Log in to
Email Address
Password
Forgot your password?
Not a member? Sign up now!

Film Performances by Iimura Takahiko in the 1960s

Between 1963 and the 1970s, Iimura Takahiko, an experimental filmmaker and video artist, challenged conventional experiences of cinema by putting an emphasis on the performative aspect of film projection through activities he called “film performances.” The presentation below is a collection of what has survived from Iimura Takahiko’s film performances, which illustrate his inventive approaches, including: taking the projector out of the cinema and into other spaces, using multiple projectors, projecting against surfaces other than the screen, and adjusting both the position and mechanics of the projection apparatus during the event. At the height of intermedia as an artistic approach, Iimura saw collaborations with artists from other fields as opportunities to rethink the possibilities of filmmaking and as a way to free it from its industrial confines. While most literature on expanded cinema has focused on activities that took place in the United States and Europe, Iimura’s “film performances” reveal that it was not only in the West that such pursuits were taking place. The presentation, along with the accompanying essay, aims to show that Iimura was a pioneer in seeking alternative approaches to moving-image presentation, that his performances were crucial to the development of his style, and that the performative turn in Japanese postwar art also infiltrated cinema.

I offer my sincere gratitude to Iimura Takahiko for giving me unrestricted access to his personal collection. I will always cherish the memory of the many days I spent going through cardboard boxes and listening to Alvin Lucier CDs while Iimura recounted his performances. I would also like to thank him for permitting post to commission English translations of a selection of the essays he wrote during the period under study here. The essays not only demonstrate his enthusiasm for sharing with a Japanese readership his artistic encounters in the United States, but also show him to be one of the key channels through which intermedia was introduced to Japan.

Author

Julespass

Julian Ross

Julian Ross is a researcher, curator and writer based in Amsterdam. Recently completing his PhD thesis on 1960s Japanese expanded cinema at the University of Leeds, he has... Read more »
Show Less

Film Performances by Iimura Takahiko in the 1960s

Between 1963 and the 1970s, Iimura Takahiko, an experimental filmmaker and video artist, challenged conventional experiences of cinema by putting an emphasis on the performative aspect of film projection through activities he called “film performances.” The presentation below is a collection of what has survived from Iimura Takahiko’s film performances, which illustrate his inventive approaches, including: taking the projector out of the cinema and into other spaces, using multiple projectors, projecting against surfaces other than the screen, and adjusting both the position and mechanics of the projection apparatus during the event. At the height of intermedia as an artistic approach, Iimura saw collaborations with artists from other fields as opportunities to rethink the possibilities of filmmaking and as a way to free it from its industrial confines. While most literature on expanded cinema has focused on activities that took place in the United States and Europe, Iimura’s “film performances” reveal that it was not only in the West that such pursuits were taking place. The...

Show More

Between 1963 and the 1970s, Iimura Takahiko, an experimental filmmaker and video artist, challenged conventional experiences of cinema by putting an emphasis on the performative aspect of film projection through activities he called “film performances.” The presentation below is a collection of what has survived from Iimura Takahiko’s film performances, which illustrate his inventive approaches, including: taking the projector out of the cinema and into other spaces, using multiple projectors, projecting against surfaces other than the screen, and adjusting both the position and mechanics of the projection apparatus during the event. At the height of intermedia as an artistic approach, Iimura saw collaborations with artists from other fields as opportunities to rethink the possibilities of filmmaking and as a way to free it from its industrial confines. While most literature on expanded cinema has focused on activities that took place in the United States and Europe, Iimura’s “film performances” reveal that it was not only in the West that such pursuits were taking place. The presentation, along with the accompanying essay, aims to show that Iimura was a pioneer in seeking alternative approaches to moving-image presentation, that his performances were crucial to the development of his style, and that the performative turn in Japanese postwar art also infiltrated cinema.

