Murakami Motif Map

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I’ve finished working on a screen printed text piece related to Japanese author Haruki Murakami that started out as a highly complex digital interactive and ended up with all the technology removed, but the interactivity still in place. I was given a Murakami story called ‘Sleep’ to adapt and interpret and became interested in how certain themes crop up in most of his work and how they might combine to form a kind of Murakami genome of motifs. The dominant motifs through which Murakami conveys his idiosyncratic version of Japanese surrealism seem to consists of: cooking, drinking beer, cars and driving, lethargy and ennui, animals (usually but not exclusively cats), awkward sex, and extreme weather events. I identified examples of these in Sleep and made a 100×150 cm inkjet of the entire English translation of the story over an image of my own with the motifs pulled out in larger type size. On top of this I screened the original Japanese text reversed out of black in thermochromic ink. This ink is heat sensitive and clears to transparent at 27C – just right for human touch. The idea is that by placing your hands or arms on the table you can make the Japanese disappear, revealing the motifs beneath. I am trying to say something about how you have to step back from a text if you want to examine its meta content or overarching themes. Less technology meant more direct tangible and social interaction in this case.


About johnfass

bringing you curiosities, rarities and marvels wherever we find them

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