Conference: Contemporary Interconnections

The International Conference Japan – Film – Theatre – Media Art – East and West: Contemporary Interconnections

The Idea

In the postwar period, Japanese performing arts and filmmaking underwent rapid and profound transformations. Following the era of accelerated modernisation, during which Japan had been quickly absorbing cultural influences and patterns imported from the West, a slew of innovative avant-garde theatre and film artists of the 1960s began revisiting and reexamining their own cultural backgrounds and legacies. This strong counter-reaction was also related to Japan’s postwar political landscape, as well as the country’s military dependence on the United States and the social turmoil that it bred. The prominent Japanese theatre and film innovations, developed over the course of the turbulent 1960s, became part of the worldwide cultural processes and have remained interrelated with their counterparts elsewhere, also in Poland, ever since. The conference builds upon this tradition of exploration and innovation, which often involved searching for roots and regenerations. It celebrates and examines the intersections of contemporary Japanese-Western theatre, film, and media art, including direct artistic collaborations and major impacts on both sides, as well as non-immediate influences and distant reverberations.

Dr. Jadwiga Rodowicz-Czechowska, Polish-Japanese Theatre Exchanges: Their Background and Results

The first production of a drama in Poland was staged in Warsaw in May 1980. Over a decade later, director Andrzej Wajda staged a production of Yukio Mishima’s Five Modern Nō Plays in Krakow. Designed by Krystyna Zachwatowicz, the costumes were probably the most manifest element of Japanese culture in Wajda’s interpretation. Such propensity for using different Japanese tropes without much relation to the source material can also be observed in some productions of the Gardzienice Theatre. Following the translation of some dramas into Polish, a handful of emerging directors took on producing them for the stage. Examples include Kaya Kołodziejczyk’s 2012 dance theatre piece Oh Nō – Izutsu, based on Zeami’s play and performed by Kołodziejczyk’s U/LOI collective, and the Agata Dyczko-directed adaptation of Suma Bay, based on five texts. Alongside these productions, original Polish dramas were being written and adapted for the stage in both Poland and Japan. This talk will trace and analyse different types of influences of classical forms of Japanese theatre on selected contemporary Polish productions.

Jadwiga Rodowicz-Czechowska

teaches at the National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw. She studied under Kanze Shizuo and Koyama Hiroshi. Between 1979-90, she was an actress and project co-leader with the Gardzienice Theatre. Her work as a diplomat and later Polish Ambassador to Japan brought her honours and recognition from both the Polish and Japanese governments. She has written extensively on Japanese theatre and translated dramas and Zeami’s treatises into Polish. She authored the first Polish plays (2009, 2012), later staged in Poland and Japan. The 2014 premiere of her Chinkon/Repose of Souls was attended by Their Majesties the Emperor and the Empress. She is also a theatre director.

Dr. Jakub Karpoluk, Nō Theatre Interconnected

Theatrical interconnections typically emanate from efforts of ensembles working beyond their home countries, the use of transcultural elements in stage productions, and the collaboration of artists hailing from different cultural contexts. Paradoxically, nowadays these approaches also apply to the highly conventional Japanese theatre. The last few decades saw the development of a number of transcultural and transnational shinsaku nō (newly written) projects, including Nekyia nō (staged in Tokyo and Epidaurus, Greece), Chinkon/Repose of Souls (by Jadwiga Rodowicz-Czechowska, staged in Poland and Japan), and the very recent project At Jacob’s Well, a collaboration of Diethard Leopold (Vienna) and the Tessenkai Nō Theatre from Tokyo. The sheer number of these undertakings and the willingness of Japanese artists to participate in them prove that what we are dealing with is a genuine artistic current, which pushes the boundaries of the genre and introduces new ingredients into its structure. The author will trace the origins and the general form of this particular type of performance.

Jakub Karpoluk teaches at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw and at the Polish--Japanese Academy of Information Technology. A Japan Foundation fellow at the Waseda University, Tokyo, he studied theatre at the Kanze, Kita and Shimogakari Hōshō schools, and co-directed, produced, and performed in plays in Poland and Japan, including at the Tessenkai Nō Theatre in Tokyo. He also curated many artistic projects in Krakow and Warsaw.

