Aki Sasamoto, Megan Keith

Megan Keith

Aki Sasamoto

Although it’s been almost a month since I was introduced to Aki Sasamoto, I remember her presentation very well. In fact, her presentation is altogether unforgettable for a number of reasons. First, the presentation itself was very strange, yet captivating. Second, the artist herself is one of the most eccentric people I’ve had the pleasure to meet. She was so energetic. She was a tiny, tiny woman, but was absolutely wild in her expressions. She channeled that energy into her performance art, in which she appeared to be doing everything! Banging pots and pans, running through clothes, peeling potatoes, and more. Her energy level was just fascinating.

She showed us videos of her works, and there was a lot to take in. She danced. She painted. She drew. She did installation art. She did performance art. Aki Sasamoto’s work was absolutely everywhere. She seemed to have an infinite amount of energy and optimism.

The presentation given by Aki Sasamoto started out with a video of some of her installation art, an interview she was having with herself, and a recording of some of her performance art. I actually thought I was in the wrong place for the longest time, as Ms. Sasamoto was not at all what I was expecting. I expected a lecture, to be honest. Instead, I was greeted with a huge bundle of energy and random information.

Allow me to expand on what I mean by “Random information”: Ms. Sasamoto seemed to be in a world of her own, one with constant inspiration and ideas. In fact, I spent the majority of the talk trying to keep up with her! She would be telling us about emails from her brother, then would switch gears and tell us about becoming a mosquito. But when I saw videos of her performance art, her energy level and seemingly short attention span made much more sense. She seemed to be a light wave in her performances, bouncing here and there. I think it is a fantastic way to involve the audience and captivate their attention.

At one point in the presentation, towards the beginning, Aki Sasamoto projected a list of interesting phrases on the screen. The phrase I remember most clearly was “Am I a Liar?”. She had them listed alphabetically and typed on the screen, “shout out a letter.” The students in the audience were then able to chose a topic that interested them, and she would expand on it. At first, I though it was a strange way to present her information. But it turned out to be so much fun! She had so many different topics for us to talk about. The first few minutes of her not talking physically, but communicating through the computer was odd, but she soon had us all laughing and playing along.

At one point, Ms. Sasamoto pulled out a whiteboard and went to town on it. I had trouble keeping up with what she was saying/drawing/laughing about. There were “tinks”, there were “norms”, like normal people, and other types of people. She drew and drew and drew links connecting them, lines separating them, and all sorts of nonsense. I was very confused, though very entertained, throughout most of this part of the presentation.

I found that my favorite part of the evening was a video compilation from an exhibit of hers. She had set up different cameras at different angles and different times, and recorded what she was doing. And my goodness, she was doing EVERYTHING. She would run around certain areas of the exhibit, throw things at others, clash pans together, and more. It was very interesting to watch. Her general eclecticism, in her behavior, works and stories, really made her an incredibly entertaining individual.

Then, towards the end of the lecture, she started into describing her absolute disdain for mosquitos, and how this feeling inspired one of her performances. She told us how she “trained” to become a mosquito, to better act like one for the performance. And from what she showed us of pictures and videos, she had trained very well. She was dressed like the insect, and was at one point even climbing and hanging from the ceiling like the bug itself.

I did not really find much inspiration from this particular piece in and of itself, but I was just fascinated with Ms. Sasamoto’s storytelling abilities. She has the wonderful gift of being able to control an audience with her energy and optimism. By the end of the night, I believe we were all relatively confused, but very entertained by her seemingly limitless inspiration and vibrancy.

Overall, Aki Sasamoto’s lecture was the most interesting of all I have attended. She is so quick and witty and incredibly creative that she forever seems to be a step ahead of us all! I think that is what gives her such talent when she performs her works. She is so full of ideas and plans, and never seemed to run out of inspiration. She was kind, down to Earth, creative, innovative, and so funny. I cannot wait to see one of her performances live, and to experience what she can accomplish when she’s “in the zone”! She was positively the most artistic person I have ever had the pleasure to meet.

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