EXERCISES, 2014

Hong Kong 2015
Mizuma Art Gallery
Video/Film
Single channel video, 8 min. 48 sec.
Japan may boast of being a developed nation with a relatively small gap between rich and poor, no war, and abundant resources – yet it is also known as one of the world’s most stressful societies. There are several reasons for this, but one may be the sense of their own national character which has been fostered amongst Japanese people since the beginning of modern times. This artwork takes up the “radio calisthenics” exercises which are practiced endlessly in public schools, which anyone can do, and which remain popular even in contemporary Japan. This video work depicts the relief of “Personal Emotional Troubles / Stress” through “Exercise” in the form of “Mind Exercises” (a fictional form of calisthenics in parody of the radio version), which a group of women perform under an exercise instructor. Participation in radio calisthenics, which have an 80-year history from their very beginnings, has become almost a compulsory activity for primary school students in Japan. The act of exercising together in perfectly ordered formation, studied from childhood onwards, is perhaps one way to capture the nature of Japanese society or symbolize its education philosophy. It is perhaps one thing that has contributed to contemporary Japanese people’s ever-increasing mental stress. However, there is scientific data to show that “physical activity” may also exert a beneficial stimulus on the human brain, and may lead to improvements in brain activity. So, what viewers of this work are being shown is “exercise”’s particular trait of possessing polar-opposite positive and negative impressions. In the near future, the “moya-moya stick” exercise tool that appears within the work itself embodying the heart’s interior will be upgraded, and both this physical object and the video work will be exhibited together as an installation.