Accepted paper:

Collaborative Fictions: Re-inventing Rituals of Making in Landscape and Time


Katherine Mezur (University of California, Berkeley)

Paper short abstract:

The paper uses a specific performance work by the collective Nibroll and their collaboration with local citizens in creating a festival cart as a means to discuss the relationship between a sense of nostalgia for "countryside" and a contemporary "body with no sense of direction."

Paper long abstract:

Mezur will focus on how participation creates a sense of belonging to a place and time that may be from a real or fictional past. In this example, the artists and the participants and spectators share the fiction as real in their mutually imagined event. The performance work by the collective Nibroll, was a performed re-invention of a town's matsuri festival for its special town shrine. The festive carts and the shrine itself had fallen into total disintegration due to the poor economic conditions and the younger generation leaving the town. Over several weeks, Nibroll and the citizens invented a new festival that still honored their village spirits and ancestors, but could be managed with little funding and everyone involved. Instead of rebuilding the festival wagons, they used cars and bicycles, they built a makeshift shrine from donated objects and on the festival day, created a parade, performances, ceremonies, and food sharing stalls. This festival performance centered on the energy of honoring the place and its ancestors and the concept of ritual and offering. This presentation juxtaposes the sense of nostalgia and longing for the fictional "country" side place/time on one hand and on the other the re-invention of new narratives of the pasts from collective voices: the visiting artists, the town citizens, and the Art/Place visitors. The key words of Nibroll provoke and compliment this presentation: "body with no sense of direction" and the emphasis was to use a "place that is not a theatre."

panel S4a_05
Materiality and Processes in Japanese Art Festivals