godzilla and the Phoenix

June 17-28, 2013

OuUnPo has chosen two mythical creatures, Godzilla and the Phoenix as a starting point for a research in post-Fukushima Japan. The theme was a tool to develop the group’s specific working methods in dialogue with local partners. The goal was to look at local knowledge and philosophy to gain a deeper understanding of how renewal and creativity are interlinked. Godzilla and the Phoenix represent east and west, creation and destruction, but also underline that every fundamental societal change is based on a different outlook on the world. Creativity is always a renegotiation of accepted values, it dialogues with traditions, it transforms or even breaks them. The session addressed issues like: how can history help and/or mislead us in the present? How do our expectations of the future shape how we live in the present?


Per Hüttner and Samon Takahashi. Curatorial assistance Naoaki Bab.

Some highlights of the program

The articulation of the session responded to the peculiar urban space of Tokyo, marked by the presence of multi-layered buildings and towers in which Western notions such as “public and private space” or “indoor and outdoor” are reconfigured and renegotiated. Through sequential interventions such as performances, presentations and audio-events, the session weaved new dramaturgies of museums and cultural centres. Over one entire day, Spiral/Wacoal Art Center hosted neuroscientist Stephen Withmarsh’s collective performance What Is Like To Be A Neuron? in which 30 participants enacted a human brain, Samon Takahashi’s solo exhibition, Per Hüttner and Fatos Üstek’s stair-case performance Something there, a chorus directed by artist Elena Nemkova, a disruptive action at Spiral’s boutique, ending with a pole dance and cocktail reception on the top floor of the building. Mori Art Museum hosted the participative performance Urgent Song conceived by Natasha Rosling which brought the audience to activate different spaces and plazas of the museum and the Mori Tower. The performance solicited a reflection on our bodily relationship with the outside and with the other, between protection and connection, closure and hunger. The performance was followed by presentations of work related to The Great East Japan Earthquake by Japanese artists Takayama Akira and Fujii Hikaru and a discussion.

Participants and Contributors

From the OuUnPo network: Åbäke, Zeina Assaf, Michael Bielicky, Yane Calovski, Klas Eriksson, Sara Giannini, Per Hüttner, Elena Nemkova, Jacopo Miliani, Marco Pasi, Marcus Pettersson, Cristina Regadas, Natasha Rosling, Claudia Squitieri, Samon Takahashi, Fatos Ustek, Stephen Whitmarsh

Local Participants: Kenichi Kondo, Keita Kasahara, Keijiro Niino, Genichi Ide, Natalia Kamia, Architectural Gymnastic, Kent Nishizaki, Nikola Nikolovski, Meiro Koizumi, Takayuki Yamamoto, Hikaru Fujii, Akira Takayama, Megane, Damien Faure, Christophe Charles, Emiko Kato, Yoshinori Niwa, Ichiro Endo, Hisashi Ikai, Teruhiro Yanagihar, Daisuke Takeya, Boat People Association, Tokyo Pic-Nic Club, Masaharu Imaizumi, Kenichi Eguchi, Genichi Ide, Bucci, Taketeru Kondo, Minoru Inayoshi, Kento Nishizaki, Konomi Sugita, Takaaki Soga, Kazuhito Nakazato, Yu Ito, Shiho Sugita, Art Autonomy Network, Koji Yoshikawa, Linea Werken, Naoaki Bab, Yuki Kashimura, Misaki Tachibana, Mina Osawa, Najomo.

Partners and Venues

Mori Art Museum, Spiral, 131 Creative Hub, The Embassy of Sweden in Tokyo, Institut français du Japon, Musashino Art University, BankART Studio NYK Koganecho, Traumaris, Zou-no-hana Terrace, Shuhaly Farm, Kameido Studio, as well as public spaces in the city.

Supported by Linköpings universitet, Institut Français, Japan, The Embassy of Sweden in Japan, The Scandinavia-Japan Sasakawa Foundation and Musashino Art University.

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