Prof. Beata Kubiak Ho-Chi, Mishima Yukio on Stage: The Phenomenon of Mishima’s Plays in Polish Theatre

Japanese plays rarely grace the stages of Polish theatres, with works by Mishima Yukio standing as a singular exception. Several of his one-act plays, the dramas Madame de Sade and Tropical Tree, and the theatrical adaptation of Patriotism have been performed on stages across Poland for several decades now (from the 1960s onwards). What is it about Mishima’s oeuvre that keeps Polish theatre artists coming back to it? Are they drawn by the yūgen (secret beauty) aesthetics and the transient, gentle sadness of aware? Or maybe it is the opposite and they found, in the works of the cosmopolitan artist, forms and themes common to the Western worldview? This talk will reflect on what theatre and drama meant to Mishima himself and where he drew his inspiration from, as well as examine his individual plays and their selected adaptations produced by Polish directors.

Beata Kubiak Ho-Chi

works at the Chair of Japanese Studies of the University of Warsaw. She has published extensively on a number of subjects, including Japanese literature, aesthetics, art, and performing arts, the works of Yukio Mishima, the bunraku puppet theatre, as well as human--animal relations in Japan. Her scientific interests include modern and contemporary Japanese literature, theatre, aesthetics, arts, and animal studies.

Dr. Iwaki Kyoko, The Delegated Performances of the Dead: Beyond the Haunted Footsteps of Terayama Shūji

‘Silent Apocalypse’ is the provocative term that Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi used to illustrate the current condition of Tokyo. Whether knowingly or not, in the wake of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear disaster of March 2011, many residents of the metropolis are now living a life suffused with death. That is, the silent, invisible, and toxic threats are eroding their collective consciousness with social and physical death-ridden fear. Needless to say, Japanese theatre, including its traditional style, has always functioned as an apparatus through which the living could meet the non-living. Tapping into this theatre history, contemporary theatre directors such as Takayama Akira and Murakawa Takuya began developing performances that specifically designate the dead as the protagonists amidst the expansion of the ‘Silent Apocalypse.’ Considering the ricocheting of ghostly voices that are also ubiquitous in Polish theatre, this talk will, firstly, locate the two directors’ dramaturgy in line with Terayama Shūji’s city plays (shigai-geki) and letter plays (shokan engeki); and, secondly, examine their recent works through the dramaturgical scope of what could be called the ‘“delegated performances” of the dead’ (Claire Bishop).

Iwaki Kyoko

is a JSPS post-doctoral researcher affiliated with the Waseda University in Tokyo. After obtaining her PhD in Theatre from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2017, she became a Visiting Scholar at the City University of New York’s Segal Center. A specialist in Japanese contemporary theatre and performance, she has published extensively on the topic. For the past 15 years, she has also worked as a theatre journalist, writing for the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

Nikodem Karolak, Transtextuality in Terayama Shūji’s Eurasian Theatre

As one of Japan’s premier avant-garde cinema and theatre innovators and the founder of the independent theatre ensemble Tenjō Sajiki, Terayama Shūji made considerable contributions to knocking down the barrier between stage and audience. Remembered as an uncompromising intellectual, unyielding workaholic, and a scandalmonger, he tirelessly reenvisaged Japanese traditions in the countercultural spirit. The artist constantly incorporated Western elements into his works: not only narrative references, but also theatre and film doctrines themselves, merging them with traditional Japanese culture, thus becoming one of the most important representatives of Eurasian theatre in 20th century Japan. This talk focuses on the most representative pieces of Terayama’s drama/theatre and argues that they exemplify what Gérard Genette defined as transtextuality, combining all of its variations: intertextuality, paratextuality, architextuality, metatextuality, and hypotextuality.

Nikodem Karolak is the Director of the Inlandimensions Festival, artist manager, film and theatre critic, Japanese translator, and curator of international events. He is a PhD candidate at the Waseda University, Tokyo and at the AMU, Poznań. At present, he works on the book devoted to the concept of intertextuality in Terayama Shūji’s art.

