An Interview with Taki Kentaro (Director)
A Non-violent, Intellectual Revolution
Q: This work is composed of several sections that were previously presented as stand-alone pieces, like “Media Cage” and “Exchangeable Cities.” What did you have in mind when you made this work?
TK: I started making video art in 1997, about seven years ago. You can get an idea of the things I’ve been trying to say by watching my works in chronological order, dealing with one topic per work. But I felt the need to make a piece that really stands on its own. I was aiming for a film that packs together all of my experiences to date and the influences I’ve had from other artists.
Q: You don’t use a standard documentary approach.
TK: It seems like we’re getting dumber as the result of transformations in our cities and visual environment. So if I put that together in a film, I thought I could make a documentary about the way we see things now.
Q: Your way of observing cities is very unique and interesting.
TK: Living in Tokyo, a building you’ve never seen before appears out of the blue, or a shop you like disappears. And at the same time, you have a building by so-and-so French architect lined up alongside a building by so-and-so Japanese architect. It’s a collage. Cutting and pasting, sometimes arbitrarily, and sometimes with accidental combinations. The kinds of things that happen in photography and video are going on in the city as a whole.
Q: What is the meaning of the words “Pursue real praxis through unity!” in the last section?
TK: Today’s world lionizes the artist as someone who works solo, on their own. Solo media artists particularly try to get their works sold, even if it’s at someone else’s expense. And what’s the result? The work ends up getting absorbed into the mass media. It happens all the time—an indie band suddenly gets really boring the moment they make it big. Getting picked up by the media and becoming famous are two sides of the same coin. I think they’re just being used by the media, even if they had an awesome message and great content. So, networks need to link up horizontally, instead of leaping up the vertical axis through the mass media. It wouldn’t be so bad to have a few people linked together, a group that somehow represents what’s happening today, even if they are anonymous. Then, the world controlled by the mass media—if such a thing exists—might someday be turned on its head. Maybe then we’d have a really intellectual revolution, without blood or terrorism, different from the violent revolutions of the past. Well, maybe it would be good if we move both horizontally and vertically.
(Compiled by Moriyama Seiya)
Interviewers: Moriyama Seiya, Ishii Rei
Photography: Sato Hiroaki / Video: Kato Takanobu / 2005-09-19 / in Tokyo