Friday, November 23, 2007

Late Interview with Michikazu Matsune

YS: How was M+S started? [M+S is the brand name of Matsune & Subal]

Mich: How it started? Well, we have been collaborating since 2004, and have been working in the interface of different formats within and outside the life performance field. I quite like this understanding of live performance because it means a lot of our work includes the audience as part of our performance and installation. And choreography.

YS: When we were in Singapore you told me you had done one particular performance involving the Merlion.

Mich: Oh yeah, this one? We’ve done the shooting of one project which is called 1 Hour Standing for which we make a kind of still image of ourselves standing in front of the Merlion in Singapore, and in front of significant, famous tourist monuments, buildings in different capitals. And we stand there for one hour. The medium’s video. The video runs and it documents us as a photograph, but everyone else in the surrounding background is moving. And we are in this way a confusion of media, as photography and video and performance of it.

Is it clear? And we are gathering this in 24 capitals for one presentation. Which will make one point where you are seeing 24 different capitals and also seeing 24 hours in the world.

We’re going to do it in Hanoi. That’s why we stay a couple days longer here.

YS: What other projects are you especially proud of?

Mich: I think kind of… future is open. After participating in Flying Circus Project: Travelogue, I definitely want to keep my future open. And let some time pass before deciding for what is the next step.

YS: What moments of FCP do you remember especially?

Mich: Ah… I liked the sentence, one sentence which Chee Wai said, about the monk and the music… was it the gong or cup or something which he was hitting? And Chee Wai mentioned, “Ah, so you’re making music.” And he answered, “No, I’m just hitting the cup. The cup is making sound.” I like this sentence.

[Chee Wai’s original story involved him hearing a monk hitting a cup and telling the monk, “Hey, you made a nice sound.” The monk then replied, “I didn’t make a sound. The cup made the sound.”

And what is… There are so many things, so many other things really. Um. Let me think about the concrete example. I enjoyed how Caden mentioned the mistrust in our performance, in our work. I think our work is really about touching both positive side of the context but also the negative side of the context. Whatever the context could be.

Is it clear?

[Mich refers to the performance, Made in Vietnam which M+S presented at Superintense Saigon. To “celebrate” Vietnamese culture, Mich and David had paid a Vietnamese street hawker to push her cart into the gallery space and serve the audience food, with a free flow of Vietnamese beer available. Postcards of Vietnamese scenes, signed by the artists, lined the walls, while sound recordings were played of the artists reciting standard phrases in Vietnamese and the volunteers translating these phrases into English. The artists themselves wore clothes made in Vietnam, bought at the nearby market. In a discussion that evening, Caden had highlighted the violence of this performance as a criticism of the FCP artists’ own presence in Vietnam.]

YS: Anything else that the readers of the blog should know?

Mich: I just think for me, personally, being an Asian artist living in Vienna, living in a European art context, I really enjoyed being in Asia, meeting a lot of Asian artists and especially working in Asia. Because it is very different doing this, as somebody said it, in Brussels. It would be a completely different context. So the importance and context of physically, geographically being here in Saigon and Singapore meant something. Meant a lot.

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