Tuesday, March 2, 2010

More Connected Goings-on in Tokyo

Goodbye panel discussions, hello art. Today I took part in three 'happenings'. Tassos Stevens started off giving a presentation about Coney but left after ten minutes saying that he had to make an urgent call, leaving us and the interpreter in a room wondering what to do. Meanwhile his still-running powerpoint dissolved into unintelligible anecdotes and finally a blank slide. Then a phone on the wall rang. The interpreter (who was not in on the joke) picked it up and was asked to convey instructions to us. It turned out that we needed to answer some riddles, some of which were about rabbits, by making our way in groups of five to Ikebukuro JR Station. It was fun and got us all interacting.

The second event was Duncan Speakman's Subtlemob: As If It Were The Last Time which involved people, in couples, walking slowly or just standing in a busy nearby street while listening to a 30-minute narrative on an MP3 player. The general public were unaware of what was going on while we acted out a subtle, yet emotional silent 'play'. That is until the finale when the narrator asked us to dance with our partner through the street. The sight of 20 couples slowly & silently dancing in a busy street while pedestrians flowed round us was both strange and moving.

The third event was Live Art Speed Dating by the wonderfully named Stoke Newington International Airport, at Super Deluxe in Roppongi. It was whacky and fun. I had 'dates' with a short, somewhat stout Okinawan dancer, another young woman covered in barcodes which I could scan to play music, and, weirdest of all actually, a guy who did reiki therapy on my head and neck. His hands barely touched me yet weirdly when he'd finished I couldn't move my head! The sensation wore off after a minute or two but it was the strangest thing.

The evening was made even more enjoyable by meeting up with some friends: Morgan, Suzannah, Michael from Namaiki, and two Japanese girls who seemed to know me quite well but I'd completely forgotten who they were. A strange day by any stretch of the imagination.

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