I offer my sincere gratitude to Iimura Takahiko for giving me unrestricted access to his personal collection. I will always cherish the memory of the many days I spent going through cardboard boxes and listening to Alvin Lucier CDs while Iimura recounted his performances. I would also like to thank him for permitting post to commission English translations of a selection of the essays he wrote during the period under study here. The essays not only demonstrate his enthusiasm for sharing with a Japanese readership his artistic encounters in the United States, but also show him to be one of the key channels through which intermedia was introduced to Japan.

     
Juianross 1

Description of "Film Concert"

Naiqua cinematheque 1 iimura

1st Naiqua Cinematheque

Courtesy Miyata Yuka
Naiqua cinematheque flyer cropped

1st Naiqua Cinematheque

Dada62 still

Dada '62 (excerpt)

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the Artist
Dada '62 score

Dada '62, Graphic Score

© Tone Yasunao. Courtesy the artist
Tone dada62 instructions

Dada '62, Instructions

© Tone Yasunao. Courtesy the artist
Julian ross 8

Dada '62, Instructions (English translation)

Naiqua page1

Encounter with Unusual Films / Naiqua Cinematheque: Screening of 8mm Films, Iimura Takahiko Solo Cinema Showcase

© Obayashi Nobuhiko.
Dada'62 thumbnail

Dada '62 (excerpt)

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the Artist
 screen play

Screen Play, Description

4 sweet16 coverdesign

Sweet 16, Program Cover Page

Iro

Iro (Color) (excerpt)

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
1 sweet16 programme iimura

A Two Way Peep Window

A two way peep hole cropped

A Two Way Peep Window

© Takahiko Iimura.
Screenplay 2012 reperformance still

Screen Play (excerpt)

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Juianross 3

Shelter 9999, Description

Shelter9999 filmmakercinematheque 1967 cropped

Film-Makers' Cinematheque Flyer

Shelter9999 slide 1

Shelter 9999

© Takahiko Iimura.
Shelter9999 slide 2

Shelter 9999

© Takahiko Iimura.
Shelter9999 slide 3

Shelter 9999

© Takahiko Iimura.
Shelter9999 slide 4

Shelter 9999

© Takahiko Iimura.
Shelter9999 slide 5

Shelter 9999

© Takahiko Iimura.
Shelter9999 slide 6

Shelter 9999

© Takahiko Iimura.
Shelter9999 july1967 photograph iimura

Shelter 9999

Shelter9999 instructions

Shelter 9999, Instructions

© Takahiko Iimura.
Crosstalk3 1968 english flyer cropped

Cross Talk Tokyo Flyer

Crosstalk3 program cropped

Cross Talk 3 Program Notes

Crosstalk3 iimura lucier introduction cropped

Cross Talk 3 Program Notes

Shelter9999 poster blackgate 1968

Black Gate Flyer

Shelter9999 flyer electric circus 1968

The Electric Ear: Electronic Music & Mixed-Media at The Electric Circus Flyer

Shelter9999 electricear electric circus 1968

The Electric Ear: Electronic Music & Mixed-Media at The Electric Circus Program Notes

Shelter9999 faf cropped

Fine Arts Foundation Gray Hall Flyer

Iimura communityofimages scan page1

Community of Images (excerpt)

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Juianross 7

Circles, Description

Poster circles threecolours blackgate

Multi-Projections, Cine Mosiac by Matsumoto, Circles, Three Colors by Iimura

Circles stills

Circles

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Cross talk intermedia program english 2page

Cross Talk Intermedia Program

Matsumoto iimura intro text cropped

Cross Talk Intermedia Program Notes

© Matsumoto Toshio. Courtesy the artist
Joseph love  the most crucial problem cropped

"The Most Crucial Problem with the Performance Space Was That the Audience Was Situated in an Inappropriate Way" – Creating a New Type of Participation: The Cross Talk Intermedia Festival, Excerpt

© Joseph Love.
Circles drawing gatetheatre 2012

Circles, Diagram

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Juianross 5

Three Colors, Description

256(h)

Tokyo Film Art Festival 1968: Uncharted Possibilites in Cinematic Expression Poster

