While Tadasu’s last presentation was a solid series of gallery installations (supplemented with video), the full range of his work includes theatre, street performance art, science, and well, generally *living*. You’ll see what I mean in a moment.
Tadasu was part of the groundbreaking theatre group Dumbtype in the ‘90s. During this time, he was also doing his own eccentric work – as a 24 year-old in New York, he was walking along the streets of Alphabet City, exchanging the clothes he was wearing with the goods of the vendors, thus performing outrageously stochastic drag in the still-dangerous pre-Giuliani neighbourhood of the Far East Village.
Thus his work at the Manganese Memorial (2003) on the outskirts of Tokyo. This is where he created a light installation in a disused manganese mine where Korean labourers had once worked; where he built his own house to live in the wilderness, pumping in bathwater from the river, listening to the huge Mafioso of a museum director telling him stories every night about the dangers of the old mine: dynamite and death.
Tadasu: This is very comfortable actually. Because nobody lives around here, so we can play music as loud as we like, and we drink a lot and we play, music inside the tunnel, and we dance. It was wonderful, actually.
Tadasu: I had a lot of negative things to appear. Because I am Japanese, and I am have an unstable, untrustable job as an artist, and she pregnant first. Yeah, blah blah blah. When I heard the news that she was pregnant, I thought I’m going to be killed.
But when he [her father] searched my name on the internet and found my project n the manganese place and said ok this guy is not so bad. So thanks for the Internet.
And just to promote the message of universal love, he invited a drag queen to the wedding party as well.
Tadasu: But anyway his performance was super-good so everybody was happy
Tadasu: I tried to brand it by making cute characters, but people said it’s not cute at all.
Tadasu: In 80s and 90s, when our economy was good, thousands of museums were built all over Japan. And they had a budget for hardware, but no budget for software. So now thousands of museums, they don’t know how to keep going on. Because there’s no software, there’s no budget for people. So people feel the have to fill the space. It’s very stupid. This building’s not like that yet, but sooner or later…
This architecture won a prize that year for Japanese best architecture, its very futuristic and looks very good. But sooner or later, the building will be garbage. I don’t know when, but 30, 40, 50 years, it will be garbage.
I like garbage. Because, there is no value. It all has the same value. It’s valueless in a sense. The garbage is very big all over the world. I think this is in Sendai, a famous area nowadays as a damaged area. This area was fine, but a lot of images full of garbage. I’m sorry to say I think it looks beautiful. Because everything looks valueless.
(on the blind guides) It’s very hard for me to tell about this exhibition even in Japanese. It’s very weird. You become very unsure of how your eyes, why you’re watching, your perception.
Tadasu: We were talking about the globe. Because Japan and Brazil are on opposite sides of the Earth, so there a lot of stories of digging a hole through the Earth.
After Q&As, they screened Wen Hui’s Listening to Third Grandmother’s Stories, but the majority of us went outside to mingle, to chat. Yuen Chee Wai was there: he attended FCP 2007 together with Tadasu and Kaffe. He revealed that he’d just come back from playing a gig in the I Believe tentage.
Eventually we all migrated to Sin Hoi Sai Eating House in Tiong Bahru. (I left as soon as I realized they’d forgotten my chrysanthemum tea. Just wanted to get back and sleep.)