Prof. Paul Allain, Suzuki Tadashi: the ‘Japanese Grotowski’ Uncovered

In his 1982 article for Performing Arts Journal, William O. Beeman observed, rather generally, that Japanese theatre director Suzuki Tadashi has been ‘identified as a kind of “Japanese Grotowski” by some European writers.’ Suzuki himself rejected this comparison and there is limited evidence of meetings between the two, direct inspiration or other connections. Nevertheless, many affinities are evident, and there are quite concrete links with other directors and groups within the ‘Grotowski lineage’. This talk will introduce Suzuki’s practice and writings and analyse how this impacted not so much Jerzy Grotowski himself but rather Włodzimierz Staniewski and the Gardzienice Theatre and, later still, practitioners emerging from this group. As the author argues, theatre practice is naturally eclectic, and Western artists have long looked East. As a result, both traditional and contemporary Japanese performance has influenced contemporary European theatre, including in Poland, not least thanks to the iconoclastic figure of Suzuki with his innovative blending of the past with the present.

Paul Allain is a specialist in theatre and performance and Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK. He has published extensively on contemporary performance processes with a focus on Polish theatre as well as Japanese theatre director and innovator Suzuki Tadashi.

Henryk Lipszyc, Suzuki Tadashi and/at the Theatre Olympics

The main part of the presentation will be an English translation of an illuminating open conversation that the author held with Suzuki Tadashi at the 2016 Theatre Olympics in Wrocław. During their discussion, Suzuki – an acclaimed theatre innovator whose work can be situated alongside the achievements of the most prominent figures of contemporary theatre – talks about his relations with Polish theatre artists (Grotowski especially), passionately comments on the role that theatre plays in the globalization era, and explains the approach he employed in The Trojan Women, a production he first staged in 1974 and recently brought to Poland. Answering a question from the audience, the artist also explains why he chose theatre as his main medium. The dialogue is presented courtesy of the Grotowski Institute, which organised the 2016 Theatre Olympics.

Henryk Lipszyc is a specialist in Japanese studies and Japanese translator, who taught at the Collegium Civitas and the University of Warsaw. He published articles and essays on kabuki theatre and contemporary Japanese drama in Polish and Japanese periodicals. In 1991-96, he was the Polish Ambassador to Japan and was later recognised for his service by the Japanese government and the Polish President.

Przemysław Błaszczak, Aikido in Actor Training

Aikido is a traditional Japanese martial art devoid of competition. By perfecting the art, the aikidoka (aikido practitioner) is thus working on perfecting themselves. Traditionally, an aikido training session follows a pre-established scenario, including a preparation carried out together with others, a brief meditation to calm the practitioner’s body-mind, followed by the aiki-taiso, the traditional warmup, and finally the training itself. During the latter, the sensei (teacher) presents an attack technique and the trainees focus on perfecting it, swapping the roles of tori and uke (executioner and receiver). Because everyone knows what is going to happen, the focus shifts towards technique, precision, dynamic, and rhythm. This talk will present how the author translates his long-term aikido practice into theatre, especially with respect to actor training. The presentation demonstrates that the qualities present in martial arts training can be highly inspiring and nourishing for the actor’s craft.

Przemysław Błaszczak is an actor, director, and leader of the Kokyu Studio, associated with the Grotowski Institute in Wrocław. In 1996-99, he worked at the Song of the Goat Theatre, and in 2004 joined the Teatr ZAR. He is a licensed teacher of the actor training method developed by Theodoros Terzopoulos. Since 2005, he has been studying aikido with sensei Piotr Masztalerz (6th dan) and in 2011 became an apprentice to an expert teacher Juba Nour.

Dr. Katarzyna Pastuszak, Hijikata Tatsumi and Tadeusz Kantor: Building Bridges Between East and West in the 21st Century Transcultural Performative Practice

The talk aims to analyse sleected elements of the artistic practices of Hijikata Tatsumi and Tadeusz Kantor, and to draw lines of correspondence between them. These lines, as well as Hijikata’s deep interest in Western culture, have fed into the author’s own artistic project, Kantor_Traces: Collage (2015), featuring Japanese and Polish artists in the cast. Referring to Kantor’s legacy and using Hijikatian tools (‘notational butō’) in a critical manner, and with a proper discursive approach, have led the argument towards developing a kind of ‘rhizome-choreographic-strategy,’ which, as argued in the presentation, enables the bringing of Hijikata’s and Kantor’s legacy into the 21st century transcultural performative practice.