Courtesy Sogetsu Foundation and Keio University Art Center (KUAC).
Tokyo film art festival 1968

Tokyo Film Art Festival 1968: Uncharted Possibilites in Cinematic Expression

256(ggggggg)

Tokyo Film Art Festival 1968: Uncharted Possibilites in Cinematic Expression Flyer

Courtesy Sogetsu Foundation and Keio University Art Center (KUAC).
Watashi to design no scene cropped

The Design Scene and Me (excerpt)

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Iimura threecolours diagram

Three Colors, Diagram

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Juianross6

Floating, Description

Iimura floating 1

Floating

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Iimura floating 2

Floating

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Iimura floating 3

Floating

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Iimura floating 4

Floating

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Iimura floating 5

Floating

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Iimura floating 7

Floating

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Iimura floating 8

Floating

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Iimura blackpower expandedartfestival yamazakihiroshi photo 2

Floating

© Hiroshi Yamazaki. Courtesy the artist
Iimura blackpower expandedartfestival yamazakihiroshi photo 3

Floating, photodocumentation of event

© Hiroshi Yamazaki. Courtesy the artist
Iimura blackpower expandedartfestival yamazakihiroshi photo 1

Floating, photodocumentation of event

© Hiroshi Yamazaki. Courtesy the artist
Yoshida yoshie expanded art festival cropped

Expanded Art Festival – Discovering the Monsters That Dwell in New Phases, Excerpt

© Yoshida Yoshie.
14.expandedartfestival furuzawa

Exisupandendo Ato Fesutibaru: Modan Ato no Shuen – Kyoki no Seitosei (Expanded Art Festival: The End of Modern Art – the Legitimacy of Lunacy), Excerpt

Juianross 1

Description of "Film Concert"

Naiqua cinematheque 1 iimura

1st Naiqua Cinematheque

Flyer for 1st Naiqua Cinematheque. August 9, 10, 1963. Text by Oshima Tatsuo.

Courtesy Miyata Yuka
Naiqua cinematheque flyer cropped

1st Naiqua Cinematheque

Translation of flyer for 1st Naiqua Cinematheque. August 9, 10, 1963. Text by Oshima Tatsuo.

Dada '62 (excerpt)

8mm film transferred to video (black and white, silent), 10 min.

About Dada '62: A record of the 15th Yomiuri Independent exhibition, Dada '62 captures the displays and performances that took place. The Yomiuri Independent exhibitions were a series of exhibitions organized by the Yomiuri newspaper held, at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum between 1946 and 1963.

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the Artist
Dada '62 score

Dada '62, Graphic Score

Ink on paper, copied and inverted (white on black).

Graphic score by Tone Yasuno, composed for Iimura Takahiko's projection of Dada '62 at the 1st Naiqua Cinematheque

© Tone Yasunao. Courtesy the artist
Tone dada62 instructions

Dada '62, Instructions

Ink on paper.

Instructions by Tone Yasuno, written for Iimura Takahiko's projection of Dada '62 at the 1st Naiqua Cinematheque

© Tone Yasunao. Courtesy the artist
Julian ross 8

Dada '62, Instructions (English translation)

Naiqua page1

Encounter with Unusual Films / Naiqua Cinematheque: Screening of 8mm Films, Iimura Takahiko Solo Cinema Showcase

Transcript of panel discussion at 1st Naiqua Cinematheque by Obayashi Nobuhiko. Participants included Iimura Takahiko, Obayashi Nobuhiko, Takabayashi Yoichi, Akasegawa Genpei, Takamatsu Jiro, Hirata Sakio, Oka Yoshiyuki, Satsuni To, Oshima Tatsuo, and Nagata Tomo'o. For the complete article and the English version, please visit Sources.

© Obayashi Nobuhiko.

Dada '62 (excerpt)

Documentation of the performance of Dada '62 at The Museum of Modern Art performance as part of Tokyo: Experiments in Music and Performance on January 10, 2013.

