Feb. 4, 1997 Feb. 25, 1997

Art Watch Index - Feb. 11, 1997

"De-World Historical" - A Reflection of Tokyo?
- Nest, "Syntax Error"

Art Watch Back Number Index

Nest "Syntax Error"
January 15 - 18, 1997
1-34-17 Ebisu Nishi Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150 Japan
NEST Office
Tel&Fax 03-5373-5859
(2-42-2 Shirasagi Nakano-ku, Tokyo Japan)

"De-World Historical"
- A Reflection of Tokyo?

- Nest, "Syntax Error"


I saw Nest's new work with the rather exaggerated title, "intermedia performance unit". To tell the truth, this was my first time to see Nest. Twice in the past, I had made attempts to go but could not make it due to my schedule. Moreover, because my friends, who had some knowledge about dance, said it was "terrible", I did not have much incentive to go. Finally, the chance to actually see them for myself had arrived.

A stage completely devoted to "style"

Every aspect, from the device, image, sound, lighting, costume design, to the dance, was speedy and "cool", and at first, the performance seemed to be filled with explosive energy. However, there, all of the aspects had already lost their internal intensity and was vacuously devoted to "style". Take, for example, the various images projected in dizzy flashes on the wall. "Scientific"-looking schemes, fragmented images of the city, digital numbers and so on, were shown as if they contained some "meaning", but the speed of the flashes were so fast that the messages were hardly understood. Probably, what was important to them was not the message the image communicated, but the plastic use of the images as a "style". Or in another example, there was the 4 "metallic" looking horizontal bars that ascended and descended. Though the dancers constantly danced in and out of the moving bars, again, there was absolutely no strength born out of that performance. In comparison with the tension created by the famous 2 trusses of "pH" by Dumb Type and the dancers, the performance by Nest seemed merely to borrow from their "style". Or maybe, (the problem lay in) the dance itself. The bodies of the dancers did not carry any kind of message, nor produce "a theater of cruelty" by taking us into the darkness of the "body". They only externally outlined a style or sign called "dance".

Why can they still create such a stage that is rare like "world history"?

After the collapse of the cold war structure, real violence such as regional disputes, AIDS, absolute poverty, discrimination of race, ethnic, and gender, and terrorism, have erupted in the world. In the philosophical world also, the genre called "cultural studies" which investigates physical and social violence, is becoming the trend centering in the United States. Finally, in the world of Japanese contemporary art as well, we are beginning to see artists, although still very few, who take up "world historical" issues led by groups such as Dumb Type. Under this kind of circumstance, such "violence" is returned to "information", then structured/stylized into plastic external elements. The stage by Nest is none other than that "de-world historical", "aseptic", and "happy-go-lucky" performance.

Unexpectedly, this may have led to the reflection of the image of "Tokyo", which also maintains a "de-world historical" aspect even now.

[Takaaki KUMAKURA/French Literature, Contemporary Art]

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Feb. 4, 1997 Feb. 25, 1997

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