Introducing PSi 2015 TOHOKU
We are pleased to announce that Keio University Art Center and Aomori Museum of Art is going to join "PSi 2015: FLUID STATES - Performances of UnKnowing", and organise an international conference in TOHOKU.
Tohoku occupies a particular position within Japanese history, imagination, and ecology. This region had been the “disobedient” country of the Emishi（蝦夷）– a country set beyond the reaches of civilization, a kind of geopolitical “border-land”, as the name Mutsu（陸奥） suggests.
Yanagita Kunio（柳田国男; 1875-1962） described Tohoku in The Tale of Tōno, as a mysterious and fearful land, set far-off from the capital. Tohoku has carried the weight of this history: its status as a “border-land,” and its image as a “mysterious and fearful land,” including, for example, Aomori’s Mount Osore （Osorezan; 恐山, literally “Mount Fear”）, which is one of Japan’s most famous pilgrimage sites and according to popular mythology, marks the entrance to the Buddhist Hell.
On the other hand, we can find cultural contributions from Tohoku people on many performance phases.
It has given rise to the figures of Terayama Shuji （寺山修司; 1935-1983） and Hijikata Tatsumi （土方巽; 1928-1986） in the performing arts, as well as dancers Eguchi Takaya （江口隆哉; 1900- 1977） and Ishii Baku （石井漠; 1886- 1962）, who have been recognized on an international stage for their innovations and creations as avant-garde artists.
Following the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11th March 2011, Tohoku has been weighed down by economic burden, and by the spiritual burden of being branded as a “place to be avoided.” At the same time, the spiritual strength of its people and the power of a prayer for this damaged land is becoming rediscovered and felt necessary again.
Locating the first Japanese PSi in Tohoku, we hope to encourage researchers and performers to attend, looking to engage in discussions around the key themes. This conference will afford us the opportunity to sound out borderlines between the everyday and non-everyday, and the fictional and the real, at a time of political and spiritual crises.