Laurie Reports from Japan

Laurie says:

Finally a computer and time–but it’s a Japanese computer and I can’t find the exclamation point.

The trip to Japan was pleasant and easy. The air time (from Honolulu) was shorter then I remembered. Once I got to Narita I had to get me and the world’s largest and heaviest suitcase (filled with photography stuff) to the train and then through a long walk transfer to the subway. This haul had been my great fear and it went much better then I expected. Junko Fukazawa met me at the subway exit and we went to House for Women, a feminist non-profit space that also puts up travelling artists, writers, and scholars. It was a direct easy train trip to Yokohama and Nippon 2007.

The Women of Japan exhibition space was right at the front of the hall and was the first thing you would see when you came in. I was really happy with it. The larger digital images worked beautifully in the hall, and the life size photograph of Mari Kotani looked great. For a variety of reasons that were not the fault of the folks running the convention, hanging the exhibition was really hard. I arrive at 10am expecting to be able to set up, but set-up for me was delayed until 3pm, and because there were outside doors open for trucks there was no air conditioning. Have I mentioned that it was in the 90s and very humid?

Fortunately, I had amazing help. Between me, three Brits whose names I wish I had written down, Dawn Plaskon, Bill Humphries, and Cynthia Gonsalves, who worked with me until 9pm that night. We got all the work hung. The hardest part for me was that when I hang a show the layout on the wall is part of the art. I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to pull that part off, but when I came in to hang the text the next morning, I realized that it had all worked exactly the way I had hoped – something I had not been at all sure of the night before.

There was an appropriately costumed “Maids’ Cafe” across from the exhibition. I appreciated the commentary and the contrast between the real women and the fantasy. The Woman of Japan panel was great. I always learn so much from the models’ comments and this was no exception. Mari Kotani talked about Women of Japan in a science fiction context. (Here’s something she said in her introduction to the show: “Edison’s photography may seem phantasmagoric at first glance. Nonetheless, it unveils her own critique of civilization based upon Laurie’s own idea of reality. It also convinces us that it is her science fictional sensibility reflecting upon civilization that enabled her to represent the life of peripheral people in as real a manner as possible.” Junko Fukazawa talked about writing about photographers and models and her experience of being a model, and Becky Jennison told the story of Laurie the wet naked photograher shooting her photograph in the Karuma Onsen (local hot springs) pool.

Laurie's portrait of Rebecca Jennison in the hot springs pool

Now I’m staying in Kyoto at the guest house for Kyoto Seika University, and typing this on Becky’s computer. Thursday I give a talk at the Manga Museum and then Friday on to Okinawa.

As usual Japan is being wonderful, intense, and exhausting. More later.

Women of Japan, photography, Japan, travel, Nippon 2007, feminism, Body Impolitic