Lovers: corporeal projections and ocular demands

Barber, Stephen (2017) Lovers: corporeal projections and ocular demands. In: Eckersall, Peter , Scheer, Edward and Shintarō, Fujii, (eds.) The Dumb Type reader. Copenhagen, Denmark : Museum Tusculanum Press. pp. 191-202. (In between states) ISBN 9788763544931


This essay focuses on Lovers (1994) the first - and last - moving-image installation work of the Japanese artist and director of the dumb type performance group, Teiji Furuhashi, viewed within the framework of the histories of immersive moving-image projection environments involving human figures in performative movement. Lovers possesses an intricate rapport with previous experiments in immersive moving-image projection in relation to performance and choreography, and in turn illuminates the intimate interweaving of performance with other media, such as film and digital forms. Alongside Lovers, this essay will examine a film-projection experiment, The Birth, shown at the Japan World Exposition festival in Osaka (the event now better known as ‘Expo '70’) involving the work of the ankoku butoh choreographer, Tatsumi Hijikata. The final part of this essay will extend back to 1893 - one hundred and one years before the first installation of Lovers - to examine the originating event for all projections of moving-images within specially-designed, enclosed spatial environments: the project of the English moving-image innovator, Eadweard Muybridge, to create the first-ever space for the projection of moving-images to public audiences, through the construction of his Zoopraxographical Hall at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago - a project which, like Lovers, shows images of naked human figures, walking, in sequential movement, and in intersections and encounters. The aim of this essay is not to situate Lovers within a static lineage of immersive moving-image projections, but rather to show that the preoccupations driving such experiments form enduring and transformational ones, that manifest themselves in very distinctive and dynamic ways that can challenge and overturn their audiences' preconceptions of the corporeal and ocular dimensions of performance.

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