Catalogue > Un extrait vidéo au hasard

Yu Araki


Doc. expérimental | hdv | couleur | 29:40 | Japon | 2021

Set in a fictitious lunar base Nagasaki, HONEYMOON is the Japanese director Yu Araki’s take on Japonisme. He re-examines and re-interprets the wedding scene from Madame Butterfly (dir. Carmine Gallone, 1954), where B.F. Pinkerton sits in seiza (??), which is the Japanese term used for the proper, formal traditional way of sitting by kneeling on the floor and have legs folded underneath the thighs. Although seiza-style is widely known as “correct”, it didn’t permeate until after Japan opened up to the Occident, that is, after the culture of the “chair” had taken hold, hence the formality of what the Japanese thought had long history was only a modern, arbitrary construct. Inspired by this historical fact, Araki connects seiza with another element to contemplate the arbitrariness of humanity: constellation, which, incidentally, is a homonym with seiza (??) in the Japanese language. In addition, the aforementioned film Madame Butterfly has been known as one of the most iconic collaborations between Italy and Japan, with a strong intention from the Japanese production side to “correct” the twisted imagery of Japanese depiction in which they succeeded. However, Araki critically poses the question of what does it mean to understand another culture “correctly”. In Araki’s version, B.F. Pinkerton is replaced by a real-life photographer Adolf de Meyer (1868 - 1946), and the matchmaker with an anthropologist Frederick Starr (1858 - 1933), and having Suzuki and Dr. Tatsukichi Irisawa (1865 - 1938), who was known for his essay “On the Japanese Way of Sitting” (1921), joining in as broadcast commentator to describe the situation from a distance. The loose, gossipy dialogue between the off-site personnel ranges from fashion to spies, interweaving various elements while the performers patiently wait in perseverance until their legs fall asleep.

Yu Araki (b.1985, Yamagata City) received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Washington University in St. Louis, U.S.A. in 2007, and completed his Master of Film and New Media Studies from Tokyo University of the Arts in 2010. In 2013, he was selected to participate in Tacita Dean Workshop hosted by Fundación Botín in Santander, Spain. During 2017-8, he was a guest resident at Asia Culture Center in Gwangju, South Korea, and Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Recent exhibitions include Pola Museum of Art, Shiseido Gallery, the National Museum of Art, Osaka, MUJIN-TO Production; Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona; Dallas Contemporary, Dallas; and Okayama Art Summit, Okayama. His films have been programmed in international festivals such as BFI London Film Festival, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival, Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin, and International Film Festival Rotterdam, where he won the Ammodo Tiger Short Film Award in 2018. He was shortlisted as one of the 21 artists for the Future Generation Art Prize hosted by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation in Kyiv, Ukraine in 2019. He currently lives and works in Tokyo, Japan.