23rd Entertainment Division Excellence Award
New Logos Order
New Logos Order Direction Team (AKITA Hiromu / amazarashi, Representative) [Japan]
A performance project by amazarashi, a musical artist who has been singing with poetic lyrics containing strong messages about the dark side of social media and also criticism of contemporary digital media. Before staging live performances, his work employed various modes of expression using a mixture of black markers and noise, from a novel on the theme of censorship, to a new song, a music video, and a “guerrilla shop,” all of which had been censored. By downloading the “censorship removal app” that is mentioned in the novel, fans could view the entire content. On the day of his performance, flashes from the smartphones of participants in the audience and images on four screens surrounding the stage were synchronized. In doing so, the black marker streaks covering the lyrics shown on the screen were removed, revealing the “uncensored” new song. This “digital rock opera,” using various forms of media, made fans immerse themselves in the story and presented them with the contents of the novel as issues taking place in reality. This work, which transformed a live performance that normally would end after one night into a month-long participatory musical experience, gained critical acclaim even from those beyond the fan base.
If we were still living in the cultural environment of five or six years ago, we probably would not feel any special need to take a critical look at the world view of this work, which is one of stereotypical dystopian romanticism developed based on a fictional format. However, the pervasiveness of online media has given rise to an ironic mutual censorship situation from below, strengthening the censorship move by the top, driven by major capital and political powers taking advantage of this situation. This overly clichéd deterioration of reality has paradoxically enhanced the contemporary significance of this performance. The strength of its concept development and project management that regenerated the role of traditional protest rock as well as the aura of Budokan, by using participatory technology while taking advantage of the circumstances at the time, is astonishing. Of course, the provocation of cooperation through “resistance to word hunting” is, at the same time, the exact logic of the forces that have degraded reality by promoting exclusionist public opinion and cults. The strong message of this live performance can be seen as the posing of an issue that includes such extraction of ambiguity. (NAKAGAWA Daichi)