“After the War”, an ongoing project started from 2011, is derived form a minimal artwork, which collects “war-related videos that happened in the past on today's date” and plays them silently in an endless loop.
This piece that realizes a huge scale almost like “a comprehensive list of human history”, regardless of its digital nature, will makes people feel transcend the time standing on the this moment. However, it goes beyond collecting past footage.
What makes this work distinctive is not the video technique, but the fact that “the system and the cycle based on a simple website which will empowers ‘After the War’ to continue eternally” was developed by the artist. “After the War” is a perpetual video work and it will change its medium by encompassing the transformation of the concept of ‘WAR’ that changes correspondingly to the period.
This unique nature of this work became pronounced when the system of documentation left the artist’s hands and the advocates started to submit their own videos.
(As of 2014’s end, approximately 1,000 pieces of footage have been collected. The footage sent in by the advocates varies from many famous wars such as WW1 and WW2, as well other acts of violence such as 9.11. The reporting medium also varies greatly from national news to civilian smartphone and drone video footage. Needless to say, the definition of ‘war’ depends on the age, region, or the culture, and viewers will recognize that the concept of war keeps changing.
We assume the reason “After the War” could collect such an amount of footages is because this practice is artwork, and it has poetic characteristic.
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.
The circulation which realized by the system which allow this work to work eternally gives “After the War” as the characteristics of comprehensive list of human history.
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. “After the War” is “an archive of how the human history has repeated and changed” and evokes the viewers this issue poetically and the self-examination.
The KANGAWA’s initial choice of the medium of this piece empowered “After the War” to convert itself into a variety of mode.
That is, this piece can be minimal and gigantic simultaneously.
(This is not only talked about its medium. Needless to say, it is accessible from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.)
Original “After the War”(1) was created by EUGENE KANGAWA by himself in 2011. This piece collects “war-related videos that happened in the past on today's date” and plays them silently in an endless loop. The footages which varies from many famous wars to unrenowned conflicts are collected based on the simple rule, “date”. Even though its digital nature, this piece gives viewers an impression that they transcend the time and history. However, this work collect not only past materials, but also ongoing conflicts.
After the initial piece, the KANGAWA's spontaneous advocates created a website(2) which enables the public to submit their own videos and found clips. This system of documentation has now left the artist’s hands and is being spread across the globe by supporters. As a result, this web site in which approximately 1,000 videos are collected takes on a value as a historical material.
This process invokes a sort of collective intelligence alike wikipedia. Yet, the theme of this work that inquiries to each viewers “what is war” or “what defines war”, or the ambiguity of the definition of war put apart from the these databases. Within this piece, the nature of war which changes correspondingly to the time and countries is demonstrated. That is, this piece mirrors our current chaotic situation that is filled with violence.
After that, this piece gained new outlet beyond existing display and screen by projecting its footage on the public space.(3) Not unexpectedly, the size of screen is adjustable.(4)*1,2
After that, this piece gained new outlet beyond existing display and screen by projecting its footage on the public space.(3)
Not unexpectedly, the size of screen is adjustable.(4)*1,2
The digital nature of this work allows it to be gigantic installation and convert public space into an installation space by projecting its footage suddenly in a public place without being seen. It can turn the sides of buildings into screen.
(An improvisation performance(5) with the renowned contemporary musician Terry Riley, who empathized with “After the War” and praised it as “An extraordinary project”. This joint work is the one of these modes of projection.)
Furthermore, this footage can be viewed in a private space or a special installation “In room”*3 in which individual audience members can view “After the war” in a unique environment. (6) Obviously, they can view them via their smartphone.
Obviously, they can view them via their smartphone.
Recently, KANGAWA creates derived piece, “Today’s Film” in which these digital data including non-renowned videos are converted into analog films and encased in to frames accordingly to the dates.(7)
This work started from KANGAWA’s fetish have been playing a role as if it salvages human history.
In ‘August Room’, for instance, numerous number of frames containing all analog films from war-related videos that happened in August cover the whole walls and will give the audiences an impression as if it represents a comprehensive list of human history.
This project which started from the artist’s thought that “when all digital data can be accessed, this analog piece will firstly gain the raison d'etre”, is forming a “third archives” that swelling without being noticed.
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.
“In room” is the title of an installation in which individual audience members can view “After the war” in a unique environment. Inside the exhibition a small space will be accessible to one person at a time, who will be given a key with which to enter alone. Inside this space the key-holder will encounter a space that has completely different sense of time and space from the outside world.
“Today’s Film” is an art work which frames the films of “war-related videos that happened in the past on today's date” accordingly to the dates.
In this work, KANGAWA converts these digital data which are collected throughout one of his piece, “After the War”(2011-) into analog films using handmade film recorder, and then he frames each of them.
These photographic films include non-renowned videos filmed by civilians such as on YouTube, and Vine. Each of pieces are named based on the date and put into the frames.
In ‘August Room’, for instance, numerous number of frames encasing all analog films from war-related videos that happened in August cover the whole walls. This piece will give the audiences an impression as if it represents a comprehensive list of human history.
In this work, the fact that the concept of war will keep changing correspondingly to the period and is not conclusive will be visualized.
That is, the size of frames which contains war-related films keep increasing correspondingly to the number of footages.
Started from the artist’s thought that “when all digital data cannot be accessed, this analog piece will firstly gain the raison d'etre”, this work is forming a “third archives” that keep growing without being noticed.