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IF YOU ARE ALIVE NOW WE ARE ON THE SAME JOURNEY

on Michikazu Matsune.

In issue’s 21 chapter ‘Breaking the Loop’ three parts of a work by Michikazu Matsune come together to highlight an imaginative path out of societal structures, in which most of our movements are held captive.  

The experiences of movement Matsune captures in a manifold way are mapping anecdotes of life, stories of exoticism, fictions of cultural diversity, truths unknown, and personal circumstances that are interlocking realities. 

“Mitsouko & Mitsuko” is a performance which traces and intertwines two names and their respective stories: One of them a transient perfume, the other, the mother of Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi, who first proposed the idea of the Pan European Union in 1922 – the oldest European unification movement. Miwa Negoro’s text delineates the work's identification of structural racism, comprised in history’s loops of power. It couldn’t be more topical: while 100 years ago it was countering both the force of Russia and National Socialism, it has become utterly blurred in today’s war times, where Russia is on a quest to “de-nazify” adjacent terrain. 

History’s smoke signals are explicitly part of the second image. It materializes a sentence Matsune uses in his performance. Its visual is a scene from the film La Bataille (1923), based on Mitsouko’s story, which became the inspiration for the perfume’s name. The military ship being bombed was at war (1904-05) between Russia and Japan. History -really- is like smoke. The aftermath of burning is in the air again. 

Drawing connections isn’t difficult, even if Matsune hadn’t set out to remember or compare the years 1922 and 2022. But there is certainly clarity in what the works convey. Focus on communication of the essence and simplicity in the execution can be found in many forms of Matsune’s artistic expression. Be it in image or in word, material or abstract - meaning, at the same time, stands out and fits into its surroundings. The works place an emphasis on the seconds spent in motion, the stories don’t even spell out a word too many. Careful navigation seems to come naturally. 

And then, there is foresight without return - not to a normality we have become accustomed to, nor to a carried out movement. Kobe Port Tower in the background of the third image is exposing a landmark both personally close to Matsune, originally from Kobe, and Mitsuko Coudenhove-Kalergi, who left for Europe from the port. In the structured world of geometry parallels don’t meet, but in the arts their convergence allows for a new construction of epistemological narratives.

Whilst writing this, I am on a ferry approaching Piraeus. Looking back at the seagulls who traveled along, I read this, hoping he’s right: 

AND THERE WAS NO WAY BACK FOR ANYONE