photo: IKEDA Hiraku

About A Room of Memory

ArtistSHIOTA Chiharu + OKADA Toshiki
Material/ Techniquewindows, script
Copyright Notice© SHIOTA Chiharu
© OKADA Toshiki
Year of acquisition/ donation2009
DescriptionSHIOTA Chiharu: Born in Osaka, Japan in 1972. Lives and works in Berlin, Germany.
OKADA Toshiki: Born in Kanagawa, Japan in 1973. Lives and works in Kumamoto.

After she went to study at Hamburg University in 1996, Shiota Chiharu has been working based in Germany. She studied under Marina ABRAMOVIĆ and Rebecca HORN. She makes installations, drawings and performances to express her overflowing emotions and feelings that she is unable to wipe out. Playwright, novelist, and leader of Chelfitsch, Okada Toshiki has developed a theatrical style that mimics and exaggerates the tendency of some young Japanese people to deliberately use gestures and body language that does not match what they are saying. Works such as "Mansion" (Apartment; April, 2002) and "Sangatsu no Itsukakan" (Five Days in March; February, 2004), which won the 49th Kishida Kunio Drama Award, are occasionally compared to dance, and have in fact won acclaim from within the contemporary dance world. Okada’s ability to distil aspects of a contemporary Japanese society that defies generalization is also showcased in his novels. His "Watashitachi ni Yurusareta Tokubetsu na Jikan no Owari" (The End of the Special Time We Were Allowed) was awarded the 2nd Kenzaburo Oe Prize.

"About A Room of Memory" is a work of performance that Okada Toshiki made in response to Shiota Chiharu’s installation, "A Room of Memory". The relationship between the installation and the text, by which they complement and expand on each other, goes far beyond what you might think of as theatrical art direction. Here, the audience also plays a role as a third party, and the work "About A Room of Memory" is only completed when the audience confronts whatever happens to be performed on a given day. The story acted out is a kind of simple allegory that is narrated in the form of a multilayered monologue built on juxtapositions of, for example, the world on the inside and outside of the windows, me and you, the memories of people who lived in the past, names, periods and places.