An evening programmed by author Stephen Barber with independent curator Matt Williams, presenting the interconnections between Japanese experimental film, sound art, and sonic performance.
‘In Japan's art culture since the 1960s, experimental film invariably possesses intimate interconnections with sound art and sonic performance, from Eikoh Hosoe's seminal film Navel and A-Bomb (1960) onwards. Experimental film and sound art highlight the preoccupation of art in 1960s Japan with radical changes in urban space and corporeality, evident in films such as those of Takahiko Iimura undertaken in collaboration with the performance artist Tatsumi Hijikata. Experimental film and sonic innovations also inflected the cultural insurgencies of Japan's mass street-riots and terrorism of that 1960s and 70s era, with vital apertures between art, noise and urban-protest marked especially in films by Masao Adachi and Toshio Matsumoto. Enduring obsessions with the capacity of filmic and sonic art to generate urban, sexual and physical transmutations remain strongly embedded in contemporary Japan's experimental sound and film cultures, spanning Keiji Haino's sonic assaults and the nuanced activist preoccupations of film-artists such as Chikako Yamashiro.’
Stephen Barber is a Research Professor at the Kingston School of Art, Kingston University, and the author of Tokyo Vertigo (University of Chicago Press, 2011), Hijikata: Revolt of the Body (University of Chicago Press, 2011) and Hijikata's Films and the Transmutations of 1960s Tokyo (forthcoming, Diaphanes, 2019). He has received awards for research on Japan's experimental art and film from the Daiwa Foundation, Japan Foundation, Sasakawa Foundation, and Saison Foundation, among others. He was a visiting professor at Tokyo University in 1997-98 and at Tokyo Keio University in 2004-5.
Matt Williams is an independent curator, publisher and PhD candidate at Kingston University. Formerly Curator at Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2010-2017), Williams organised numerous exhibitions and public programmes. These have included exhibitions by Stuart Middleton, Martine Syms, Zhang Ding, Neil Beloufa, Lutz Bacher, Bjarne Melgaard and the acclaimed group shows Journal (2014) and Remote Control (2012). During this period, he re-introduced an experimental audio-visual music and performance programme featuring collaborations with NON Worldwide, Just Jam, PAN, NTS, Blackest Ever Black and Factory Floor. Williams is co-founder of Novel, an itinerant curatorial and publishing platform that functions as a commissioning agency for artists writing, texts and poetry. He is also curatorial advisor to Thirty Three Thirty Three, a non-profit organisation that seeks to engage globally with the rapidly changing cultural, social and material conditions of contemporary sound-based practices.