Collapse, Brexit: the poetics of activism (2019)

photo: Eleanor Boileau Clarke

On 29th of March 2019, the day scheduled for ‘Brexit’, when the UK would leave the European Union after 46 years of an always distrustful alliance, twelve of us converged on the triangular plaza that conjoins King’s Cross Station to St Pancras station, a busy concourse of criss-crossing commuters, and on the day and time in question, framed by the lunching crowds taking a short hour out of the day to swallow a sandwich while catching up on the latest Brexit news on their smartphones: in the midst of all this our little group entered the scene and came to a standstill. (…more…)


What is the Contemporary? – a review of three performances (2013, revised 2016)

T. Kawaguchi in Homage to Kazuo Ohno

It’s just over a week since my installation ‘Black Box’ closed at gallery éf in Asakusa. and I’ve spent the week as a spectator seeing an absolute plethora of shows: from re-creations of Kazuo Ohno, to hyperactive ‘entertainment dance performance’ with Japanese dance stars, to what the choreographer himself might call an ‘immaterial performance’ last night at Morishita Studio. Today after, completing my entry into a publication called the Contemporary Performance Almanac, I felt challenged to ponder ‘contemporaneity’ and what it means with regards to performance. (…more…)


Black Walk, Berlin: remembering the Fall of the Wall

photo | Pablo Cousinou

On 9 November 2014, I performed Black March Berlin, joined at various points by a group of artist collaborators and participant walkers. It was the fourth in a series of walking performances that began in Tokyo in 2012, and this time in Berlin it coincided with the 25 year anniversary celebrations of the Fall of the Berlin Wall: this coincidence though vaguely planned and not, brought this performance action, which up to now has been a fairly low-key manifestation in public space, into the very public eye of large crowds that had gathered to mark this event. It opened up Black March in every sense: from extreme exposure, to intense exchange. (…more…)

Malevich to Mavo and Walking (2014)

Black Walks: Liberty leading the Peopl, linocutprint,  2015

“The contemporary is he who firmly holds his gaze on his own time so as to perceive not its light but rather its darkness.” Giorgio Agamben, ‘What is the Contemporary’

The Malevich retrospective just ended at Tate Modern. I managed to get it just in time, just off the plane from Tokyo, passing through London on my way to the next Black Walk and the first one of 2014, Black March Berlin.

I was thrown back to where it began. A circularity of sorts that took me to Japan, where I indirectly felt the influence of Malevich’s ‘Black Square’ on Tomoyoshi Murayama’s MAVO movement in 1920s Japan. Murayama had been inspired by his experience of the avant-garde movement whilst in Berlin for a one-year stay and brought the movement home to Japan as MAVO. The MAVO movement’s own performance art and dance happenings preceded Butoh in the Japanese modern dance scene and probably create a further line of spiraling circularity in terms of influences: Malevich, Murayama, Hijikata…(…more…)




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