Thursday, November 15, 2007


Here are some books that I've been involved with during the past year, and that I should have written about already long ago...


The first book was published almost exactly a year ago, "Inframince: Duchamp Boxed" by the graphic designer Yukimasa Matsuda. When you think of Duchamp, one of the first things that spring to mind are his boxes, so Matsuda had the rather fabulous idea of turning a number of Duchamp's works into little cubes! They are already punched out in the book, so all you have to do is take them out and fold them up. And since they are printed on both sides, you'll really ought to buy three copies of the book: one for the A-sides and one for the B-sides, and then a third copy to keep as an actual book.
The book also contains an essay about Duchamp as a designer by Chihiro Minato, who among many other things also was the curator for the Japanese pavilion at this years biennale in Venice. Few artists have been so thoroughly investigated as Duchamp, so it's quite hard to find anything new to say about him, but Minato-san does a good job, I think. And as this essay was translated into English by me (which is were I came in), the book is bilingual, even.


もう一つの本は工作舎のカメラマンだった岡田正人が30年も撮り続けた、世界的に有名なダンサーの田中泯の豪華な写真集、「田中泯 海やまのあひだ」。山や森や雪のなかで踊る泯さんのカラーの写真もいいけど、僕にとってはやっぱり、昔、東京のゴミ置き場だった夢の島の生ゴミの中で踊る、強烈なモノクロの写真のほうは一番インパクトが強いと思う。(写真の一部は工作者のホームページで見れるよ。)

The second book, Min Tanaka - Between Mountain and Sea, is a lavish volume of photographs of the world-famous Butoh dancer, Min Tanaka, taken by Kousakusha's (late) cameraman, Masato Okada, over a period of 30 years. The color shots of Min dancing among mountains, forests and the snow are fine, but to me, the most striking ones are the black and white shots taken among the garbage at Tokyo's old garbage dump, Yume no shima (which literally means "Dream Island"), where the lethal danger is quite apparent. Will he sink into the trash like quicksand, or will the flies get him first? Or so it seems. (There are some images and information here.) 
The book also contains a number of essays by Min Tanaka himself, Seigo Matsuoka, Kuniichi Uno, Kazue Kobata and others, mostly translated by me, so this is also a fully bilingual volume.
An exhibition of these photographs is currently shown at P.S.1 in New York, and Min will be dancing there this weekend. So if you happen to be in New York...

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