EUGENE KANGAWA is born in 1989 in America.
All his activities start from the place far from the museum.
KANGAWA’s work evocatively addresses a range of topics: the fundamental power of humanity; the restructuring of history; an alternative modernity and crafts an intricate and comprehensive portrait of the world we live in.
For instance, in “After the War”, a series of works based on website which was started in 2011, KANGAWA presented a comprehensive overview of the world. “Social Script” potentially imminent reality is speculated through self-examination and hope.
Started from “somewhere,somebody become a star.” (2011), in which he constitute a room inspired by the still pictures of the deceased whom he had no prior knowledge of, his consecutive works portray the world no one would be able to find. “from the future” (2011-12) shows a two opposite image in Fukushima and Phnom Penh, “iEmmigrant” (2014) captures a semi-illusionary world. “SANSUI” (2015) presents the image of mountain ascetic worship which once existed, and “Mr Tagi’s Room” and “Mr. Tagi’s Dream” reconstruct a fictitious history of sports, written by a fictional sports scientist.
Whilst KANGAWA’s work and the themes it grapples with are ostensibly complex and dynamic, it is important to remember that at their heart lays a conceptual work and really minimal and sometimes innocent script that guides the work through its entirety.
“After the War”, an ongoing project started from 2011, is a perpetual video work. This piece which collects “war-related videos that happened in the past on today's date” and plays them silently in an endless loop would be described as an "on going comprehensive list of human history; hoever, it goes beyond collecting past footage. Approximately 1,000 pieces of footage have been already collected, but now it is left the artist’s hands and “new footage related to war” is gathered by the contributors in the all over the world.
Thus, this piece should not be viewed as simply a piece of video art but as an ongoing archive which can be continually updated; extending way into the future and beyond the lifetime of the artist himself.
What makes this piece distinctive is not its video technique, but the system which will empowers “After the War” to continue eternally developed by the artist. Likewise, this ‘eternalness’ does not only mean practical system. This piece is charged with a contemplative Zen riddle like question that queries about the impossibility to be an ‘After the war’. Alike an absurd system within this piece that will keep swelling everyday as far as human beings are on the earth, the concept of war will keep changing correspondingly, and the number of footages will keep increasing. This piece visualizes these facts.
The KANGAWA’s initial choice of the medium of this piece empowered “After the War” to convert itself into a variety of mode.
Recently, these digital data including non-renowned videos such as movies filmed by civilian’s smartphone on online video databases such as Youtube and Vine are converted into analog films by the artist.
※ 1 Ironically, as this work uses found footage from a variety of internet sources it would contradict copyright laws to display the original work in a museum. Instead it is possible to observe the original work on personal devices, at private establishments(“In room”) or even projected onto the side of buildings like a graffiti. This work does not own any of the found footage, however Japanese lawyer legally assures its originality. Another method being employed to avoid copyright laws is to show the work at a very fast pace, so that individual elements cannot be easily identified.
KANGAWA’s dynamism glimpsed in “Social Script” which will be explained in the following section, and his ephemeral installations at private gallery reflects the critical issues; the problems in informational society brought by Contemporary Diary or mega broadband, the matter of archives and substance, and unnecessity of audience.
In “Social Script”, an ongoing project begun in 2011, is a poetic rendering of a future KANGAWA feels compelled to speculate. Built of a number of independent, localized narratives, KANGAWA’s scripts paints an emotive picture of a potentially imminent reality on a tabula rasa. This practice is viewed by many as occupying a similar thematic vein to the work of futurologist, Alvin Toffler; however its stylistic approach veers in a distinct direction.
These narrative speculations are addressed an extensive range of social domains ー from urban planning, industrial societies, transport, AI, and education. A result of this phenomenal range, “Social Script” has been met with considerable demand from both individuals and global companies.
(※In response to the volume of demand, and in an attempt to further realize his experiment, KANGAWA and his partners established the firm Object of Null, Inc. (ON). It has achieved prominence as a leading ‘company’ in Japan. For KANGAWA, this firm is might be a part of his script…)
Whilst it was never a primary intention of the work, one cannot ignore the “substantive” and “considerable” demand that has met “Social Script”. Perhaps this is a wider societal reflection of KANGAWA’s own hope: that with a unified effort “we can change the world”.
