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Theatre of the Tourist in the Age of Mobility: Yudai Kamisato and Choy Ka Fai

03/29/2018 @ 6:00 pm

Theatre of the Tourist in the Age of Mobility: Yudai Kamisato and Choy Ka Fai

Tadashi Uchino, Professor, Department of Japanese Studies, Faculty of Intercultural Studies, Gakushuin Women’s College

Thursday, March 29, 2018
6:00PM, Kent Hall
403 Kent Hall, Columbia University
No registration required

In the most recent publication entitled A Philosophy of the Tourist (Tokyo: Genron, 2017), Azuma Hiroki proposes a provocative yet convincing theoretical breakthrough beyond poststructural, posttheoretical and posthuman discursive landscape by revisiting the site of colonialism and its subject formation through the image of travelling and the tourist. According to Azuma, the tourist is the one

who meets someone s/he is not supposed to meet, who goes to places s/he is not supposed to go, who thinks what s/he is not supposed to think, thereby introducing the elements of contingency into the system of Empire and reconnecting concentrated fixed sets of branches by cancelling prioritized selections through mis-delivery. The accumulation of such practice will let the people know that there is no mathematical ground for the concentration of power at the top so it can be dismantled, subverted or rebooted at any time, and that the real world is not necessarily the best world” (Azuma 192, translation by Uchino.)

This is because Azuma thinks “the resistance for the 21st Century can only be conceived in an in-between space of Empire and nation states” (ibid.)

In my lecture, I will first introduce, articulate and unpack Azuma’s rather new, high-contextual and dense theorization of the post-Fukushima Japan in globality. I will then go on to argue that the transient subject position Azuma identifies as the tourist is becoming critical in generating some of more important performance works within intercultural creative environments involving artists working in and around Japan. Referring to some visual material, I will discuss Yudai Kamisato’s work including The Story of Descending the Long Slopes of Valparaíso (2017), and Choy Ka Fai’s Soft Machine (2012-) and Unbearable Darkness (work-in-progress, 2018), asking how and what their work mis-deliver. Why do their subject positions as artist should be defined as the tourist? What does it mean to be an artist-as-tourist in the age of mobility?


6:00 pm
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403 Kent Hall
1140 Amsterdam Ave.
New York, NY 10027 United States
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