心頭 THE HEART IN THE HEAD

 

Video installation

4 sheer scrims, single-channel video, 5'00" loop, 2018

Motion graphic/sound: Teppei Ueno

Butoh performance: Mai Burns

The installation consists of a video projected on scrims made of sheer fabric posed one after the other from the ceiling of a room with no lights.

Specifically created to interact with the Butoh performance, the video shows a heart (designed in motion graphic) beating and marking phrases both in English and Japanese apparently without meaning, taken from random people’s daily conversation. Thanks to the scrims, the image and the words projected are multiplied as they are fading away in the infinite.

 

Notes

The title has an ambivalence highlighted by the use of English and its “not literal” Japanese translation. Indeed, “The Heart in the Head” is not faithfully translated, but on a semantic level: 心頭 shintou in Japanese is made by ideograms of the heart 心 and head 頭 which together mean “inside the heart”. 

Western culture, due to Christian influence as well, tends to separate body and spirit, heart and mind, thought and action, while in Japanese culture they are the same. For example, in Japanese when you are talking about psychological problems 精神的 seishinteki, it refers to the heart (and the spirit as well) but not to the head. Just recently they introduced the word “mental” メンタル into their vocabulary.

Furthermore, still in Japanese culture, there are 2 basic concepts in opposition to each other that describe recognized social phenomena: the Hon'ne and Tatemae. "Hon'ne" (本音 "true sound") refers to a person's true feelings and desires, and "Tatemae" (建前 "built in front", "façade") 

refers contrastingly to the behavior and opinions one displays in public.

The work tries in some way to scrape away inside this dualism which could be the synthesis of the opposition between West and East, private and public, but also simply instinct and reason.

Exhibition:

-Fukafukadom, cross-disciplinary art event, Sound Studio Dom, Koenji, Tokyo, Japan, 24 November 2018