Katarzyna Pastuszak works as an academic at the University of Gdańsk and as a dancer and artistic director of the Amareya Theatre. Her doctoral dissertation, Hijikata Tatsumi’s Ankoku Butō: The Theatre of the Body-in-Crisis, was published in Polish in 2014. As a dance creator, she continues to develop artistic and academic projects aimed at building bridges between Japan and Europe.

Dr. Magdalena Zamorska, Intense Bodily Presence: Polish Butō Practitioners

The talk focus on the work of the first generation of Polish butō dancers, such as: Paweł Dudziński, Justyna Jan-Krukowska, Sylwia Hanff, Krzysztof Jerzak, the Amareya Theatre, the Maat Project Theatre, Aleksandra Capiga-Łochowicz, the TO-EN, and Irena Lipińska. The presentation will emphasise the transcultural potential of the genre, evident in the universality of its psychosomatic training and in its proneness to all types of hybridization. The argument will be based on a series of interviews with Polish artists, an experience of their performance, and, finally, participation in butō workshops with both Polish and Japanese artists. Particular attention will be devoted to the psychophysical approach which includes body-mind practices and ‘butō techniques.’ The analysis will lead to the conclusion that the essence of butō’s lies not in dance aesthetics, but the specific training attitude and practices.

Magdalena Zamorska works at the Institute of Cultural Studies of the University of Wrocław. She published a monograph on butō dance in Poland (2014), carried out research projects on contemporary dance, and curated dance residencies in Wrocław (2019). Her areas of research interest include: dance and other somatic practices, human and non-human movement, social choreography, and environmental issues in artistic practices.

Prof. Andō Kōhei, The Films of Terayama Shūji and Magical Realism

The talk will focus on the film output of Terayama Shūji, seen as an example of magical realism. Firstly, it will define magical realism as a style of artistic expression in which extraordinary or magical elements – such as intermingled time or the appearance of the dead – are fused with everyday reality. Secondly, it will argue that Terayama’s artistic expression of magical realism is strongly influenced by the cultural context of his birthplace. The presentation will also examine the magical realism in Terayama’s other works, including his poetry, radio dramas, and stage plays. Finally, the talk will highlight the magical realism in four of Terayama’s films: Pastoral: To Die in the Country (1974), The Eraser (1977), Grass Labyrinth (1983), and Farewell to the Ark (1984).

Andō Kōhei is Professor emeritus at the Waseda University in Tokyo and Programing Advisor for the Tokyo International Film Festival. In his youth he worked with Terayama Shūji. Renowned for his refined and creative expressivity as a filmmaker, his works have received numerous awards and are included in the collections of a number of major art museums.

Prof. Komatsu Hiroshi, Japaneseness as Seen in Kouta Films

While film is said to be an international language, it might be difficult to consider Japanese filmmaking a part of this concept up to a certain period. Was Japanese film a form of expression exclusive to Japan in the same way Japanese music and dance were? In this study, the possibility of film as a national art form will be examined through the lens of the surviving copy of the Gion kouta ehigasa trilogy, produced in Kyoto in 1930. Of the three kouta (ballad) film stories, the first exists in its complete form, the second is available only in fragments of less than ten minutes, while the third seems to have been lost in its entirety. The trilogy was enormously successful at the time of its release, but is now almost completely forgotten. However, the kouta song composed exclusively for the film and specific to Japan is still well-known, as is the dance performed in the film, which keeps reappearing on stage to this day.

Komatsu Hiroshi is a film historian and lecturer at the Waseda University, Tokyo. He was involved in the restoration of the European films from the Tomijiro Komiya Collection at the National Film Archive of Japan. Since 1980, he has published extensively on the history of film, particularly silent cinema. He also edited and translated the comprehensive L’Histoire générale du cinema by Georges Sadoul (12 volumes in the Japanese edition).

Prof. Alexander Zahlten, Phases of ‘Amateurism’ in Film from Japan

This talk will map the transition in Japan from an internationalist conception of ‘amateur’ film production from the late 1920s onward to an ‘autonomous’ model of non--corporate production and distribution in the 1970s. It will then follow its integration into a spectrum leading into commercial production in the 1980s. It will examine the lines of communication that distinguish each of these phases: international ‘amateur’ film competitions, domestic networks of exchange, and finally institutionalization. The talk also compares the ideals implicit in these forms of organization, ranging from cosmopolitanism to networks to professionalism. These shifts include a different model of history – for example in the mytho-epic 8mm films of Hara Masato in the 1970s – as much as the redefinition of networks themselves as a form of politics, as observable in the utopian charge the genre held for leftist critics such as Matsuda Masao.