“from the future” was produced from 2011 to 2012.
KANGAWA began this work by finding a man from overseas with no prior knowledge of the series of event in Fukushima. He proceeded to travel with this man to the affected area. He provided the man with a camera and laptop with which to document the travels. Whilst in Fukushima, KANGAWA asked the man to write a story and to imagine a chain of events that could have possibly caused the surrounding destruction, and to then take pictures to corroborate said story.
The movie footage, so serene that it is like a still photo, is combined with an imaginary story in broken English. This creates beautifully aesthetic imagery, devoid of the politically charged content from which it was originally derived.
In 2014, “from the Future” (2011-12) and “After the War” (2011) – were combined. This was then fused with some pieces of music by legendary modern musician Terry Riley who empathized with both artworks.
Also, KANGAWA’s series of minimal footages are acclaimed and led to an invitation to participate in a 2013 project at London’s Serpentine Gallery.
Besides these pieces, KANGAWA’s artworks are gaining attention.
”iEmigrant”(2014) is a footage that KANGAWA tried to explore foreigner’s idiosyncratic and fantastical world by asking them about the place which reminds them most of their homeland. “iEmmigrant” might be the first art piece using iPhone6 in the world.
In “SANSUI”, KANGAWA depicts a man’s sight who determined the mythical pilgrimage route of Tohoku Region of Japan which may have once existed.
KANGAWA films the brutal midwinter mountains, snow mountain, whirling rivers, breathtaking waterfalls, immense forests, expansive earth and endless sky by the super-resolution sensor, and it gives viewers a tranquil and contemplative experience in outstanding resolution.
Throughout “Mr.Tagi’s Room” & “Mr.Tagi’s Dream”, he conducted research into the history of sports with academic societies, and then he produced a fictitious history of sport, as well as fictional protagonist, a sports scientist, “Mr. Tagi”. “Mr Tagi’s Room” is a theatrical installation which offers viewers the opportunity to ‘peek’ into Tagi’s innermost sanctum. “Mr Tagi’s Dream” takes a fictional, collagistic approach to documentary film making.
Editing together disparate fragments of sports, KANGAWA has created a set of ‘imaginary Sports’ that Mr. Tagi dreamed. Despite their focus on imaginary sports and fictional persons, these works are scrupulously rooted in a coherent intellectual system. This series of work will recall the viewers a range of keywords ー Origin of Accidentalness ー Climate, Time, Domain, Exchange ー Aggregation, Competition, Cooperation, Disassociation ー Aesthetic, Gender ーSystem, America, Bigness.
This is a miracle story, but the “tool” came out from this series of work was employed as an educational material by education institutions and became a part of the curriculum in many element school and international school, for real.
Likewise, the other designs come out within KANGAWA’s artworks have yielded demands.
The design team is now appreciated enough to establish independent department.
As seen above, KANGAWA creates a compelling pieces which depict the alternative modernity.
Aside from his physical pieces, numerous projects has been developed originated from the artist. This fact is also distinctive characteristics of KANGAWA.
In the case of “After the War”, the system was initially incorporated, but “Social Script” and ON are subsequent results.
However, what is noticeable is that all of these practices are part of KANGAWA’s artwork and indicate there is a possibility to redefine the definition of contemporary art. These projects can be described as an 〈actual movie〉deprived from the scripts.
Many consider his activity as occupying a similar thematic vein to the work of futurologist or situationists, however its stylistic approach veers in a distinct direction. His approach traces the lineage of the genuine conceptual artist.
At ON MANAGEMENT we believe that this, as with so much of what KANGAWA does, is truly rare.
Text by ON & ON MANAGEMENT
ON,Inc.(Object of Null,Inc.)
ON is a firm which assumes the roles of translator and facilitator, realizing the goals laid out in “Social Script”. We, a parter of KANGAWA, have been achieving results. Through his Script Series we have involved ourself in a wide variety of domains; including, urban planning, industrial societies, transport, AI, and education. A result of this phenomenal range, “Social Script” has been met with considerable demand from both individuals and global companies.
This experimental activity which had ignored any considerations, is now recognized by the society and then we and KANGAWA established ON in order for responding to the volume of demand. What KANGAWA is engaged in is not ostensible trade. He looks into the future and we sympathized with his endeavor and continue to support it.