Monday, June 21, 2010

"'Tokyo 1990' Friends - Thank you!"

Yesterday was the final day of my "Tokyo 1990" video exhibition/installation.  A couple of friends came by and we stayed there late talking about things while I displayed the video on the ceiling (making it visible on the street to passers by).  By the time I noticed the time, it was just before the last train, so I missed it while cleaning up and spent the night there - sleeping on a row of chairs, using my backpack for a pillow, and getting up in time for the first train at around 5:00 a.m. (which is a story in its own right - especially the crowd of Kabukicho nightclub women who pour onto the train (the first outbound one in the morning) at Shinjuku Station).

It's been an interesting week - meeting people, showing them the hour-long collection of 1990 views of Tokyo (with some parts from 1991), explaining some scenes and seeing how people reacted to the video; which parts were interesting to different people and how different people reacted quite differently to some sections.

On Friday evening, one man noticed the changing light coming from the third floor window as he passed, and went into the building to investigate.  He sat down and watched the video intently for two and a half run-throughs (two-and-a-half hours), making comments about details such as maps for sale in front of a bookstore (what with Internet access from cell phones, no one buys maps anymore), and benches, bicycles and various junk under a rail bridge in Shibuya (now all strictly forbidden - with pedestrian traffic only), etc.  I'm sure he would have commented on many more things, but a friend from the UK came by, and since we were yakking away in English, he probably held off on saying anything more.

In general, people were (not surprisingly) interested in seeing areas that they are (or were) familiar with.  One regret I have now is that I probably put in too many scenes of the Seibu-Ikebukuro Line and Hibarigaoka, which are out of central Tokyo.  For this type of exhibit, it would have been better to have focused more on the areas most Tokyo residents are already familiar with, and kept scenes of fringe areas of Tokyo to a minimum.

Through it all, the backdrop of Room-306 in the Okuno Building made the experience a pleasant and interesting one for me.  I enjoyed sitting in a historical room in a comfortable old building with the windows and door open, allowing a breeze to blow through (passing through the building via a window in the back by the stairs, and also through an open door to the emergency staircase), and with no artificial lighting (save for the light of the video being projected onto the wall).  One of my big complaints in this life, has been suffering in stuffy airless sealed box-like buildings with 100 times more light (of the worst, most glaring type) than necessary.  So it was pure pleasure to sense the slight changes in lighting from the sun through the open windows as I sat in florescent-light-free bliss.  I can only envy pre-air-conditioning and pre-florescent light people their complete freedom from these modern forms of (slight, but long-lasting and persistent) torture.

What's next?  Good question!  I have plenty of material for more videos from the same time period, and hopefully can have more exhibits once I get more material edited.

A big thank you to my friends (new and old) who visited, as well as all the other visitors who spent some of their time in Room-306 watching my video and discussing it and ever-changing Tokyo.  And... maybe this sounds strange, but I would also like to thank the people who designed and built the Okuno Building (originally called "Ginza Apartment[s]", and all the tenants who lived there, giving the building its warm and settled atmosphere - especially Yoshi Suda, who used Room-306 for nearly the entire history of the 1932 building, being the room's first tenant and staying there until her death at 100 years of age in early 2009.

Oh - I almost forgot - during my exhibit, I took a break on June 16th and made a quick tour of the building, which I recorded and posted as follows:

"Okuno Building - Quick Tour (June 16th, 2010)" (100616-1444)

A quick tour of the Okuno Building, from the 7th floor down to each of the two basements (the building is actually two buildings internally joined, but the basements are separate).

奥野ビルのクイックツアー - 2010年6月16日  東京

Referring back to an earlier post - this is where I introduced the exhibit:

Tokyo 2010 (20年前の東京) / Lyle (宏) Saxon

There are some more stills from the video on this page:

Tokyo 1990 (20年前の東京) Video Exhibition by Lyle (宏) Saxon

(This link is at the top of this post as well, but - for convenience - I'm putting it here at the bottom with the other links as well.)  The short video clip I took showing a little of the inside of the Okuno Building and of the exhibit itself, can be seen here:

"Tokyo-1990" (2010 Video Exhibit - Saturday-A) (100612-1902)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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