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Specters and Tourists by Daisuke Miyazaki

Specter: a ghost, phantom, vision
Tourist: a vacationist, visitor, out-of-towner

"In fragments we follow them, as they oscillate repeatedly between life and death, human and animal forms, and feelings of bland uniformity and seclusion."


Specters and Tourists by Daisuke Miyazaki

by SAND Magazine

November 24, 2017

A two-part film installation by Japanese filmmaker and artist, Daisuke Miyazaki, will run from 11 November to 17 December at ArtScience Museum. Part of the annual Singapore International Film Festival, this installation is named Specters and Tourists— examining the all too familiar scene of humdrum urban life and encourages reflection of how unscripted and unexpected moments can challenge our perception of reality.

In the first part of the installation Specters, Miyazaki weaves scenes from existing footage into a new multi-screen portrait of characters trapped like ghosts, or specters, in their everyday lives. The accompanying installation, Tourists (initially meant as a feature length film but the idea was dropped as Miyazaki only had a few days to work on it) follows Nina Endo and Sumire Sato — who discover their new identities through the urban landscape of Singapore after winning a lottery ticket, which propelled them to travel abroad on a whim.

We spoke to Daisuke Miyazaki on the motivations of the entire show, and the prevalence of art in Japan and Singapore.

Do you see any linkages between the pursuit of freedom and social anxiety?

People around the world are leading similar lives these days, and hardly anyone is starving. Thus, various kinds of hate crimes are taking place due to increasing social anxiety.
Through the exhibition, I hope to explore reasons for social anxiety, and how we can pursue freedom from this feeling.
Since the beginning of time, Japanese art is widely seen as sophisticated—romantic even. What compels you to create, and how do you relate to this general perception of art from Japan?

I create because this is my vocation. Of course, I am intrinsically part of this inward and personal art history of Japan. Nonetheless, I always try to fill in the gap between our art history and the western art history.

What was the motivation behind Specters and Tourists?

Specters is about the life of a modern human being. People these days are close to one another but they can be apart and different at the same time. People stay in their room and live lives repeatedly while waiting desperately for a critical moment to arrive — which seems to be able to happen only through your neighbours and others. The triangular shape was inspired by the trinity of Catholic. God is the audience and the spirit exists among the three monitors.

Tourists is a simple example to get out of the social anxiety.

Why do we have to hurt someone to know that we are different? Can we run away from the accurate Google predictions that are also pressurising our life at the same time?

In what ways do history, philosophy and your surrounding culture aid your films?

I try to use the contemporary culture as much as possible to show the era and the momentum that the film was made in. To me, storytelling is the most important thing in filmmaking because it leads me to a new and wide image of the world that can't be verbalised.

Philosophy and history have very important roles in that process. I try to blend Western and Japanese philosophy into each story — in order to form a connection to the international history of art.

With regards to blending history in my work, I begin from a domestic point of view that instinctively feels real before taking on Asian and even international points of view to expand the perspectives.

Do you think that expression is crucial, given the state of modern and urban life across the world?

Now that we hardly starve, I think people should concentrate on enjoying their life as much as possible. That is the bottom line.
If expression makes you feel good, even better than social media validation — why don't you do it?
What are your thoughts about social and political art? In this day and age where many artists hold full time jobs, how is art more relevant to the working class adults and teenagers?

Art is not about how relevant it is or how many days a week you work at 7-11. It shouldn't be seen as a fancy item only for the lost communists or the fashion anarchists since it does have the potential to change the world at large. If you need it and want to do it, just do it. If you want to present it, share it online or on the streets, no one can stop you.

As a filmmaker, do you think you possess any misplaced feelings towards art?

I don't think so. The root of filmmaking and art are the same, and I respect both.

What are your biggest challenges when creating Specters and Tourists?

My biggest challenge was time — I only had a few days to film Tourists, although it was intended to be feature length.

How would you compare both the general culture and possibilities in art between Japan and Singapore?

Japan has a longer history Singapore but both are by far the top runners of the post-modern society. I think we should reflect that in our creativity.

More art and conversations here
Visit Specters and Tourists here


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