“Ritual” as an Image

When 25 Jun 2020 - 2 Jul 2020
Where Collaborative Cataloging Japan
Enquiry ann_adachi@collabjapan.org

Collaborative Cataloging Japan is pleased to welcome curators Go Hirasawa and Shuhei Hosoya to organize a special online screening of films by members of the group Zero Jigen (Zero Dimension), Shinichi Iwata and Yoshihiro Katō. We are excited to partner with Lightbox Film Center to present this program. The on-demand streaming will be available for $6 each ($12 total) from June 25th through July 2nd, on our streaming platform.

This event marks CCJ’s first collaboration with researcher Shuhei Hosoya, chief representative of the Zero Jigen Katō Yoshihiro Archive. Forthcoming, Hosoya will publish an essay on CCJ’s website that will dig deeper into the issues around archiving and documenting performance works, and about the intersection of 1960s performance art and their media strategies to counter the state power and capital.


Shinichi Iwata, The Walking Man, 1969, 16mm transferred to digital video, 15 min., b&w and color, sound. Collection of the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art

Yoshihiro Katō, The White Hare of Inaba, 1970 (Special edition 2017), 16mm transferred to digital video, two-screen multi-channel projection, 46 min., color and b&w, sound. © Zero Jigen Katō Yoshihiro Archive
Please note that The White Hare of Inaba contains nudity and adult content.

The Walking Man

The artist Iwata Shinichi formed the avant-garde arts group Zero Jigen (Zero Dimension) with Katō Yoshihiro and was one of its core members, primarily active in Nagoya. After the actions of Banpaku Hakai Kyōtō-ha (Expo ’70 Destruction Joint-Struggle Group) came to a close in 1970, he ran for mayor of Nagoya on the “Rainbow Party” ticket, and his activities ran parallel to those of the Japanese hippie scene as well as presenting a unique form of Pop Art that found elements of art in the culture and customs of the masses.

In The Walking Man, Iwata walks the streets of Nagoya at a constant pace as the camera continuously films him from the side. Occasionally raucous scenes of men in suits falling over are inserted, but Iwata’s walking speed does not change. Meanwhile, the sound and tempo of the drum track in the background repeatedly change and fluctuate, and the viewer is beckoned on a psychedelic voyage departing from the street-level, mass-cultural scenery of Nagoya. The universal act of simply walking continuously down a street, expressed by the words “THE END LESS” appearing on screen at the beginning, eventually unfolds to an expansion not only of the visual expression of images, but also of our vision of the everyday.


The White Hare of Inaba

The White Hare of Inaba is a film directed by Katō Yoshihiro, a central member of Zero Jigen, with cinematography by the filmmaker Ōe Masanori. Drawing on the Japanese myth of the white hare of Inaba, it presents a white hare (i.e. woman) leaping across waters full of ferocious sharks (i.e. male-dominated society), presenting a vision for a new era while capturing on film the joy of human beings’ inherent Eros and a new mode of “family” that breaks free of feudalistic social constraints.

The special edition screened here was edited just before Katō’s death. It is a two-screen multi-channel projection consisting of documentation of Zero Jigen’s activities from 1967 through 1969 and original footage of The White Hare of Inaba and Brahmin. This work exemplifies Katō’s media practice of his later years, in which the singularity of the performance and situation itself is amplified by connecting the two different moving images by means music at high volume.