An Interview: Artist Seiji Shimoda



My name is Seiji Shimoda, I am 63 years old,I born 1953, when I entered  the local high school in nagano, it was 1969 and in that moment  in japan we made some strong students movement.  and similar other western countries. So i m a bit the younger generation. we had  Anti law , anti system, anti pollution and many kind of political activities in high school, those movement falling down in the beginning of 70’s, then we realize that, our inner war is more important and so then I started to write poetry and I stopped going  high school for one year,I struggle by this time , I had long hair, I stay half year in the north side  of the japan .then I start to write poetry. 1970, I was 17 years old, so one  day I realize make that sentence my poetry is a some strange action, which good for my line of  my poetry. Because  I was good sportsman and I was young, I was best swimmer  in nagano city and   basketball team captain.so then I realize some kind of body movement  is good for me and it’s take over the world  to make  a poetry.so then in 71 nono 72 , I start to some kind of performance art, and moved to Osaka and my home town nagano city is close to Tokyo but I prefer to go Osaka , because Osaka is second biggest city and different culture,  there I meet some good friends all of them are so depressive because we fail our students movements and then we make some artist movements  and we make some artist group  and  something like experimental  theater group or experimental dance group and I was director and I made the whole script, music and so on.then we had  performance inside the university but also other students they want to  graduates and need  to study, then I decide to move to Tokyo in 1975, after that I became so active artist. in that moment in japan fuko the museum and the gallery they don’t like experimental  things but we called live house   live house means are café just drinking space but some live house every weekend or every day /night  they have schedule . not only performance experimental music,dance, film screen, concert and everything. No they have their own business . so the audience , they have to pay some entrance tickcet  half of the entrance ticket money went to the live house and half of them come to the artist and also live house owner earn the money from selling coffee, beer  and drinks .they want to make more events in their hub space and it’s a totally underground movements but not only in the big cities we have many live house in side japan.and almost all the live house owner was before students activist. So they came u from Tokyo and open live house . so any way we were young artist, very experimental artist, avant-garde artist , but museum or gallery they don’t like to have that kind of event. Live house we have roads  inside japan not only big cities and so then I traveled from north to south one month, so  any way it was my back ground . I studied literature and even go to university , even  I am now teaching art university in tokyo. so it’s like grassrouts art movement.to do performance art  and special in this 25-27 years people called the time come out international performance art festival  since 1990 before the sixties in performance art only happen in the rich country in Europe, US and also .in japan but some artists gave a lot of afford to promote performance art. In asia maybe southeast asia I traveled their fifteen years ago and also all the countries they never heard about performance art. but after my visiting they realize that and start to organize performing art festival, southeast asia including Bangladesh, india, Nepal was my new craze to promote performance art. Maybe six seven years ago I came here in Bangladesh for the first time. they had not enough knowledge about performance art, and I made workshop, video screening and so on. I think it’s not so difficult art medium and it’s really free art style. if they  know enough knowledge about performance art or they know  some kind of history over performance art .now today all people can check internet or youtube to compare them. Many countries including Bangladesh more people want to run performance art.this time I came from Vietnam, I stay there for one week for workshop and performance event. there one rich gallery owner came to me and they want to make six months performance art event in next year in hocimine city . and same history happened in many Asian country. Before performance art ,art was just main stream and only underground artists include but now today even major international art festival in Europe lime documenta , venice biennial  performance art become very important topic but I worried may be ten years ago I was invited the Cuba , Havana biennial, they have lots of discussion. The speakers from other american latin country’s they criticize the laws about such kind of documenta or venice biennale or  such famous international art festival because it just for new style or art market.art businessman always follow that kind of art festival. Any way performance  art  international festival means solidarity and independent.   Artist we don’t need any art businessman but sometimes we need money but we are not the slave of the art market.

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