from You Saw Nothing: Sight. Digital Video, Post-3.11 Japan
We have discussed the realm of sight in relation to the four sides of the frame through Hands and Objects. In contrast, in this section we discuss the realm of sight in terms of the coalescence with the sociological state of the periphery. Structure is a manifestation of the stillness and positions the viewers in the liminality of the exterior and the interior of the house. In this section, we contemplate speed from this realm of sight of the stillness and the liminality.*
The stillness, a state incongruent with the forward movement of digital video, aesthetically emerges against speed, the forward movement of digital video, as the location of an examination of the growth that was accomplished through the impoverishment of the periphery. Tadao Furumaya analyses the embedded modernist and industrialist ideology in the concept of exterior–interior that the term ura-nihon manifests. He conceptualises the omote–ura-nihon relation as an ideology of industrialism that measures society by economic development. The realm of sight that Structure offers is a site of contemplation on the ideology of industrialism, from which we reconsider the identification of the nation within modernity. Furumaya further comments on a similarity between ura-nihon and the subjectivity of Japan constructed within modernity:
The semi-peripherality of ura-nihon is similar to the position of Japan within the structure of modernity: the in-between of the developed countries in the West and the underdeveloped countries in Asia.**
This research has positioned the artist-researcher in the political and economic spatial relation of the centre–periphery structure, and the cultural construction of the periphery against the centre within Japan. Furumaya’s point opens up a new dimension in the discussion of peripherality, namely Japan’s modernist construction of its subjectivity as semi-peripherality.***
The ideology of modernity and industrialism is the logic of elevation towards “the highest point of modernity” and hence acceleration in order to catch up with the fastest point. The stillness that Family Story manifests within this logic is counterposed against speed as the ideology of modernity and industrialism. Within speed as the ideology of modernity and industrialism, the stillness, a state incongruent with the forward movement of digital video, examines the apotheosis of growth from the position of the periphery. Furumaya goes on to say:
Omote-nihon within the structure of modernity is an industrialist European ideology. Within the structure, an aggregate of difference that had once existed in premodernity is reconfigured in the hierarchical order that the structure of modernity stipulates. Ura-nihon as an antithesis within the structure encompasses anti-rationalism, anti-Euro-Americanism, the philosophy of anti-efficiency, anti- industrialism, and peasantism.****
From this ideological perspective, Omote-nihon and ura-nihon can be rephrased by invoking speed and stillness as follows. Speed within the structure of modernity is an industrialist European ideology. Within the structure, an aggregate of difference that had once existed in premodernity is reconfigured in the hierarchical order that the structure of modernity stipulates. Stillness as an antithesis within the structure encompasses anti-rationalism, anti- Euro-Americanism, the philosophy of anti-efficiency, anti-industrialism, and peasantism.
Within these significations of speed and stillness, the semiotics of speed that Family Story manifests aesthetically manipulates the forward movement and its incongruent state of stillness. Family Story also positions the viewers in the in-between: between the exterior and the interior, speed and stillness, the forward movement and its incongruent state, in the realm of sight for contemplation. We have examined the stillness in Wind and Rain, A Seabird, and Shore, as presented in chapter 1, in which the viewers were positioned outside the automobile, a state of lack of motion, absence of speed, as a space of rationalised reflection. In contrast, Structure positions the viewers in the liminality of the exterior and the interior, in the in-between, and in the semi-peripherality of subjectivity, the space of reflection on the location of power, the ideology of modernity and industrialism.