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Requiem dance

Ko Nakajima

Friday 18th March – 8.30pm – Maison de la Culture, salle Boris Vian, Clermont-Ferrand

At the end of the age the cathode-ray tube. Cathode-ray tube and video tapes are going to die. This was my love, cathode-ray tube, and was my life. Good bye video tapes, Goodbye cathode-ray tube.

Born in Kumamoto City, 1941. In the 1960s, Nakajima learnt filmmaking and began making experimental animations. In 1970, he bought video camera and founded the video group Video Earth. Nakajima incorporates his unique take on video as a personal, vital and spiritual medium into his performances, documentaries and installations.
Recently Nakajima had presented large scale installations in New Zealand and France, and held live-performance with Butoh dancers and Aniputer(1982) was his by analog visualization device in joint development with JVC ltd.

Artist web site :

Performance with the participation of Marion Arnoux (danse), Véronique Giraud, member of the duo VoCello (cello) and Jean-Philippe Mangeon (performed reading)

Screening after the performance

Mount Fuji (1984, 7’)

Collection : Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (France)

Mount Fuji dates from the year 1984. Nakajima had already affirmed his style of manipulating images and established his universe distinguished by elements of nature and infused with Oriental philosophy. This tape is emblematic of the research he was able to conduct due to the invention of the aniputer, a machine which allows one to distort, superpose and embed images with ease, created in collaboration with JVC’s research department. Against the rhythm of repetitive music, different images of Mount Fuji compose geometric structures forming a Rubik’s cube’s perspectival frame, cut through by photographs which regularly come and drift away before the spectator.
Mount Fuji is a highly mystical site in Japanese culture, a religious and national symbol. It is at the heart of numerous works and places man in relation to a mountain’s ancientness and its fundamental ambiguity – the possibility of a volcanic eruption dwells within the impression of stability and permanence. Playing with static and flat images that cut across the screen, Nakajima brings to mind the tectonic drift of plates which could at any time erase the benign image of Mount Fuji.
If the effects create a slightly old-fashioned aesthetic (though very representative of the period), this video provides an account of artists’ capacity to appropriate technological innovations – even to bring them about –, thus revolutionising the history of forms. It is an approach we find in the work of Chinese artist Cao Fei for example, whereby fantasy intrudes into reality through recourse to novel possibilities of digital animation. Nakajima is hence the precursor of an artistic practice that works hand in hand with industrial research.
Mathilde Roman
Translated by Yin Ker

My Life (1976-2014/ 28’)

(HD remastered version with additional footage, original piece1976-1992, 27 min.)

The original work shows Nakajima’s mother’s death and his daughter’s birth at the same time on the two screens. In this latest version, he has added footage of his grandchildren’s birth and his son being hospitalized.