Berlin based Japanese duo of Shinichi Hirai and Emi Hirai have come to Lithuania to play two exclusive concerts in Kaunas and Vilnius for Made in Japan festival. We asked usaginingen a few questions.
You define the aim of usaginingen as “to surprise and capture the world through your own filter”. What is the main message that you try to transmit to your audience via your filter?
We perform with our self-build machines so that there is no place to feel this style of performance. We want audience to have their each different ways of enjoying by this special experience.
In 2011 usaginingen invented Ta-Co, which you describe as an analogue visual machine. What is the main principle of Ta-Co? How does it work?
The main principal is Emi for usaginingen. Because the Ta-co stands a very simple structure so that it depends on who plays with it.
The Visual machine Ta-Co has a camera, a kind of an animation table with layers, a rotating drum, water-basins, colored inks, beads, mirrors, prisms, hand-crafts, and lots of more.
Berlin is becoming a worldwide capital of creative people. Why Berlin? What are your thoughts?
We found many Berliners are from other states or countries. Which means different cultures, religions, life-style are mixed there. So People can tend to understand each other and are tolerant of a different view.
Could you name some audio or visual artists which influenced you as an artist?
There are many but we are influenced not only by the artists but also nature.
What are your favorite movies?
Momo (Michael Ende)
Dolls (Takeshi Kitano)
Alice (Jan Švankmajer)
And lots of more…
Would you agree that Japanese have some strange/kinky taste in almost all things (we mean not only artists like Namio Harukawa, Toshio Saeki, Keiti Ota, Daikichi Amano, Haruhiko Kawaguchi…)? What is the reason behind this in your opinion?
Japan is surrounded by the sea. And most of us don’t have strict religions. So we think that people could pursue their own individual expressions.
This spring you began Teshima Usaginingen Theater on Teshima island. Please tell us more about it. Who is performing there? Who is coming to performances? Why Teshima island?
Teshima island is a famous artistic island in Japan and visitors are from Europe, America and Asia as well as Japan. Because Setouchi islands’ area where Teshima is in, have many museums, art works and also an art triennale is held every three years.
To rent a house on the islands was quite hard. Because there are no real estates. We must visit there and ask it to local persons. We visited to several islands to find a house when we moved back in Japan. One men living on Teshima island found us a house first, so we live here now.
By the way we’d like to live closer to nature. That’s the most important reason why we live on the island now.
We are the only performer there so far.
Can you make a living from your performances and lectures/workshops? Do you have any other jobs apart from that?
Yes, we do. Sometimes we are asked to make graphic images, music videos by people who saw our performance. We are pleasure to make it since they leave it to our tastes.
What other Japanese musicians and artists could you recommend as worth checking?
Kazuhisa Uchihashi (musician)
Nobuyoshi Asai (dancer)
What can we expect from your performances in Lithuania?
Two Japanese will bring unique machines and atmosphere. Please come to fully enjoy it.