Mirei Yazawa


a text for the performance A PICNIC (2012)

When people do a picnic, they bring their domestic everyday life outdoors. People put a picnic blanket on the  ground, I guess it is because of functional reasons, but it also looks like a stage where people perform their everyday life. My friend Zac and I are going to perform improvisational things on a picnic blanket in the gallery space.

I perform with improvisational body movement. When I do it, I sometimes get a feeling of 'I am here'. I feel the reality of my existence. I have an image of who I am and it gives me the idea of 'I should be XYZ' or 'I would/would not behave like XYZ'.  However, when I dance, whatever my self image is, I certainly exist in the world.

My body movement practice came from the study of Butoh dance. Originally, that was called 'Ankoku Butoh' (dark black dance). One of the founders of Butoh, Tatsumi Hijikata, said that he applies a ladder into his own flesh and gets down. There are a lot of ways of understanding Butoh. But in my case, when I dance, I stop watching things and shift my attention to my internal sensation or to different parts of the world. For example, I sense how my muscles and bones move, or I focus on sounds. By doing that, I feel as if I investigate the boundary between myself and the world.

I guess the boundary between one and the world is continually re-drawn by communication between one and the world. People see how people behave and then visually copy or reply to it. People define self-image within the communication. The self-image is a boundary.

One of the biggest parts in the process of communication is vision. The world is divided into two things by vision. Something that sees and the other thing that is seen. Things that are seen are objectified by the one who sees. Always, there is a distance between seer and the thing that is seen. (If there is no distance, the eye cannot catch any light) This is the premise of the world of vision. I guess maybe because of this premise, I am afraid of too many a gaze. The percentage of visual communication might have been increasing in contemporary society because of TV, movies, magazines and the internet. Thus people might have more opportunity to see how other people behave and visually copy it. However, we have other senses and we sense the world in different ways. That might be one of the reasons why I like body movement with my darkness.

There is an idea that a society is a sort of big theatre (I think a lot of academic people said something similar but I wouldn't refer to it here). If so, our short performance will be a play in a play. I am going to try to present something I feel is a reality of myself from within the play.