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the Artist
 screen play

Screen Play, Description

4 sweet16 coverdesign

Sweet 16, Program Cover Page

Iro (Color) (excerpt)

8mm film transferred to DVD (color, sound), 11 min.

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
1 sweet16 programme iimura

A Two Way Peep Window

Statement written by Iimura Takahiko, published as part of the Sweet 16 event program notes.

As part of the Sogetsu Art Center’s Sweet 16 performance event on December 4 and 5, 1963, Iimura projected his abstract film Iro (Color, 1963) onto the back of artist Takamatsu Jiro while Takamatsu sat between audience and stage, reading a newspaper. After a time, Iimura cut a large hole in Takamatsu’s jacket, allowing the film to be seen directly on the artist’s naked back.

A two way peep hole cropped

A Two Way Peep Window

Statement written by Iimura Takahiko, published as part of the Sweet 16 event program notes. Transcribed Japanese version and English translation.

As part of the Sogetsu Art Center’s Sweet 16 performance event on December 4 and 5, 1963, Iimura projected his abstract film Iro (Color, 1963) onto the back of artist Takamatsu Jiro while Takamatsu sat between audience and stage, reading a newspaper. After a time, Iimura cut a large hole in Takamatsu’s jacket, allowing the film to be seen directly on the artist’s naked back.

© Takahiko Iimura.

Screen Play (excerpt)

Documentation of re-performance in Place M Gallery on October 27, 2012. Digital video (color, sound).

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Juianross 3

Shelter 9999, Description

Shelter9999 filmmakercinematheque 1967 cropped

Film-Makers' Cinematheque Flyer

Flyer for the performance of Shelter 9999 at the Film-Makers' Cinematheque in New York. March 9–12, 1967.

Shelter9999 slide 1

Shelter 9999

35mm color slide.

Using two slide projectors, Iimura Takahiko projected photographs of banners, neon signs, and graffiti sketches that he had taken in New York together with film projection(s).

© Takahiko Iimura.
Shelter9999 slide 2

Shelter 9999

35mm color slide.

Using two slide projectors, Iimura Takahiko projected photographs of banners, neon signs, and graffiti sketches that he had taken in New York together with film projection(s).

© Takahiko Iimura.
Shelter9999 slide 3

Shelter 9999

35mm color slide.

Using two slide projectors, Iimura Takahiko projected photographs of banners, neon signs, and graffiti sketches that he had taken in New York together with film projection(s).

© Takahiko Iimura.
Shelter9999 slide 4

Shelter 9999

35mm color slide.

Using two slide projectors, Iimura Takahiko projected photographs of banners, neon signs, and graffiti sketches that he had taken in New York together with film projection(s).

© Takahiko Iimura.
Shelter9999 slide 5

Shelter 9999

35mm color slide.

Using two slide projectors, Iimura Takahiko projected photographs of banners, neon signs, and graffiti sketches that he had taken in New York together with film projection(s).

© Takahiko Iimura.
Shelter9999 slide 6

Shelter 9999

35mm color slide.

Using two slide projectors, Iimura Takahiko projected photographs of banners, neon signs, and graffiti sketches that he had taken in New York together with film projection(s).

© Takahiko Iimura.
Shelter9999 july1967 photograph iimura

Shelter 9999

Photography documentation of performance.

Shelter9999 instructions

Shelter 9999, Instructions

Ink on paper. Instructions by Iimura Takahiko.

The instructions are heavily marked up with alterations for individual performances, indicating that the performance was reshaped on each occasion of its presentation.

The instructions were taped onto the box for the 16mm film print of the central projection for Shelter 9999.

© Takahiko Iimura.
Crosstalk3 1968 english flyer cropped

Cross Talk Tokyo Flyer

Flyer for the Cross Talk Festival series, 1968-1971.

The Cross Talk series held from 1968 to 1971 was organized in Tokyo by the American Cultural Center to foster collaboration between Japanese and American artists working primarily in the field of music.

