Polyphony 1945ポリフォニー 1945 @ shiseido gallery

  • 2019
  • shiseido gallery / Tokyo

(c)Kiyono Kobayashi

As of 2019, eight years have passed since the earthquake. Heading into "Tokyo Olympics 2020" (※1), the metropolis of Tokyo now finds itself amid a great wave that can no longer be resisted. Viewed from eight years in the past, does "Japan" today seem full of hope, or is it seeking to move toward the future by shelving any thoughts about what has been lost? One cannot help but feel that the sense itself of the reality of loss is fading away.

This exhibit places the spotlight on 1945, the 20th year of the Showa era, when the great vectors of the times held sway over people. By actually reading aloud, speaking out about, and acting out the days of war, the defeat, and the postwar world experienced from the perspectives of women in the shadow of the times, as well as the texts of letters actually exchanged by the women, the exhibit recaptures these women's lost voices, which in turn reveal what they had lost at the time. By personally experiencing this in a voice-and-sound installation space, we gain an opportunity to think about what we ourselves have lost.

The voices begin shortly after the women graduated from a girls' school in the heart of the city in March 1945. After graduation, they were evacuated to rural areas, each under her own circumstances, so their experiences and fates differed greatly by the nature of the locations where they ended up. One was in a safe place, one was placed amid the misery of Tokyo, and one was evacuated to the mountains of Hiroshima but boldly left the dull countryside for the city and was caught in the atomic bombing (her cheerful voice gets cut off). While excited by news of friends' marriages, they lost fondly-remembered schoolhouses, pianos, and homes to fire, and wondered what they were living for. They were confused by conflicting safety information following the atomic bombing, and yet they felt free to dream about their futures after the war.

Their words that tell narratives through monologues and episodes, arranged in chronological order and played in parallel, come alive through the voices of young actors of the same age. Their voices, seeming alive as if writing letters now, intersect at places to compose a polyphonic acoustic documentary.

Such a polyphonic mixture becomes a medium to awaken a group of women from 1945, while creating public voices now, in the space of Shiseido Gallery, that tell the narratives of women who were and still are separated and discriminated against as something private.

"The statement for shiseido art egg exhibition"

(※1) "Tokyo Olympics 2020" was postponed to 2021 due to a pandemic of coronavirus infection. 2020 was the year in which all schedules and plots that had been formulated for human convenience were forced to be canceled or changed due to the advent of covid-19. (Addition 2022.2.11)

(c)Kiyono Kobayashi

Photography:Ken Kato

  • ⑴.《Polyphony 1945》
  • 2017-2019
  • 10 channel sound installation, mixed media 
  • 39min
  • Cast:Sayaka Aoi Hodaka Kiyozumi Kun Jinnai Moeka Takeda Shiho Tanaka Kotomi Miyashiro Yuko
  • Piano performance:Ayame Nakae
  • Sound recording:Kiyono Kobayashi
  • Video recording:Aya Ooshima Yusuke Kaneko Mayumi Sano
  • Technical support:Chinatsu Yokomizo
  • Size:Dimension variable
  • Venues:shiseido gallery / Tokyo, Japan