20 years of kubikukuri

web-banner-sipfest-on-think-archipelagoSIPFest 2016 is the fifth performing arts bienalle held by Komunitas Salihara in Kompleks Komunitas Salihara, Jakarta. think archipelago is a proud media partner of the event which runs from 1 October 2016 onwards until early November. To see more of their programs, please click all the SIPFest 2016 banner found in think archipelago website.

Takuzo Kubikukuri in Butterfly Dream
Takuzo Kubikukuri dances with his neck hanging to a rope in Butterfly Dream.

In one of the most intense art performance in SIPFest 2016, the ARICA Theater Company draws an inspiration from a mundane cycle of life which conveys a universal message about a vivid impression of everyone’s life that often failed to be notice.

The way both performers deliver it was about the collaboration of two very distinctive styles and background. Tomoko Ando studied acting and built her career in theater.

In contrast, the male performer Takuzo Kubikukuri is reluctant to call himself and actor. Instead he is an actionist, a definition of his own preference.

Butterfly Dream, a theater from Japan by Arica Theater Company, performing in SIPFest, 15-16 October, Jakarta.
Butterfly Dream, a theater from Japan by ARICA Theater Company, performing in SIPFest, 15-16 October, Jakarta.

The main set, tools and choreography seems to exhibit a clear gesture of hanging an exasperated soul to death.

When asked whether the performance reflect a certain issue in the country of origin, director Yasuki Fujita, who is also the founder of the new group formed in 2001, made it clear that there is no intention to contemplate suicide, but on the contrary, his work displays a stronger sense for life, saying, “It is more lively, especially when you see someone dances like a butterfly.”

And that is exactly when the dance intensifies as Takuzo, in his disturbingly peaceful smile, had his body swayed with a neck hung to a rope, which was tied to a mechanical device with a pivot controlled at the other end by Tomoko.

Through a suspended moment, Takuzo showed his dance to the world, right before the dumbfounded audience, as their eyes were set to the swinging thin and old body, joyful as it seemed.

In this perplexed final part of the dance, his chin sat comfortably on a strap attached to a hanging rope while Nat King Cole’s Smile accompanied him to the end.

All it takes to be happy

When smile is used to hide an ache, as the song suggests, and one must keep trying to smile because that is what matters instead of crying, the audience gets to feel Takuzo’s smile at the face of pain.

And all the burden at the other end of the rope will get by, as Tomoko could not catch her breath, and then she stumbled over her own work of mechanism made to be inflict pain upon him.

Tomoko Ando and Takuzo Kubukukuri
Tokyo-based  Tomoko Ando (left) and Takuzo Kubikukuri (right) during an interview in SIPFest 2016. Despite stark differences in background, both intends to show interaction between humans.

Japan is among the countries with the highest suicide rate, the third below South Korea and Hungary.

It has on average 19.4 number of suicides per 100,000 people. 25,000 suicides were reported in Japan in 2014. That was roughly 70 per day. The vast majority were male.

Financial pressure among old citizens are often cited as the reason to opt for ending life. The inability to funnel frustrations or anger under the rule-oriented society is suspected by many as the particular reason for suicide among young population.

Tomoko Ando told that it crossed her mind that they might have reconstructed suicide gesture in their performance, intendedly or not, while Takuzo, when asked is there a reason why we should be happy in this life, said that he feels something nostaligic about happiness and sadness.

He has been dangerously practicing hanging himself for almost 20 years, starting in 1997 in his garden under the tree. His surname means hanging oneself.

He lives alone.


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