[-empyre-] From a distance

Yoko Ishiguro yoko_jimmysparty at yahoo.co.jp
Wed Nov 12 19:46:49 EST 2014

Hello, I’m Yoko, Johannes’s former student of Brunel University, a performer and performance maker. I’ve been following your discussions including the shocking reports of the gut-shaking brutal ‘facts’ -I used apostrophes because I’m currently living in the most peaceful countryside, taking dogs for a walk to the riverbank with the picturesque backdrop of beautiful mountains everyday and, of course, sleeping very much soundly so that I can say ‘whatever happens in the other part of the world, it’s not my business. Those are all what media made up’ -a cliche..

However, here I per-form: I close my eyes not to shut the world out of my sight but to bring the world Right Here, trying to feel the vibrations from the bombs, splashed blood, burned human flesh, crashed buildings, crying, screaming and shivering of people miles and miles away and also decades and decades ago.

My writing here can be too much subjective for you -I am afraid that I can only write only from my personal experiences and imaginations as a performer who dedicates oneself to the world by embodying her own life and circumstances.

Here it is:

[Does ISIS understand Cubism?]

My mother’s dogs bark to ‘the others’. My local elderly people do not understand ‘the other aspects to see/gaze upon the world(s)’ - they never go out of their own perspectives and beliefs- as my colleagues in a local cake shop always complain. These humans/animals are not autistic. They are nice and pretty for the people ‘inside’. The problem is that they have their own spacial/mental territories/blocks that they seriously need to protect and also, they have the strong sense of belonging. For them, the worlds they belong to must be solid and stable, not fluid -against Bauman. Do they understand the multiple points of view of the world(s)? Can they make a step beyond their physical/mental borders? How about the people in ISIS…?

In the case of ISIS, it seems more complicated than those dogs and the local elderly people since they do not own their geographical ‘land’ or ‘state’, instead, they are bonded by a virtual reality: their virtual ‘state’ based on the ‘religion’ which is actually nothing but terror. It may be the reason why ISIS could relatively easily spread their beliefs/terror via social media such as Youtube so that they can collect the soldier candidates from all over the world. Well, in many religions, scripted words are principal. The god/guru/you-name-it’s spoken words are written, translated and spread. Now, how about belief or terror in this Internet age? You will much more easily find the way to agitate and brainwash people no matter how they are far from you by mediatising the ‘fact’ in this society of spectacle. Terror can be pervasive and penetrated into people’s mind everywhere on this planet as many of you here mentioned.

Now, I am curious about ISIS’s notion about ‘home’ or ‘their land’. Why do they continuously try to invade and occupy places? Why do they need a land? If their fundamental bond is ‘religion’, they should not necessarily have their own land (apart from Mecca…?). Are they trying to establish ‘a state’ as a physical space, following the international norm of ‘states’? Do they need any monuments or somewhere put their flag to claim their power inside -no, it shouldn’t be so because their religion bans idolatry? WHERE actually do they belong to...?

[Slow violence]

‘Fuji-copo102, 8-39-2, Higashi-ogu, Arakawa-ku, Tokyo’


In this performance, I focused on the speed of the violence of natural disaster, especially of The Great East Japan Earthquake happened on 11th of March, 2011, accompanied by the massive tsunami and the radioactive pollutions in Fukushima. More than 15,000 people died, 2,500 people are still missing and at least 200,000 people cannot go home yet.

My approach to this terrible destruction of modern human systems was to attempt to stretch/expand few minutes of massive force into a couple of weeks of slow change: I moved into the gallery 20-minute-walk away, carrying all the stuffs by myself one by one, leaving the audio guide in my flat. All the route in between and the two goals (the flat and the gallery) were all my performance area. After the moving, I lived in the gallery filled with the piles of my stuffs. Finally, they were dumped into a lorry and driven away. Nothing was left.

There, I wanted to see a kind of dynamism which occurs very slow and subtle, not like an earthquake, tsunami, an atomic bomb or nuclear power generation, but like, say, ageing which is a kind of violence as a force to kill a life.

Below, it is a quote of the note I wrote for the performance:


A point and the other point generate a distance.
If the distance between two points on the earth get shorter or longer in a certain condition, it generates energy (earthquake).
If the distance between a neutron and a proton get shorter or longer in a certain condition, it generates energy (nuclear power).
These occur in different time lengths and scales everywhere in the world.

Here, what matters will be the scale you adopt and the distance you take from the object.

As Johannes suggested, I could write about a telematic performance I have got involved in but I would have rather liked to introduce this performance as one approach to one’s trauma and violence. I may want to write about the telematic performance later.


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