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May 17, 2006

Performance Paradigm, Number 2


Japan After the 1960s: The Ends of the Avant-Garde

"It is widely acknowledged that dramatic changes wrought in 1960s Japan were such that art and cultural practice were transformed into an emergent avant-gardism. Hybridity, physical and intellectual intensity, formal innovations and transgressive acts are all characteristics of 1960s theatre, dance, cinema, literature and performance art in Japan and elsewhere.

The 1960s era was significant not least for the emergence of new aesthetics connected to a rapid evolution of political sensibilities. In Japan, as in Europe and America, artists were rethinking materials and forms often in terms of bodies juxtaposed with mediated spaces and objects. Art works began rejecting academic and formal qualities of art and instead related to the everyday experience of the world, foregrounding experiences of time and immediate sensory perception in a language which was conceptual and dynamic. This emerging performative discourse challenged ideas of representation and politics in art as performance began re-connecting with the social sphere.

As Marvin Carlson suggests, it is a language and a set of practices which became paradigmatic of the post 60s world: 'With performance as a kind of critical wedge, the metaphor of theatricality has moved out of the arts into almost every aspect of modern attempts to understand our condition' (Carlson, 1996: 6). This issue of Performance Paradigm looks at some of the places this metaphor migrated to and investigates how, in the process, ideas of culture and experiences of the world became actively performative. In a similar vein, this issue examines how perception and experience in the arts in the post 60s era came to stand for the embodiment of a new politics..."


- Peter Eckersall and Edward Scheer 'Introduction'

- Sat Makoto, translated by Yuji Sone 'On Vernacular Theatre'

- Yasuko Ikeuchi 'Performances of Masculinity in Angura Theatre: Suzuki Tadashi on the Actress and Sat Makoto's Abe Sada's Dogs'

- Michael Hornblow 'Bursting Bodies of Thought: Artaud and Hijikata'

- Shannon C. Moore 'Ghosts of Premodernity: Butoh and the Avant-Garde'

- Jonathan Marshall 'Dancing the Elemental Body: Butoh and Body Weather: Interviews with Tanaka Min and Yumi Umiumare'

- Lisa Kuly 'Translation, Hybridity, and 'The Real Thing': Don Kenny's English Kygen'

- Vera Mackie 'The Spectacle of Woman in Japanese Underground Theatre Posters'

- Midori Yoshimoto 'Off Museum! Performance Art That Turned the Street into 'Theatre,' Circa 1964 Tokyo'

- Gunhild Borggreen 'Ruins of the Future: Yanobe Kenji Revisits Expo '70'

- Uchino, Tadashi 'Mapping/Zapping 'J' Theatre At The Moment'


M.Cody Poulton, 'Unspeakable Acts: The Avant-Garde Theatre of Terayama Shji and Postwar Japan' Carol Fisher Sorgenfrei

Mika Eglinton, 'Into Performance: Japanese Women Artists in New York' Midori Yoshimoto (New Jersey and London: Rutgers University Press, 2005).

Yuji Sone, 'Alternatives: Debating Theatre Culture in the Age of Con-Fusion,' Peter Eckersall, Uchino Tadashi and Moriyama Naoto (eds.), No. 11 in the series Dramaturgies: Texts, Cultures and Performances (Brussels: P.I.E.-Peter Lang 2004).


Zack Fuller, Tradition and Innovation: Dance Hakushu 2005. August twelfth through twenty-first, Body Weather Farm, Yamanashi, Japan.

From Japan After the 1960s: The Ends of the Avant-Garde, Performance Paradigm, Number 2, Edited by Peter Eckersall, March 2006 [ISSN 1832-5580]

Posted by jo at May 17, 2006 10:02 AM