Saturday, February 27, 2010

Akihabara Majokko Princess

The Tate Modern's highly enjoyable Pop Life exhibition last year brought together the work of some of the world's most highly-acclaimed contemporary artists / most over-hyped chancers (delete according to preference) for a celebration of the fusing of 'high' and 'low' culture. Along with Warhol, Hirst, Koons, and musician-affiliated visual artists like Keith Haring, Pruitt Early and Christine Newby, was Japan's Takashi Murakami - named by Time Magazine in 2008 as one of the most influential people in the world. Murakami is famed for his work's immersion in otaku / geek culture - the gaudy, controversial, super-cute and occasionally troubling world Japan's young people are increasingly sharing with the rest of us through fashion, manga, anime and, especially, computer games. His specially-commissioned piece saw Kirsten Dunst taking on a cosplay role in a fantasy remake of The Vapours' Turning Japanese. It's good fun, particularly for those of us who have been harbouring a crush on Dunst since Bring It On.


sourpus said...

Oh holy moly!

sourpus said...

No sly references to the lyrical content needed I think.. (tch)

ejay said...

The Murakami room was one of the highlights of the exhibition for me, with the soundtrack to Haring's Pop Shop.
"most highly-acclaimed contemporary artists / most over-hyped chancers ": Somewhere in the middle for me.

DarceysDad said...

ULP! Donds for what sourpus said!!


Japanther said...

this was a lot of fun and Murakami is definitely interesting, anyone who puts a bit of character and colour into so pompous a brand as Louis Vuitton is OK by me! He makes a tiny cameo in this and the other bloke with the hat is Nigo who owns that favourite clothing label of young-but-goateed jazz-funk DJ's everywhere Bathing Ape.

I live only about 5 or 6 train stops from Akihabara and although it's mostly innocent fun there is definitely a sinister underside to Otaku culture. Photos of Pre/barely pubescent girls that are illegal in other countries but not Japan and the association of sex with violence in a lot of manga (there is one manga called "Rape") is more than a little worrying.

Also, a couple of years ago, just the other side of the station to where most of this was filmed a socially inadequate otaku with a knife crashed a van into a crowd of people and went on a stabbing spree that killed about about 7 people. Not sure if the lack of social skills that otaku are famous for had anything to do with it or not, but something ain't right when that kind of things happens.

But, I like the Blue Peter-stickyback-plastic-DIY-nature of the cosplay scene that makes it akin in my mind to pressing up your 7"s that look a bit scrappy but aren't intended for outsiders anyway.

I know you like a bit of J-Pop ShariVari, i'm not recommending as such but if you haven't seen 'em before you have to check out AKB 48 (AKB is short for Akihabara of course and, yep, you guessed it, there are 48 of them! - actually I think there's around 60, but no more than 48 appear on stage at one time!)
Here's their "best" tune:

The title means "I Missed You"

ShariVari said...

It's like Morning Musume x 4! Thanks for that, Japanther.