Crosstalk3 program cropped

Cross Talk 3 Program Notes

Program notes for the Cross Talk 3 festival on March 16, 1968.

At Cross Talk 3, Iimura performed Shelter 9999 by pointing all the projectors toward one screen on which the images overlapped, disappeared into, and reappeared out of one another as he swapped lenses and used different color filters.

The Cross Talk series was organized in Tokyo by the American Cultural Center to foster collaboration between Japanese and American artists working primarily in the field of music.

Crosstalk3 iimura lucier introduction cropped

Cross Talk 3 Program Notes

Introductory text about Shelter 9999, published in the program notes for Cross Talk 3 on March 16, 1968.

At Cross Talk 3, Iimura performed Shelter 9999 by pointing all the projectors toward one screen on which the images overlapped, disappeared into, and reappeared out of one another as he swapped lenses and used different color filters.

The Cross Talk series was organized in Tokyo by the American Cultural Center to foster collaboration between Japanese and American artists working primarily in the field of music.

Shelter9999 poster blackgate 1968

Black Gate Flyer

Flyer for the performance of Shelter 9999 at the Black Gate, New York, on April 29, 30, 1968.

Shelter9999 flyer electric circus 1968

The Electric Ear: Electronic Music & Mixed-Media at The Electric Circus Flyer

Flyers for the performance of Shelter 9999 at The Electric Circus, New York, on August 5, 12, 19, 26, 1968.

Shelter9999 electricear electric circus 1968

The Electric Ear: Electronic Music & Mixed-Media at The Electric Circus Program Notes

Program notes for the performance of Shelter 9999 at The Electric Circus, New York, on August 5, 12, 19, 26, 1968.

Shelter9999 faf cropped

Fine Arts Foundation Gray Hall Flyer

Flyer for the performance of Shelter 9999 at the Fine Arts Foundation Gray Hall on Oct 17, 1968.

Iimura communityofimages scan page1

Community of Images (excerpt)

Published by Kikan Film.

For the complete article and translation of the text, please visit Sources.

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Juianross 7

Circles, Description

Poster circles threecolours blackgate

Multi-Projections, Cine Mosiac by Matsumoto, Circles, Three Colors by Iimura

Flyer for Black Gate Theater performance. October 4, 5, 6, 1968.

Iimura Takahiko’s Circles and Three Colors, along with Matsumoto Toshi's Tsuburekakatta Migime no Tameni (For My Damaged Right Eye), were presented at the Black Gate Theater in New York on October 4 to 6, 1968.

Circles stills

Circles

16mm film still.

20 loop-films were projected using six 16mm projectors onto three large inflated objects made by Shinohara Ushio and Misawa Kenzi, accompanied by Alvin Lucier’s Sound Environment Mixtures, a recording made with a shotgun microphone that rotated on a 360-degree horizontal arc. Iimura’s loop-films all showed the same image: a 360-degree pan of the view from a street corner. The footage was shot specifically for the performance at Cross Talk Intermedia in order to echo the circularity of the venue, the Yoyogi National Gymnasium.

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Cross talk intermedia program english 2page

Cross Talk Intermedia Program

Program notes for Cross Talk Intermedia, held on February 6–7, 1969.

Matsumoto iimura intro text cropped

Cross Talk Intermedia Program Notes

Introductory text for Iimura Takahiko in the Cross Talk Intermedia program notes.

© Matsumoto Toshio. Courtesy the artist
Joseph love  the most crucial problem cropped

"The Most Crucial Problem with the Performance Space Was That the Audience Was Situated in an Inappropriate Way" – Creating a New Type of Participation: The Cross Talk Intermedia Festival, Excerpt

Published in SD (Space Design) (No. 53, 1969). Text by Joseph Love.

© Joseph Love.
Circles drawing gatetheatre 2012

Circles, Diagram

Diagram of Circles at Black Gate. Drawn from memory in 2012.