Alexander Zahlten works at the Harvard University (USA) and was Program Director for the Nippon Connection Film Festival, the largest festival for film from Japan, from 2002 to 2010. His work centers on film and audiovisual culture in East Asia, with a focus on Japan, on which he has published extensively. Recently, he has touched on topics such as film’s transition from environment to ecology and ‘amateur’ film and media production.

Dr. Jasper Sharp, Revolting Bodies: Avant-garde Theatre, the Eroduction, and the Curious Case of Takechi Tetsuji

This presentation will be devoted to the relationship between underground and avant-garde theatre, and erotic cinema in Japan in the 1960s. It will focus on the case of Takechi Tetsuji, simultaneously seen as an outsider and a pioneer in the early formation of the market sector of independently-produced adult films intended for cinema exhibition then described as ‘eroductions’ (now known as ‘pink films’) that arose in the early years of the 1960s. During the post-war period, Takechi established a reputation as an iconoclast and a reforming force in the field of traditional kabuki theatre. His subsequent work in film, with provocative works such as the Tanizaki Jun’ichirō’s adaptation Daydream (1964) and the anti-American tract Black Snow (1965), caused controversies and in the latter case saw him prosecuted for obscenity. The talk shall discuss how such charges were provoked more by his films’ political content than their explicit portrayal of sexuality, and attempt to scrutinise the precise nature of Takechi’s politics more fully within the wider context of 1960s independent cinema in Japan.

Jasper Sharp is a UK-based film critic, author, filmmaker, and independent scholar. He co--founded the website Midnight Eye and authored several books on Japanese cinema. He is also the co-director, alongside Tim Grabham, of the award-winning documentary about plasmodial slime moulds, The Creeping Garden (2014). His doctoral thesis at the University of Sheffield was devoted to Japanese widescreen cinema.

Shiota Akihiko, Shiota on Shiota: How I Drew Young Female Characters in My Movies

Soon after Shiota began shooting movies, the so-called ‘youth films’ (seishun eiga) began to be widely conflated in Japan with the ‘coming-of-age film’ genre. The difference is that while a ‘youth film’ is essentially a story of boys and girls who have looked at grown-ups from the viewpoint of adults, a ‘coming-of-age film’ puts the emphasis solely on the teenagers’ perspective. As a result, the social ideas that ‘youth films’ often presupposed are not present in ‘coming-of-age films,’ in which the protagonists live in a world of chaos and uncertain future. It is from that perspective Shiota shot his movies, such as Moonlight Whispers (1999), Don’t Look Back (1999), Harmful Insect (2001), and Canary (2005). The director’s talk will provide an insight into his views on filmmaking, the acting method he implemented, as well as his personal artistic influences.

Shiota Akihiko is a film director, screenwriter, and cinematographer. His films received numerous awards in Japan and abroad. The director’s first major commercial effort, Yomigaeri (2003), was highly successful domestically. Canary (2005), inspired by the deadly 1995 Tokyo subway sarin attack, won the top prize at the Raindance Film Festival. The filmmaker’s most recent efforts include the erotic film Wet Woman in the Wind (2016) and The Farewell Song (2019).

Prof. Krzysztof Loska, Andrzej Wajda in Japan – Prince Myshkin and the Dybbuk

The study interrogates Andrzej Wajda’s 1994 film adaptation of The Idiot, which – like the stage version produced 17 years prior at the Stary Theatre in Krakow (Nastassya Filipovna) – provides an original reading of Dostoevsky’s acclaimed novel. Working on the adaptation, the Polish director drew inspiration primarily from his visits to the kabuki theatre, where he had the opportunity to observe Bandō Tamasaburō, a remarkable performer specialising in female roles (onnagata). A collection of extensive notes, taken by the director during his trip to Japan, provides insight into the influence that Japanese aesthetics had on Nastasia and sheds new light on Wajda’s Polish-Japanese film, somewhat underestimated by viewers and critics alike.

Krzysztof Loska is the Director of the Institute of Audiovisual Arts at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, the Vice-President of the Polish Society for Film and Media Studies, member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the bimonthly journal Ekrany, and the editor-in-chief of the biannual TransMissions: Journal of Film and Media Studies magazine. He has published extensively on media, popular culture, film theory, and Japanese cinema.

