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"New Faces" made here

" New Faces" made here  2016
Supported by CTIC, a refugee support centre1030 audience came

This video work has been shown at our latest solo exhibition “Hello in the darkness" ( at Komagome Soko, Tokyo 2016).


In Japan refugees are invisible existence. We asked them to stay at the venue everyday and address to audience with their mother language “Shall we make a face together?"


Audience suddenly met them in the darkness, and of course they got confused as being prompted to make faces with them.


There are not a few people to reject to. However, most of audience get paired with the refugees and tried to make a face together in the darkness with blindfold. This film is a documentation of 700 or so people who had opted to follow their imagination to act with their hands.


That was within our expectation, however gradually some strange things were happened. As they spent days there, refugees started to control the audience. While they made dozens of faces in a day, they had become professional of making faces in the darkness. Even their eyes were also covered with blindfolds, they picked exact parts of face, passed it to the audience, direct their hand where to put and fix it if they put parts at wrong spot. Of course the audience will never know about it.


The audience was convinced that they made a face well, and finished the outwardly happy game. A number of them showed me the funny paper faces with smiling and said, "I did a very good job!" However, it was just a result which refugees corrected audience's mistakes properly.


In modern Japan, they are only a few guests as refugee status, and we are Japanese in host position, as it were. However, only in that darkness, the relationship was inverted.




毎日、日本に逃れて来た難民に会場に滞在してもらい、来場者はその難民と二人一組で、お互い目隠しをして「二人で一つの顔を作ること」を試みる。日本において難民は不可視の存在である。 観客は暗闇で突然難民と出会い、顔を作ることを促されるため、当然戸惑い、拒否する人も少なからず見受けられた。しかし大多数は暗闇で想像力を働かせ手を動かし始めた。



As of 2018, over 2,500,000 immigrants, and around 20,000 asylum seekers live in Japan. The largest obstacle these immigrants and asylum seekers face while building a life in Japan is the problem of language. The majority of Japanese people only speak Japanese, making it difficult to communicate and create mutual understanding. This project was conducted in Tokyo, with the aim of converting the impossibility of communication into a new possibility. A similar project was conducted in Berlin as well.

In “New Faces” made here, immigrants and refugees are paired with Tokyo citizens to explore possibilities of communication that do not rely on either the visual or the verbal.  They do this through the playful act of attempting to complete a puzzle of a face with a blindfold on. In “New Faces” made here, they combine parts of the face: eyes, nose, mouth; together to form a face, but since two people are working on the same puzzle, they often face moments of miscommunication.  What each player does in good intent sometimes fails, and leads to the participants feeling uncomfortable about their incapability to communicate successfully. Despite these struggles, the “faces” are gradually completed: guided by slight sensations on the fingers and participants’ imagination. Sometimes the final face is slightly strange, and on other occasions, the final face is a perfect smile. The project asks: How can we imagine the other’s thoughts, situation or feelings, without relying on verbal communication, and despite our discomfort? 

To date, over one thousand people have participated in this collective project, which documents the process behind the creation of each face via a fixed-point camera. A form of “imaginative communication” emerges through the physical interactions and sensations involved in the project, and the comprehensive perspective yielded by the documentation.


 このプロジェクトでは 移民および難民と、東京都民が、お互いに目隠しをして一つの顔のパズルを作る、という遊戯的な行為を通して、視覚にも言語にも頼らないコミュニケーションの可能性を模索する。言語(Verbal)によるコミュニケーションに頼らず、私たちはどのように居心地の悪さを超え、相互を想像しあえるのか? そうした問いがこの作品には含まれている。

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