As mentioned, this week I'm going to be focusing on the presentation for Shibuya Eggs. It is basically a farewell event for Shibuya Cityhall which will be demolished on the second week of November.  

When the idea first mentioned, Iwamura-san (the Director of Tokyo Wonder Site) was sharing with me and Raul (the German artist having international creator residency as well) that Shibuya is the first district in Tokyo (and Japan) that recognizes same-sex civil partnership which grants couples hospital visit. I feel this is such a wonderful development and even Iwamura-san is planning to have a discussion about this issue during the festival. 

I decided that making a work that acknowledges gay icon/s, or contribution towards Japan (and Asia) queer culture can be interesting. I had this idea in mind as the following week we visited the site. 

Anyway, the news regarding same-sex partnership can be read here

About two weeks ago we went to the Cityhall and I was attracted towards a waiting room, or meeting room for the officials. It was a usual space with comfortable sofas and coffee tables but what caught my attention was the portraits of (as I was told) previous mayors of Shibuya arranged on the wall.  

The atmosphere was extremely masculine as well. Although there were women (both in the portraits as well as office workers), it was dominated by the male population. Most of them were uniformed in their salary men suits, executing actions which were somewhat similar and roaming around in predetermined paths. A little robotic I can say, but there were chaos involved as well, maybe because of the countdown to demolishment or eagerness to move towards a new precinct.

Then the building itself as a form of masculine architecture. Erected six floors from the ground in a rather curvy shape, built from individuals glistening blue tiles. Despite its good condition though, the smell of age was apparent, not potent but hints of it tickled my interest. Maybe it was time to go, maybe it was not.

I guess all these signals of goodbyes and the heavy masculine undertone of Shibuya Cityhall reminded me of Koh Masaki. (It was not random, as I have been in fact thinking about him ever since his involvement in gCircuit in Bangkok three years ago, then his death two years ago, then when I was invited to Tokyo Wonder Site few months ago, when I reached Tokyo last month, when I went to the video store in Shinjuku Ni-chome last week). 

What’s your sexiest body part?

My eyes.

answered Koh Masaki during an interview when he was participating in 2012's gCircuit Song Kran. I have always had the aspiration to be GV actor (LOL! Seriously, don't judge, please?) which I guess explains my outmost respect towards them. My first sexual exploration was with pornography ( I did a series of pirate wanted posters-inspired drawings of male pornstars here) and when it comes to Asian scene, Japanese is the most developed and creative among its peers. So when I first noticed Koh (which was around 2010-ish, I guess), I wanted to be like him. It is not only Koh actually, but other Japanese GV actors. I admire their courage, their sexual fluidity, their rebellious nature against the norm. 

Pornstars are generally rejects, although I believe the mindset has slowly shifted today but still, they are considered outlaws. True enough, pornography is still illegal in many countries. The drawings that I did earlier reflected that idea. WANTED posters suggesting their status as criminals but at the same time, it also means I want them. I want to be like them. DEAD OR ALIVE; was referring to a period where gay porn stars were found dead after many of them left such massive impacts on young men. The images were important to me. The recognizable features, their portraits. I want to use this similar visuals for Koh. 

Hence it brought me to make drawings of him. Portraits to be exact. I felt that to know Western porn stars were almost an impossibility. Distance-wise is one of the major factor, while Koh, being a Japanese, an Asian, the idea became somehow within reach. When he came to Bangkok, it was even closer within grasp but unfortunately it never happened. He died before I could get in contact or at least thank him for being who he is. 





I decided to create hand carvings based on images of Koh on paper, which a friend reminded me that the works are similar to Taysir Batnji's 2012 works titled To my Brother (here).  

I feel that the invincibility of the portraits suggest romantic memory of loss, very much apt for my response towards him. The reference images can also be found on google search, one of the only way I get to know him at this point of time. He's there yet he's gone. 

The eyes then become very important for me. I have lazy eyes or amblyopia which friends often makes fun of (and I don't mind actually, it isn't something that I am bothered with). But I have never seen my eyes as sexy, or worse, sexiest part of my appearance. 

The portraits then are focused on his eyes, almost as if highlighting my desire to be like him, to have eyes like him, to see what he sees (or saw), to experience life of Koh Masaki. 




Hence I decided to replace the portraits of Shibuya's ex mayors with his portraits. The positions of these portraits are also interesting, almost watching over the room, glaring, yet projecting a sense of history, memory, achievement, development, political turmoil and changes. 

I see this as a form of optimism. 

The meeting room also conceptually goes beyond rendezvous but also a place where people wait. Wait for ideas, wait for suggestion, wait for meetings, wait for people. Wait for the future. 

Shibuya itself is no foreign to the context of waiting, as represented by the famous Hachiko. Waiting in Shibuya hence becomes an optimistic act, hoping for good news or a better future. 


Hence when it comes to portraying an action, I feel that performance piece becomes suitable. I decided to accompany the drawings installation with an action: waiting. 

As I have been thinking about costume in performances, I came across this image of Koh, which I am personally very much attracted to. Also the attire which can be viewed as a sexualized version of a salary man becomes rather interesting to be carried out in this project. The costume, or I should say, as an attempt to embody Koh (cosplay maybe?) rings pleasantly with the context of the building as well. 

The image on the right above is my sketch in portraying the character of the performance. 


I decided to include another extra element of the calla lily, which Koh was pictured to be intimately having a relationship with in the above pictures. 

Calla lily which is also physically quite sexual becomes a romantic companion for the performance. It can be turned into a from of offering or injecting some sort of narrative to the performance; almost like a (salary) man waiting for a date which has yet to arrive (or never will).

At the same time, I also feel that death becomes quite strongly apparent in this work. Waiting for death, or waiting for existence. Waiting for Godot. I describe this work to be rather Godotesque, but on a rather romantic and optimistic twist.  

Lastly, as I was preparing the works on paper, I mistakenly came across another forms of presentation which is quite intriguing. And more active, I suppose. 

The LED highlights the sentimental value of the work, and I really enjoy the ghostly (or guardian angel-y) feeling of the paper works. However, I think the works will not be in this form due to budget and production's timeframe.   

I think week 8 will still be about this work which I will record more development of the work installed on site.