“The Music of Baths”
Takara-yu (Tokyo, Japan)
in Art Access Adachi 2011 “Oto-machi Senju no En”
Text / Chisai Fujita (art writer / journalist)
In March, I saw an interesting live performance. Musician Makoto Nomura (野村誠) and the performers were in a “Sento”, they strike hot water or saved it in a bucket, making sounds in a public bath, and sang a song in there. Until now, Nomura held a concert in a swimming pool. Singing together with the performers who make sounds, it amuses us.
Now, I explain a Japanese culture “Sento (銭湯)”. “Sento” is a public bath where people take a bath with strangers. Unlike the spa at resort places, Japanese people use it every day. So, Musician Makoto Nomura and the performers had a live at a “Sento”. This live title is “furo” fessional “oke”stra. Not “pro”fessional, “furo (風呂)” is alike pronunciation to "pro" and “furo” means a bath. Not "orchestra", “oke (桶)” is alike pronunciation to "orche". “Oke” means a bathtub. Japanese use words which mean different but the same pronunciation, which is called Dajare (駄洒落/pun). The pun is an intellectual play. Nomura makes songs using “pun” words. The performers sing them with striking or scooping up the hot water by hand.
What is performance art?
What is performing music?
What is the art explaining Japanese culture?
Is the art required local limitation?
The audience = (almost all) Japanese people can understand the Japanese song with dajare and enjoy it as a Japanese culture. Is it ordinary? Is it a domestic art? Japanese people supply art and consume it by ourselves, it may be satisfactory. Although the Japanese art aims at the Western level, it still looks partial.
Where should it go from now on?
By the way, the performance was pleasant. It wasn´t only a body performance, it had also elements of interactive art or media art. When the Japanese art work jumps out from Japan to the world, they use Japanese original materials. I think that Japanese art is introduced to the world (global art scene) by using its unique culture. Maybe Nomura is also considered as one of them.
(art writer / journalist)
Born in 1974, Live in Tokyo Japan.