I visited Nagoya last week to see the Aichi Triennale and here are some images of FUJII Hikaru’s recent work which again focuses on reenactment, as a means to act out past events.
In the blacked-out gallery, 5 films in total are exhibited, one in monochrome and four in full colour and high resolution.
The monochrome film made in the early 1940s is a part of the collection of the National Museum of Taiwan History. It documents several National Dojos, built for “Japanizing” citizens in Taiwan. The colour film shows young foreigners, who immigrated to Aichi for work, reenacting the training and religious ceremonies that they see in the 1940s monochrome film.
The monologue at the beginning of the film is taken from a novel by Zhou Jinbo which was published in 1944 and commissioned by the then Japanese Government-general of Taiwan.
This excellent work was even more poignant as I had only just completed reading ‘The Attractive Empire: Transnational Film Culture in Imperial Japan’ that explores Imperial Japanese film culture and influence that extended to practically every area of the empire. In the case of Taiwan, the colonial government used film education programs to assimilate indigenous Taiwanese populations while at the same time combating the undermining influence of Chinese films.
Although few would readily associate Japan’s film industry with either imperialism or the domination of world markets, the country’s film culture developed in lockstep with its empire, which, at its peak in 1943, included territories from the Aleutians to Australia and from Midway Island to India. With each military victory, Japanese film culture’s sphere of influence expanded deeper into Asia, first clashing with and ultimately replacing Hollywood as the main source of news, education, propaganda and entertainment for millions.
Fujii Hikaru’s practice is based on the notion that artistic production implies a close relationship with society and history. Mainly in the form of video installation, he creates work that responds to contemporary social issues through detailed research and fieldwork on unique cultures and histories of various countries and regions. Fujii organizes workshops–intersections for interdisciplinary and artistic collaboration between specialists from diverse various fields. Here he reenacts historical events with participants as well as generates a situation where an active discussion arises. His methodology links the present with the past in creative ways, while structurally critiquing the domains of history and society that remain invisible.