Cinema Before Cinema

The still from the silent film “The Milk Story” refers to a series of controversial news reported by Japanese media, regarding the Fukushima nuclear accident of March 2011.
Kaisho / The Milk Story

Cinema before Cinema is a project that aims to explore the dialogue between still and moving images along with improvised sound and music. The project started in Tokyo, and developed throughout several collaborations with improvise musicians. The inspiration of the performance comes from the desire to amplify the scientific and artistic impulse behind sequence photography and masters such as Eadweard Muybridge and E.J. Marey, whose work led to the birth of silent cinema. As the project started in Japan, the undertaking of the presentation refers as well to the Japanese tradition of benshi, who during silent films epoch, stood to the side of the movie screen and narrated the story to the audience. As a contemporary form of “silent cinema”, the project explores different tales, with the aim to pursue an intimate and innovative vision.

After the tragic events of the Tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011, as an artistic response in collaboration with Japanese artists, we have focused first on Water, as the primal source of life and energy, but as well as a symbol of the overwhelming power of Nature. With the collaboration of Yoshihiko Hogyoku, a poet from the area of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, we have also been addressing the theme of lost and personal identity.

Kaisho / Tokyo Wonder Site 2012
William Tokuhisa performing a Tuvan sutra and reading a sound-poetry related to radiation monitoring in Tokyo

We have worked as well on the text of modern Japanese writers such as Abe Kobo’s The Box Man and an extensive project inspired by the play Nettaiju (Tropical Tree) by Yukio Mishima. Cinema before Cinema has been presented at significant festivals such as Paris, Centre Pompidou – Hors Pistes Festival in 2011 and Tokyo Wonder Site Experimental Festival in 2012.

The Box Man / Tokyo Wonder Site – Experimental festival 2012
Installation view with cardboard boxes and improvised music.