Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mieko Shiomi

Mieko Shiomi. Event for the Midday (In the Sunlight). 1963. Event Score. Ink on paper, 4 9/16 x 7″ (11.5 x 17.8 cm)
Mieko Shiomi. Event for the Midday (In the Sunlight). 1963. Event Score. Ink on paper, 4 9/16 x 7″ (11.5 x 17.8 cm)

Complementing Ono’s Grapefruit are a number of small event cards by Mieko Shiomi that elicit the spectator to perform mundane tasks of the mind and body. Asking participants to open and shut their eyes seven times at varying intervals over the course of seven minutes and then to look at their hands, Event for the Midday (In the Sunlight) is emblematic of the mundane nature of these events. Shiomi’s scores resonate with George Brecht’s concept of the Event Score, which he originated during John Cage’s proto-Fluxus experimental composition course at New York’s New School for Social Research in the late 1950s. Although Cage too performed at Sogetsu, Shiomi developed her concept for the Event Score outside of his tutelage and unaware of Brecht’s concurrent activities. It would be Maciunas’s intervention that would cause these two parallel practices to intersect in Fluxus compilations like the anthologies and Fluxkits

Shigeko Kubota. Letter to George Maciunas. 1964. Ink and collaged photograph on rice paper, 37 7/16 x 10 5/8″ (95 x 27 cm)
In the rightmost corner of the display hangs a conspicuous correspondence from Shigeko Kubota to Maciunas informing him of her decision to accept his invitation to join the Fluxus collective in New York in 1964. At first glance, this letter appears out of place in the context of the rest of the Fluxus scores, but as Kubota notes in her prose, this letter is staging what she considered the biggest performance of her life—leaving Tokyo to begin a new life in a foreign city. As this correspondence suggests, the dynamic programming at Sogetsu piqued Maciunas’s fascination with experimental Japanese artists and built bridges that conceptually and physically linked Fluxus artists across continents.
These Fluxus scores, among others, are on display in Tokyo: 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde, now through February 25, 2013.

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