Chapter (3) ~ Moss

BUTOH IS NOT FOR THE FRAIL. THE AVANT-garde dance form that today is Japan’s most startling cultural export does not aim to charm. In- stead, it sets out to assault the senses. The hallmarks of this theatre of protest...clawed hands, rolled-up eyes and mouths opened in silent screams.” - 
Margarette Loke, New York Times 1987

This visual arts-based project has been created in collaboration with Butoh dancer Yumino Seki, I gave her the reference word ‘Moss’ and through her dance, she wilted from form to form. Butoh is an Avant Garde dance practice which is commonly associated with themes of the grotesque. The practice was founded by Hijikata Tatsumi and Ohno Khazuo during post-war Japan (the 1950s). The form was to reject the western influence on Japan with ballet and contemporary dance and instead to look inwards. Amongst the first performances by Hijikata was called “ankoku butō” ‘dance of darkness’. The work created for the exhibition also draws upon the idea of the dance of darkness. The intention was to create a photographic visual style that was dark and explored the notion of moments between time but the dance subject itself drew a relationship with the earth and the Japanese people.