On Eye Rape 1962, 16mm, b&w/si, 10 min,
"The original film was rescued from a Tokyo trash bin. It is an American sexual education film in which plant and animal sex are explained. I, together with an artist friend, Natsuyuki Nakanishi, punched big holes in almost all of the frames. It was a protest against Japanese censorship of explicit images of sex, particularly pubic hair which the censors would cover with black marks. I inserted a few subliminal frames of pornographic imagery from magazines several times throughout the film. At the end, I even punched holes in these subliminal pictures, thereby 'censoring' the censored image." -- Takahiko Iimura
"Moving beyond JUNK, which itself was already in response to, or an effort to surpass the much-appreciated 'Junk Art,' Iimura endeavoured to continue his investigation into the waste object. Here, he uses the remains of educational films, which treat the birth of zebras and insects, or the growth of plants. He edited this found footage, and then pierced the film with holes. The original images are 'hidden' from view by large splashes of light, which appear so violent to the spectator that Iimura named this work ON EYE RAPE. Indeed, he also intercut the original footage with single images culled from pornographic movies, which were then banned in Japan. This subliminal technique serves a quintessentially 'suggestive' and structural cinema. In that, it has affinities with the work of Paul Sharits, who also includes erotic single images in his films, WORD MOVIE (1966), N:O:T:H:I:N:G (1968), and above all T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G (1968), in order to gratify the phenomenon of retinal persistence." - Christopher Charles, Les Arts de l'image dans le Japon contemporain: Iimura Takahiko, in Takahiko Iimura film et vidéo, 1999.
Takahiko Iimura, a pioneer of Japanese experimental video, started video in the early 1970s, inspired by Nam June Paik and other video artists. Coming to New York City from Tokyo for the first time in the 1960s, he was then a filmmaker, having made such works as LOVE (1962) (music by Yoko Ono), which was highly praised by Jonas Mekas in the Village Voice at the time. He found video quite different from film, discovering it to be a valuable medium for examining the relation between image and language. Because video is able to record and playback immediately, one may use it to view the observer and the observed simultaneously. Thus the observer becomes the observed, and vice versa; or the subject turns into the object and vice versa. He applied this theory to practice.
The result is a video trilogy of CAMERA, MONITOR, FRAME (1976); OBSERVER/OBSERVED (1975), OBSERVER/ OBSERVED/OBSERVER (1976). These works have now been included within another trilogy of Concept Tapes, 1, 2, 3, after reassembling the first trilogy and adding other tapes. Most of the works are excerpted from the originals, showing selected parts from the series.
Especially notable is Concept Tapes 3, an anthology of performance tapes which examine the relation of performance and language. This work includes not only his performance, but also the piece JOHN CAGE PERFORMS JAMES JOYCE (1985).
The above works have been widely reviewed and are highly regarded: "discovering their great complexity and profundity" (John G. Hanhardt, Curator, Whitney Museum), "elegance which defines complexity" (Daryl Chin, art critic), "refresh our ability to perceive" (Scott MacDonald, film critic), and "most significant" (Peter d'Agostino, Professor, Temple University).
In: Arts and Entertainment
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