Apprehending “environment” through a new relationship between people and objects
What is the theatre that is not directed to the audience?
Is it possible to create theater not only for the people watching at one moment in time? Can we use theater to present a world in which people and objects are completely equal, rather than trapped in their usual subservient relationship?
Devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, the city of Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture is now undergoing immense reconstruction to elevate the area as a countermeasure against future tsunami waves and restore the lifestyles that the residents lost. However, the use of local rocks to raise the land more than ten meters (33 feet) higher than it was before has led to severe damage on surrounding mountains.
Visiting the area in 2017 and witnessing the landscape that had been so rapidly and artificially changed, Toshiki Okada started to conceive a new work in which he would raise doubts about the so-called criteria or measures that humans use. As his collaborator, Okada welcomes Teppei Kaneuji, the artist who has expanded the possibilities of his practice by voraciously incorporating theatrical perspectives into his main methodology of collage. The resulting work also integrates the "EIZO Theater” that chelfitsch has developed since last year, attempting to take yet another approach to language and the body of the actors. What is the landscape that emerges when we deviate from anthropocentrism?
Eraser Mountain is the very latest in chelfitsch’s ongoing endeavors to update theater.
I hope to arrange the exhibition/performance titled “Eraser Forest” in a way that will help people understand even slightly at a sensory level and approach, a perspective that will encourage them to step outside a wholly anthropocentric view of the world.
Achieving this will mean making “Eraser Forest” a place offering an alternative connectedness to the usual master-servant relationship between people and objects, eg that of object being used by person as a tool / person using object as a tool; a setting showing that transformation of the relationship between objects and people.
This will include video as a means of smoothing out the differences and boundaries between people and objects, even possibly dissolving them entirely. Which will mean making ample use of the “EIZO-Theater” technique we have been working on since last year.
I hope to employ the format of theater to produce multiple different performances with diverse variations on the relationship between people and objects, including theater by people (actors) for people (spectators); theater by objects for people (spectators), theater by objects for objects, and theater by objects for somewhere.
A new relationship between humans and objects and space and time. The thoughts of people not yet born / who do not exist. Objects occupying systems and spaces formed out of lots of time and the ideas of many people, drawing and destroying random borders totally different from existing borders.
Finding the materials for a time machine at the DIY store. Utilizing the systems and spaces and techniques and concepts of theater (or chelfitsch), sculpture (or Kaneuji) or museum to make these and other, in a sense unimaginable things, reality, is what I’ll be attempting to do here.
If the theater version “Eraser Mountain” was like gazing from afar on a mountain that doesn’t exist or existed in the past, the museum version “Eraser Forest” will be like stepping right in there yourself. If you go down to the woods today you could be in for a big surprise...
Playwright/Director: Toshiki Okada
Scenography: Teppei Kaneuji