Prof. Marek Hendrykowski, A Few Observations on Kurosawa’s Rashōmon

A masterpiece of Japanese and world cinema, Kurosawa Akira’s Rashōmon (1950) responded to a number of concepts that animated filmmaking in mid-20th century and continues to inspire today. Rashōmon’s Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in Venice (1951) and Honorary Academy Award for ‘most outstanding foreign language film’ (1952) opened the door to Western culture for Japanese film art, and stood as evidence of the success it enjoyed across the globe. Rashōmon traced new ways and fields of exploration in film, and launched a new era of modern narration in the cinematic arts. This study reevaluates Kurosawa’s work as an innovative and transnational approach to world cinema. To interrogate Rashōmon is to examine a modern art form, which responds to the efforts of other filmmakers, hailing from both entertainment and high art circles.

Marek Hendrykowski is a film historian who works at the Institute of Film, Media, and Audiovisual Arts of the AMU. He is also the founder and senior editor of Images: The International Journal of European Film, Performing Arts and Audiovisual Communication (Poznań). A member of the Polish Filmmakers Association and the European Film Academy, he is a prolific author, writing on various aspects of film art and history.

Dr. Michał Bobrowski, The Work of Yamamura Kōji: Between Japanese Aesthetic Traditions and the European Avant-garde

Japanese animation is commonly associated with the broadly defined aesthetics of anime, which itself has been internationally acknowledged as a diverse cultural phenomenon, rich in inner genres and trends. On the margins of the Japanese animated film industry there functions a compelling, autonomous undercurrent, constituted by arthouse, experimental films from authors such as Wada Atsushi, Miyajima Ryotaro and, most importantly, Yamamura Kōji – undoubtedly the most acclaimed contemporary independent animator from Japan. The talk is dedicated to Yamamura’s offbeat masterpieces, such as Mt Head, Muybridge’s Strings, and “Parade” de Satie – creations of a connoisseur of European visual arts, live-action cinema, and classical music; an erudite influenced by both early 20th century Western modernism and his native artistic traditions (including kyōgen and jōruri theatres or folk shintō demonology). The goal of the presentation is to trace the artistic strategies of cultural accommodation and adaptation employed by the filmmaker.

Michał Bobrowski teaches at the Faculty of Humanities at the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin. In 2012, he authored a book on Kurosawa Akira. He is the programme director and co-founder of the StopTrik International Film Festival (Slovenia, Poland), dedicated to stop-motion animation. He has written extensively on classic Japanese, American, and East European cinema, as well as on animated film.

Dr. Michał Krawczak, Superperception: Ikeda Ryōji’s Artistic Experiments with Quantum Information

The presentation will examine the works of Ryōji Ikeda created over the last ten years, when he was focused primarily on the relation between art, science, and laboratory experiments. In 2014 and 2015, Ikeda was the artist-in-residence at the CERN – a key particle physics research centre. This experience was incorporated into his artistic strategies and practices used in the process of prototyping, experimenting, and designing audiovisual installations. In his projects, such as Superposition (2012), Supersymmetry (2014), micro/macro (2015), and X-verse (2018), Ikeda deals with our ways of understanding nature at the atomic scale, creating new somatic and cognitive levels of human and non-human perception. In his installations and performances, Ikeda is pushing the boundaries of culturally accepted parameters of ordinary human perception by using noise effects, blurs, power surges, and voltage swells between sound and image.

Michał Krawczak is the Deputy Director of the Institute of Theatre and Media Art and co--founder of the Humanities Art Technology Research Center (both at AMU). Researcher, designer, and curator of art and science projects. Co-creator of the interactive installation Post-Apocalypsis (2015), which brought him an award at the Prague Quadrennial. His main areas of research interest include media and performance art, ecology of sound, social robotics, artificial intelligence, and technological natures.

