"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.

 

「ここで作る新しい顔」(2016) 
協力:難民支援サービスCTIC 

個展「暗闇でこんにちは」(2016年/駒込倉庫、東京)にて発表した作品。

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。

そこまでは想定の範囲内であったが、次第に異変が起きるようになる。経験を重ねるに連れ、難民側が観客(日本人)をコントロールし始めるようになったのだ。一日に何十個もの顔を作っていくうちに、難民たちは暗闇で顔を作るプロフェッショナルになっていた。彼らは目隠しをしているにもかかわらず的確にパーツを拾い、観客に渡し、置く場所を指示し、観客が置き間違えたパーツの位置を正しく修正する。観客は当然そのようなことが起きていることを知る由もない。自分は上手く顔を作り上げたのだと思い込んだまま、一見すると幸せなこのゲームを終えることになる。何人もの観客が満面の笑みで私に対して「かなり上手に作れたよ!」と完成したファニーな顔の写真を見せてくれたが、それは観客側が起こしたミスを難民たちがしっかりと修正していった結果出来上がったものなのだ。

現代の日本において難民という立場の彼らはごく少数のゲストであり、私たち日本人はいわばホストの立ち位置にいる。しかし、あの暗闇の中でだけは、その関係が逆転していたのだ。

撮影:森田兼次