Aki Sasamoto Visiting Artist

Megan Watry

ARTH 3539


Aki Sasamoto Visiting Artist

            Aki Sasamoto calls herself “The Green Giant” and is a comedian, performer, and installation artist. She often finds that these three self defining characteristics co-exist when she is making art. Aki’s performance art deals a lot with relationships between people. Aki is fascinated with how people relate to each other and how they interact together. She is constantly putting herself in the shoes of another person or animal to look at relationships between people and their environments.

One of Aki’s pieces is a performance piece about how she believes that there are four kinds of people in the world. Aki draws the relationships between these four people on a white board and explains the differences between each of the different people to her audience. Aki then goes on to explain how each of the four categories of people interacts with each other. Aki’s view of how these four people relate is so close to reality, it becomes humorous. For example, the “Tink” ignores the “Norm” while the “Norm” admires the “Tink”. The four different categories of people who relate to each other are the “Tinks”, “Norm”, “Odds”, and the “Professor Kaufner”.

Aki presents these relationships between the four different types of people in a fascinating way. Using a white board, which is easily erasable, Aki implies these relationships have the potential to change between the four different types of people. The audience feels like they are students in a classroom but they still have the freedom to except or decline the relationships presented between the four different people.

Aki is so accurate with her judgment of the relationships between people it becomes fascinating because viewers have experienced these relationships for themselves. Aki also brings new information about the four different types of people so that the viewers do not become bored. For example, Aki describes what a “Tink” looks and acts like. Aki teaches you how to spot the “Tink” in the room.

In this piece, Aki combines performance, comedy, and ephemeral installation all into one performance that entices the viewer. She sums up the piece by informing the viewers that people have to judge each other; it is how people relate. Aki warns the viewers that they must be careful about how they judge each other. We shouldn’t act on our beliefs until we understand the person that we are judging. We must be careful about judging other people with whom with have a relationship with.

Another piece about relationships Aki performs is about mosquitoes. Aki steps into the “shoes” of a mosquito and tries to figure out how to be a mosquito by creating a performance piece. Aki creates an environment in a basement akin to what a mosquito would do and feel. Aki has a light that she becomes attracted to and begins to feed like a mosquito. She does everything that a mosquito would do.

The reason that Aki is interested in stepping into the life of a mosquito is actually opposite of what the viewer would find normal. Aki actually hates mosquitoes. She hates them so much that she becomes a mosquito to try to understand them. Aki tries to understand the relationship between her and mosquitoes.

Aki even starts to relate mosquitoes to criminals. Criminals steal money or objects with value while the mosquito steals blood from animals and humans. Aki defines this relationship even further. Mosquitoes are not only criminals but they are petty criminals. People ignore petty criminals as do they ignore mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are horrible for stealing our precious blood but they don’t deserve people’s attention because they steal so little of our blood. People also ignore petty criminals because what they steal is not worth enough to get back. This is the same with mosquitoes. It is easier to destroy a mosquito or petty criminal then to retrieve what was stolen.

In both of Aki’s performance pieces, she shows her audience the relationships between people and their environments. Aki combines comedy, performance, and installation art into one performance piece that shows her audience the relationships that people don’t normally think about on a daily basis. People don’t normally think about categorizing people into four different groups or about how it feels to be a mosquito.

I really like the way that Aki presents her performance pieces because she mixes comedy into her performances which helps the audience connect to Aki. One of the reasons Aki is so successful with her art is that she shows people relationships that already exist. People just don’t notice these relationships so Aki shows them through performance, comedy, and installation art.

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