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Juianross 5

Three Colors, Description

256(h)

Tokyo Film Art Festival 1968: Uncharted Possibilites in Cinematic Expression Poster

Poster for the event. October 18–30, 1968. 742 x 512 mm. Keio University Art Center (KUAC) item no. 256 (h)

Courtesy Sogetsu Foundation and Keio University Art Center (KUAC).
Tokyo film art festival 1968

Tokyo Film Art Festival 1968: Uncharted Possibilites in Cinematic Expression

List of programs.

256(ggggggg)

Tokyo Film Art Festival 1968: Uncharted Possibilites in Cinematic Expression Flyer

Flyer for the event. October 18–30, 1968. 200 x 68 mm. KUAC item no. 256 (ggggggg)

Courtesy Sogetsu Foundation and Keio University Art Center (KUAC).
Watashi to design no scene cropped

The Design Scene and Me (excerpt)

Published in Idea, May, 1970. Text by Iimura Takahiko.

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Iimura threecolours diagram

Three Colors, Diagram

Diagram of Three Colors. Drawn in 2012 by Iimura Takahiko.

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Juianross6

Floating, Description

Iimura floating 1

Floating

Photographic documentation of performance. Courtesy Iimura Takahiko

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Iimura floating 2

Floating

Photographic documentation of performance. Courtesy Iimura Takahiko

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Iimura floating 3

Floating

Photographic documentation of performance. Courtesy Iimura Takahiko

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Iimura floating 4

Floating

Photographic documentation of performance. Courtesy Iimura Takahiko

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Iimura floating 5

Floating

Photographic documentation of performance. Courtesy Iimura Takahiko

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Iimura floating 7

Floating

Photographic documentation of performance. Courtesy Iimura Takahiko

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Iimura floating 8

Floating

Photographic documentation of performance. Courtesy Iimura Takahiko

© Takahiko Iimura. Courtesy the artist
Iimura blackpower expandedartfestival yamazakihiroshi photo 2

Floating

Photographic documentation of performance

Photograph taken by Yamazaki Hiroshi. Courtesy Yamazaki Hiroshi.

Photo in Yoshida Yoshie, "Expanded Art Festival - Discovering the Monsters that Dwell in New Phases," SD (No. 67, 1970).

© Hiroshi Yamazaki. Courtesy the artist
Iimura blackpower expandedartfestival yamazakihiroshi photo 3

Floating, photodocumentation of event

Photography documentation of performance

Photograph taken by Yamazaki Hiroshi. Courtesy Yamazaki Hiroshi.

Photo in Yoshida Yoshie, "Expanded Art Festival - Discovering the Monsters that Dwell in New Phases," SD (No. 67, 1970).

© Hiroshi Yamazaki. Courtesy the artist
Iimura blackpower expandedartfestival yamazakihiroshi photo 1

Floating, photodocumentation of event

Photography documentation of performance

Photograph taken by Yamazaki Hiroshi. Courtesy Yamazaki Hiroshi.

Photo in Yoshida Yoshie, "Expanded Art Festival - Discovering the Monsters that Dwell in New Phases," SD (No. 67, 1970).

© Hiroshi Yamazaki. Courtesy the artist
Yoshida yoshie expanded art festival cropped

Expanded Art Festival – Discovering the Monsters That Dwell in New Phases, Excerpt

Published in SD (No. 67, 1970).

© Yoshida Yoshie.
14.expandedartfestival furuzawa

Exisupandendo Ato Fesutibaru: Modan Ato no Shuen – Kyoki no Seitosei (Expanded Art Festival: The End of Modern Art – the Legitimacy of Lunacy), Excerpt

Excerpt of review of Expanded Art Festival, published in Eiga Hyoron. June 27, 1970.

Text by Yuruzawa Toshimi. Photos by Yamazaki Hiroshi.

Latest discussion on:
Film Performances by Iimura Takahiko in the 1960s

Sign in or create your account to participate in the discussion.

This Artist Practice is part of: Sogetsu Art Center