Flap-flop, Clap-clop: A Place Where Words Are Born

Arts Maebashi

poster for Flap-flop, Clap-clop: A Place Where Words Are Born

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Hikkuri-ko, gakkuri-ko – the sound of footsteps under the influence of a little alcohol? Rendered in the exhibition’s English title as “Flap-flop, Clap-clop,” this is how Sakutaro Hagiwara, in an unpublished manuscript, transcribed the sound and feel of a nighttime walk around the city.
We walk toward other places, encounter other people. Sometimes we have a purpose, sometimes we go where the wind blows. Because we cannot live alone, we turn to somebody else and speak words. Words are what connect us with other living people; to use words is also to live, to create, to weave, to sing, to think, to seek. Though we are never quite in touch with these words. The works of poets feature words that slip
through our fingers, words that have sloughed off their meanings, words that carry an unbearable weight - but they also depict the faintest tremors of the heart that could not be captured without words. To us, words themselves also constitute the other - all the more reason why we must take a close look at their appearance, at their character.
In recent times, the concerns of cultural anthropology - the formation of words tied to physical acts like speech and song, say, or regional writing and poetry - have borne on how we look at words. The technologies of printing and the internet radically transformed the character of words that once had a close connection with the body and with nature. Now, the increase in moving images is reaffirming to us the real variety of bodies and types of speech in existence.
Then there is the experience of crises such as war and natural disasters. While these cast doubt and criticism on language-centric reason and rationalism, they can also be seen as opportunities to refine our delicate understanding of words. Think of strategies to avoid being dispossessed of one’s language by confining it to a private sphere, or of radical experiments to wrench words from their molds and set them free. It is a characteristic of times of crisis that such efforts become more apparent. 
As we pass from the early period of internet democracy into the “post-truth” age, today’s words are confronted with issues of division and security. This exhibition has been planned with a view to drawing attention to what artists, who contemplate words through their own acute senses, feel and express - particularly in this so-called “post-truth” age. Welcome to a place where words come into being, born out of our existence and culture.

Artists: Tomomi Adachi, Ryoji Arai, Hideki Uragami, Gakyu Osawa, Chikutai Osawa, Yoko Ono, oblaat, Tatsuo Kawaguchi, On Kawara, Francesco Cangiullo, Katsue Kitazono, Shinpei Kusano, John Cage, Mieko Shiomi, Kurt Shiwitters, Keiko Shiraishi, Hiraku Suzuki, Tullio D’Albisola, Tristan Tzara, Kazuo Tomiya, TOLTA, Seiichi Niikuni, ni_ka, Kyojiro Hagiwara, Sakutaro Hagiwara,
Naoyo Fukuda, Yumi Fuzuki, Ben Vautier, George Maciunas, Maniackers Design, Filippo T. Marinetti, Futoshi Miyagi, MUTTONI, Fuyuki Yamakawa, Bocho Yamamura, Sofu Yokobori

[Related Events]
Today’s writing paper - Tour workshop by Tolta
Event Date: Oct. 22 (Sun) 14:00-
Meeting Place: 1F Information Desk, Arts Maebashi
Admission: Free
Capacity: 20
*Participants are asked to drink a wristwatch (or they may use the clock on a mobile phone).
*Suitable for high school students and above.
*Event in Japanese.
*Please see the official website for booking and further details.

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from October 20, 2017 to January 16, 2018
Closed on Wednesdays and Dec 28 to Jan 4.

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