"Testing Boundaries: Researching Japan’s Avant-Garde" Research in Progress by the Japan Foundation Fellows 2015-16

Please join us on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at the Japan Foundation Headquarters for presentations from two of our 2015-2016 Japan Foundation Graduate Research Fellows on the subject of “Testing Boundaries: Researching Japan’s Avant-Garde.” In this session, Andrew Campana and André Keiji Kunigami will be discussing their research on avant-garde Japanese film, art, and literature. Avant-garde works are by definition cutting-edge and experimental, challenging conventional boundaries between media and disciplines. These movements have also tended to be global, forcing us to reconsider what "Japan" and "Japanese" means in a context where people, work and influences flow between Japan and Brazil, France, America, Canada, Italy, and the United Kingdom. We will introduce some key figures and works in certain pre- and postwar avant-garde movements, and talk about the particular opportunities and obstacles of research that continually crosses disciplinary and national boundaries.

This event is fully booked and we are no longer accepting reservations.

Date and Time Wednesday, June 29, 2016 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Venue The Japan Foundation Headquarters
Seminar room 1, 9th floor, 4-4-1 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku, TokyoAccess
Tel. +81-(0)3-5369-6071
Language in English (No interpretation).
Capacity 30 seats

This event is fully booked and we are no longer accepting reservations.

To sign up, please RSVP your name, email address, and occupation with the subject line " Testing Boundaries: Researching Japan’s Avant-Garde " to americas@jpf.go.jp by Monday, 27 June, 2016 (required).
(When sending an e-mail, please enter a half-width character "@" instead of a full-width character "@".)


Andrew Campana, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of East Asian Languages & Civilizations, Harvard University Affiliation: Faculty of Letters, Keio University
Presentation: “Poetry? In Postwar Japan”
In the 1950s and ‘60s, experimental poetry in Japan and across the world often took forms very different from words on a page; over the course of these decades, we can find a proliferation of concrete poems, sound/phonic/phonetic poems, semiotic poems, film poems, plastic poems, sculptural poems, movement poems, and more. How useful is it to consider these works as poems at all? What does it mean to look at hair glued into a book made by an artist from Japan working in New York as a work of “Japanese literature”? What does poetry do? In this talk, I will introduce the works of poetic practitioners like Akiyama Kuniharu, Yoko Ono, Niikuni Seiichi, and Shiomi Mieko, and will discuss the challenges of research that crosses media and national boundaries.

André Keiji Kunigami, PhD candidate, Cornell University (Department of Asian Studies) Visiting researcher, Meiji Gakuin University (Department of Arts)

Presentation: “Seeing through film: encountering a medium, being attached to an image”
The avant-garde is usually seen a global phenomenon that crossed different media and, at least in its beginnings, pushed the boundaries between aesthetic appreciation and political questions, art world and everyday life. One can say that the avant-garde worked against the idea of separation towards a possibility of closeness: “seeing” itself was dismissed as an activity performed at a distance. But what was the place of the moving image? In order to untangle broader theoretical questions about the relation between politics, aesthetics, and media ontologies, my presentation will work through the ideas of presence/absence, movement/stillness, visibility/invisibility, as they surface in the 1920s film-related writings and works by two prominent avant-garde figures by: Japanese artist Murayama Tomoyoshi, and Brazilian writer-photographer Mário de Andrade. Central figures of the pre-war avant-gardes in their contexts, neither had cinema as their main medium, and their interest in film is usually shadowed by their work in other media. But film took up an important role in their aesthetic-political projects for its particular temporality, embodied experience, and the fascination it could spur. It provided a promise of overcoming distance through vision, as an intermedial screen of encounters between subjects, bodies, temporalities, and different media. In my presentation I will see how this new medium problematized the very idea and experience of "seeing," while also thinking about the particular challenges and significances of doing comparative research between places and media, particularly considering the self-fashioned global subjectivity that the avant-garde pursued.

[Contact Us]

The Japan Foundation
Japanese Studies and Global Partnerships Programss Department
Planning and Coordination/ Americas section
Person in charge: Miyazaki (Ms.)
Tel: +81-(0)3-5369-6069 Fax: +81-(0)3-5369-6041
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