Thursday, November 19, 2009

Japanese Artist Meiro Koizumi wants to remake The Last Samurai

During his lecture tonight, I had the privilege of seeing Meiro Koizumi's awesome new video, Works like a Dog (I think it's called that?), based on his and (Japanese)immigrant experiences in Bellevue, tonight. Apparently, "New York Times art critic Roberta Smith aptly noted, 'His videos are 'Punk’d' for intellectual sadists.'" See his work at Open Satellite in Bellevue or Hedreen Gallery on the Seattle U campus before it flies away on January 9th, 2010!

Lifted from Koizumi's site, a still from an older video Jap (2003)

He had some thoughtful things to say about nationalism, nationality, WWII losers vs. winners, and loyalty. Particularly interesting to me--speaking about the Western gaze at Japan, he concluded that while Kill Bill is a healthy image of the multicultural world, Last Samurai is a sick image of multiculturalism. But THEN he proceeded to say that when confronted with the choice of what kind of art he wanted to make, he concluded that he would much rather make a Last Samurai type of art than Kill Bill.

Perhaps he's ever the optimist I am not, but as I asked why he would choose the sick image over a healthy one, he responded that there are enough healthy images out there, and likened these two images of art as medicine or poison--Koizumi asserted he wants to make medicine, but then again, there are times when he wants to make poison. Smells like Derrida's pharmakon to me: "The beneficial essence or virtue of a pharmakon does not prevent it from hurting...Painful pleasure, linked as much to the malady as to its treatment, is a pharmakon in itself. It partakes of both good and ill, of the agreeable and the disagreeable. Or rather, it is within its mass that these oppositions are able to sketch themselves out."

What do you think?


p.s. You can find a WMV video of an adorably bumbling Koizumi, talking in more dualisms about his art, here from Mori art Museum.


Derrida, Jacques. Dissemination. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981, p. 99.