Grizedale Arts

Seven Samurai

Monday 6 February '06
(from Seven Samurai)

email with Marcus Coates

Sent: 11 January 2006 12:13
To: adam@grizedale.orgMarcus9 Adam_portrait_broadcast
Subject: yapan

Hi Adam Not sure if you got my vague texts, thought there might be an urgency about getting some ideas to you.

Temping as a shaman: This would involve either going into peoples houses and performing rituals to help people, maybe even the ill or just the troubled, or perhaps a larger community based event where I could deal with a larger community problem or help multiple individuals. The community might already have someone or ceremonies to perform this sort of thing, do you know? I'm not sure quite what the rituals would be based on yet,whether they'd be taken from an existing unrelated culture like the Dakota tribe in North America or something based solely on my own experiences and history, perhaps something that exists in


already and I try to emulate. I'll keep thinking about it. let me know what you think, I'm quite scared already but thats good


Hi Marcus

Yes I was chasing you for update on both sides

What dates are you thinking about?

The latest at our end is the village are asking for us to find a way to communicate better with the photographers that come out to photograph them and (in particular) the paddy fields. Currently the photographers (50 per day!) trample the paddy walls and piss everywhere; the village derive no benefit and have no interaction with them.

We are thinking of making a web site to act as a channel of communication and to possibly exploit as an income generator. The address could be advertised at the sites and photographers encouraged to place their images on the site. The site would offer incentives (an exhibition/publication of work) and draw the photographers into a dialogue with the village through a number of artist projects. For example the juneaus are doing a series of songs with villagers that could express their feelings, (the 'no pissing song'). Other artists might develop multiples drawing on village and photographers material that could be sold through the site.

Other thoughts are that there could be some 'enhanced' photo opportunities advertised, photographers could perhaps ultimately pay for, but initially set up and done by artists, so historic re enactment, theatre on the paddies, whatever, Lali Chetwynd, Baranby all possible people for this.

Your shaman could be the web site shaman! one issue re the shaman is language, translation is a bit of a no no, it takes so long and ultimately is crap, only getting over the very basic meaning, humour, satire etc just don’t seem to work. So maybe some alternative form of language, bird call for example. The village people are pretty much 3rd world culture, poor and living a subsistence lifestyle, they are old and very trad but up for it as all Japanese people are. Someone told me that the more remote villages come polling day still vote for a local guy who died in the 1970's, a local hero politician/prime minister, who's greatest claim to fame was his plan to remove the mountain range that separated Tsumari (his home) from Tokyo and move it to the Japan sea to create a causeway to Korea, now that’s what I call a plan.

Other things about shaman type ideas, there seems to be a blind acceptance of weird stuff, people don’t seem to try to understand weirdness they just take it on. Many times I would ask 'what does that mean' to the response 'I don’t know' in a kind of why should I know way.

All animal stuff is considered cute, dressing up like an animal I expect would be similarly understood (you'll be posing constantly for photos doing heavy metal hand signs (no one knows why they do them or what they mean - (actually you must know lots of medieval hand signals from your time as a gothic painter, a new/old hand sign language would go down a storm), - the use of shaman type iconography is ubiquitous obviously, films, manga, adverts, computer games, samurai, sumo, noa, etc. I have lots of material to look through, actually one rather good book, a road trip by an artist round Japan basically a photo tour of anything weird it includes a full size concrete version of the Easter island heads and a museum of ‘animals having sex’ tableau’s with rather to human genitals, book has many weirdy shrines, shamanistic jiggery pokery.

re existing ceremonies, all villages have relatively unused Buddhist shrines often with stark play equipment in the garden, equally unused looking (no children left) ( in the shed of one down at heel shrine I saw a brand spanking new


900)! There are festivals, but no one really highlighted any of them while I was there, but they are sure to have them, mainly big processions with floats and semi naked men. Cults are big business, there are tax breaks for cults, there are very many new religions invented mostly derived from Zen Buddhism, the old bagwan rajneesh thing is big, it's changed its name, the Japanese make up the largest single nationality membership. Also an interesting cult that worships nature through art, the fastest growing cult in Japan, great newish building by I M Pei see they were the cult that bought the Assyrian relief that was found behind the coke machine in a minor British public school, they paid 8 million I think it was, check the site its special.

Maybe you should think about creating a new cult, introducing the internet/technology as magic might be good angle, the villagers will not be familiar and we will be setting up wireless so we can do some spooky stuff without wires, some sort of hi-tec lo-tec fusion might be good, you as connector with the wide world, but bear in mind the comedy potential might get a bit lost. Actually you could do that bird thing you do with the sound of the dial up, ok enough now

Be good to have a talk soon, we are trying to arrange as many people from the 7 to come up to Grizedale for the 30 31 Jan, are you back, is it possible


oh yes be scared

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