Design And Performance Lab

(Moveable World)


rehearsal with Katsura Isobe at Mixed Reality Lab, Keio UJniversity (c) DAP Lab

Further Writings: Birringer Blog


UKIYO TOKYO LAB December 3-13, 2009


We are back in London, after our 10 day residency in Japan. I wish to thank everyone for their contributions to the lab experience UKIYO II in Tokyo, the creativity and hard work, and good spirit for much of the time, even if it wasn't always easy to involve all the artistic expertises of our groups at all times, and agree on all aspects of the research/presentations.

We wish to thank the University for hosting us (KDM hotel, and Prof. Adrian Cheok's KEIO _NUS CUTE Center / Mixed Reality Lab), and especially Yuikihiko for conducting much of the local organization -- surely not an easy task with us having to use multiple locations and travel around Tokyo. This was time consuming, but also allowed us rich experiences of other parts of Tokyo, and other aspects of Japanse culture and artistic activities. Thanks Yukihiko.

We appreciate meeting old friends and making new ones. thank you much, Kabayan, for the links [below] to the pictures from the May 09 London Workshop as well as from 12/12 at MIta Lab; these are important for our documentation, and of course we shall credit you. I look forward to the links to our documenters (Anne Laure, Katsura, Mich¸le, Paul), and the continuing blogs. it was good to meet you again, and to have time together for dinner, and at your studio, Kabayan & Ruby, and at the workshop withy Oikawa-san on Saturday. It was interesting to see your small studio & the setting where you worked with us in telematic performance. Thanks also to Gekitora for showing some of his ideas for choreographic animations, and the new character in Kimono and large sleeves. I am happy that we were able to overcome all scheduling issues and were able to met again (Inetdance and DAP Lab), bringing everyone together. The obstacles could be removed. Prof. Wakamatsu confimed in an email that there would be no problems with independent artists such as Inetdance and our collaboration, along with the meetings with researchers and other artists. He was probably in favor of expanding the collaborative tissue and also introducing an academic dimension (conference)- and this was of course intended from the beginning. We know that we need to be pragmatic and open: it was always an expectation of the British Council that such exchanges of knowledge (grant supported) are to the benefit of many people, and that we need to create new work, new knowledge transfer nodes, and new findings or applications that can be exhibited. We shall now spend the next 4 weeks evaluating these findings and the progress we made on design and performance for UKIYO II.

You saw that on Saturday we had a consummate workshop with Satoko Yahagi and her dancers, and the large Oikawa-san group, prepared by the more intimate workshop on Thursday at the Maison d'Artaud of Oikawa-san -- there we had workshop with the master Hironobu Oikawa, and with two dancers / dance students , Biyo Kikuchi and Kayoko Tokumitsu, as well as a late afternoon workshop with choreographer Yoko Higashino (of Baby Q Company); we were grateful to Yoko for her fantastic energy. We were also visited that afternoon by cultural anthropologist Misato Aruga, who is writing her dissertation on butoh founder Hijikata. On Saturday we met the whole Maison d'Artaud group of the Master, assisted especially by Yumi Sagaru and Jun Makime: they all danced and worked with us.

If you like to know the names of the dancers and the workshop structure, i can post them here too. We also were introduced to the dancer and producer Kagaya Sanae on Saturday afternoon, Kagaya told us she had worked in telematic dance and was interested in our work; On Thursday we were brought to the ICC by Fumi Hirota, after meeting the three representatives of Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media / YCAM (T A Shita and Rie Okada) during the Wednesday OPEN MEETING. You all have the conference schedule of Wednesday, if you had not saved it, i published it again here on our website .

At the ICC we had a meeting afterwards, in a tea house, where we also met Richi Owaki, a video artist and designer who showed us his recent work "Bodyslides". This was interesting, as we probably would have liked to meet more digital artists and musicians. We connected with the sound artist Jan Linton at the night after Kabayan" studio visit, and he sent us his CD "Listening to Insects on Dokanyama Hill". We are looking out for more interfaces with audio engineers and sound artists. I found a card by "screaming" band artist/vocalist Daisuke Tsuda (, but have no recollection when and where we met her. Maki Ueda's presentation was outstanding, i thought. At the ICC we were taken around the media arts exhibitions by Yukiko Shikata, one of the major digital arts curators in Japan. We spend a good amount of time examining the Himmelb(l)au exhibit, especially the interactive "Architecture of Clouds", and we marveled at the dense data works installed, all of them concerned wth "sensing the earth" (Mission G, Pact Systems, Pachube, doubleNegatives) and creating data searches/recombinations.

Over the first three days we worked with the graphics/mixed reality lab and computer engineers/designers Doros Polydorou, Eng Tat Khoo, and YongSoon Choi, who are researchers from Prof. Adrian Cheok's Mixed Reality Lab. On Tuesday we were joined by three further postgraduate researchers, Wang Xuan, Wei Jun, and Dilrukshi Aberyrathne. On the last afternoon/evening of the lab, we were visited by Um Yamada (choreographer) and Fumi Hirota (YCAM). We were briefly visited there by Professors Naohisa Ohta, and Naohite Okude, both from KMD (Keio Media Design), yet we did not meet anyone officially from the School or the Keio University Administration, and not really anyone from the University or other university postgraduate communities seemed to have been present at the Conference. If it had been advertised and invitations sent out, one could have easily filled a large lecture theatre, but perhaps it was all right, the conference program was too full and time keeping not efficient, we would have exhausted/angered our audiences, neverthleess such experiences with moderating/running a conference & numerous audio visual/networked presentations (with necessary breaks, coffee and refreshments needed) are valuable. On the whole, however, we had rich encounters with parts of the artistic world of contemporary Japan, and thanks to Katsura, we were also able to enjoy a fantastic evening in the theatre of Kabuki. thank you all, and have a good rest.

In the following pages, we shall discuss the research agendas of the following weeks, and the issues now emerging for us. The first conceptual post is from Doros Polydorou.



15. 12. 2009 Johannes Birringer


Further Writings:

Birringer Blog



This research project is funded by a PM12 Connect/British Council Grant and a grant by The Japan Foundation

dance tech network site of Ukiyo project


All photos (c) DAP-Lab





Project directors: Johannes Birringer & Michèle Danjoux

Brunel University, West London