Dr. Patryk Lichota, Sound Poetry in Japanese Media Art

Sound poetry was an important element of early 20th century avant-garde art. Although today this tradition is preserved and continued only by a narrow group of artists, it played a significant role in the development of media art. It can be argued that by turning to text’s orality and its performativity, and by integration of speech and body into one instrument of expression, it constitutes the ontological core of new media and digital art. The talk will look at the phenomenon of the feedback loop between traditions of the first avant-garde’s sound poetry, the Fluxus movement, and contemporary Japanese artists, focusing on the work of Adachi Tomomi. The research will build upon Marshall McLuhan’s theory, Wolfgang Welsch’s concept of audiocentrism, and Walter Ong’s and Jacques Derrida’s reflections on literacy.

Patryk Lichota works at the Institute of Theatre and Media Art of the AMU and at the Arts Academy in Szczecin. He authored a monograph Traditions of Noise in Sound Art (in Polish, 2016). His research work covers virtual reality and telepresence, cyber-eschatology, sound art and sound design, and the theories of new media and video games.

Special Guests

  • Monika Blige (Deputy Director of the Grotowski Institute, Wrocław)
  • Maria Gostyńska (The Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre, Gdańsk)
  • Sebastian Krehl (The Nippon Connection International Film Festival, Frankfurt am Main)
  • Dr. Michał Oleszczyk (film critic and scholar, former Artistic Director of the Gdynia Film Festival)
  • Marcin Pieńkowski (Artistic Director of the New Horizons International Film Festival, Wrocław)
  • Agnieszka Smoczyńska (film and theatre director)

Companion Events

THEATRE: 10 October, 7-9:30 pm, Aikido in Actor Training workshop, led by Przemysław Błaszczak in Polish and English at the Apse Studio of the AMU in the Hanka Dormitory (at Aleja Niepodległości 26); free admission, limited spots available; for reservations, email:

The workshop leader will introduce basic aikido exercises and share his practical approach to translating elements of martial arts into actor training.

FILM: 11 October, 7-9:15 pm, screening of Canary (Kanaria, 2004) directed by Shiota Akihiko; 9:15-10 pm, Q&A session with the director; 10-12 pm, screening of Shiraishi Kazuya’s Dare to Stop Us (Tomerareru ka, oretachi wo, 2018); 12-1:20 am night screening of Shiota Akihiko’s Wet Woman in the Wind (+18) (Kaze ni nureta onna, 2016) at the Muza Cinema (Ulica Święty Marcin 30).

Canary is a fact-based drama about the lethal gas attack carried out by members of the Aum Shinrikyō cult in the Tokyo underground in March 1995. It is a moving story of two teenagers, who, abandoned by their families, meet after traumatic events.

Dare to Stop Us – is an eccentric introduction to Japanese erotic cinema depicting how it all looked like backstage. The story begins in 1969, when a young woman gets to Wakamatsu Kōji’s (one of the most important directors in the ‘pink film’ genre) circle.

Wet Woman in the Wind (+18) is an erotic film featuring an attractive playwright, who renounces relationships with women and moves to the country in search of solitude. His search for a quiet life is soon interrupted, however, by a provocative, unpredictable girl who stands in his way. The initial misunderstanding quickly turns into a dense erotic game played by very unusual rules. The situation gets complicated even further after an avant-garde theatre ensemble, managed by a character from the author’s past, shows up at his doorstep…

The Inlandimensions Festival

The conference is a part of the inaugural Inlandimensions Festival, organised in collaboration with three institutions: the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre (Gdańsk), the Adam Mickiewicz University (Poznań), and the Grotowski Institute (Wrocław). The festival aims to present the most notable instances of post-avant-garde and post--modern theatre performances, filmmaking, and experimental music, hailing from 20th century avant-garde traditions as well as off-stage or artistically independent movements mostly unknown to mainstream audiences in Europe. The festival’s main organiser is the Bridges Foundation, whose objectives include supporting, promoting, and showcasing Asian cultures in Poland.

The publication

Conference papers will be collected and published in an English-language volume.

The Conference Science Council

Prof. Paul Allain (University of Kent, Canterbury, UK), Prof. Ewa Guderian-Czaplińska (AMU, Poznań), Prof. Wojciech Otto (AMU, Poznań), Prof. Grzegorz Ziółkowski (AMU, Poznań), Nikodem Karolak (The Bridges Foundation)

The Conference Organizing Committee

Prof. Wojciech Otto, Prof. Grzegorz Ziółkowski, Dr. Adam Domalewski, Nikodem Karolak, Daniel Stachuła


Dr. Adam Domalewski: