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Interview with Shiomi Mieko

On October 28, 2011, Shiomi Mieko, artist, composer, and Fluxus member, graciously welcomed C-MAP members into her home in a quiet residential neighborhood in Minoo, Osaka. Michelle Elligott conducted an hour-long interview with the artist, accompanied by Doryun Chong, Eva Respini, and Sarah Suzuki. During the conversation, Shiomi discussed her first meeting with the young Nam June Paik in Tokyo in the early 1960s, the beginning of the improvised anti-music unit Group Ongaku, and communal dinners with fellow Fluxus members Kubota Shigeko, Saito Takako, and Paik at the home of George Maciunas in New York. She also described the challenges she faced in the 1970s as she sought to remain active as an artist while taking on the roles of mother and homemaker in an Osaka suburb. While Shiomi is best known for her event pieces and objects, such as Disappearing Music for Face, Endless Box, and her Spatial Poem series, she has also been active as a composer since the 1970s. In this interview, Shiomi speaks about her career as a composer and the musical language hidden in her art objects.

Elligott draws out the complexities of Fluxus as a group identity that at times conflicted with the creative agencies of individual artists. What was Shiomi’s relationship to Fluxus? What is Fluxus? What was Fluxus in Japan in the 1960s and 1970s? Was Fluxus an artistic movement with a unified purpose, a support network for artists, or a vision of a misunderstood, autocratic Maciunas? Watch the six-part video interview to hear Shiomi’s thoughts, and join in the conversation by posting your own response.

Author

Elligott  michelle headshot3

Michelle Elligott

Chief of Archives The Museum of Modern Art Michelle Elligott is Chief of Archives of The Museum of Modern Art. Ms. Elligott joined MoMA as a Mellon Fellow in 1995; she became Rona Roob Senior Museum Archivist in... Read more »
Shiomi mieko photo

Shiomi Mieko

Artist Shiomi Mieko (born Okayama, 1938) is a Japanese composer and performance artist. She studied music theory and composition with Shibata and Hasegawa and the piano with Koji... Read more »
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Interview with Shiomi Mieko

On October 28, 2011, Shiomi Mieko, artist, composer, and Fluxus member, graciously welcomed C-MAP members into her home in a quiet residential neighborhood in Minoo, Osaka. Michelle Elligott conducted an hour-long interview with the artist, accompanied by Doryun Chong, Eva Respini, and Sarah Suzuki. During the conversation, Shiomi discussed her first meeting with the young Nam June Paik in Tokyo in the early 1960s, the beginning of the improvised anti-music unit Group Ongaku, and communal dinners with fellow Fluxus members Kubota Shigeko, Saito Takako, and Paik at the home of George Maciunas in New York. She also described the challenges she faced in the 1970s as she sought to remain active as an artist while taking on the roles of mother and homemaker in an Osaka suburb. While Shiomi is best known for her event pieces and objects, such as Disappearing Music for Face, Endless Box, and her Spatial Poem series, she has also been active as a composer since the 1970s. In this interview, Shiomi speaks about her career as a composer and the musical language hidden in her art objects.

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On October 28, 2011, Shiomi Mieko, artist, composer, and Fluxus member, graciously welcomed C-MAP members into her home in a quiet residential neighborhood in Minoo, Osaka. Michelle Elligott conducted an hour-long interview with the artist, accompanied by Doryun Chong, Eva Respini, and Sarah Suzuki. During the conversation, Shiomi discussed her first meeting with the young Nam June Paik in Tokyo in the early 1960s, the beginning of the improvised anti-music unit Group Ongaku, and communal dinners with fellow Fluxus members Kubota Shigeko, Saito Takako, and Paik at the home of George Maciunas in New York. She also described the challenges she faced in the 1970s as she sought to remain active as an artist while taking on the roles of mother and homemaker in an Osaka suburb. While Shiomi is best known for her event pieces and objects, such as Disappearing Music for Face, Endless Box, and her Spatial Poem series, she has also been active as a composer since the 1970s. In this interview, Shiomi speaks about her career as a composer and the musical language hidden in her art objects.

Elligott draws out the complexities of Fluxus as a group identity that at times conflicted with the creative agencies of individual artists. What was Shiomi’s relationship to Fluxus? What is Fluxus? What was Fluxus in Japan in the 1960s and 1970s? Was Fluxus an artistic movement with a unified purpose, a support network for artists, or a vision of a misunderstood, autocratic Maciunas? Watch the six-part video interview to hear Shiomi’s thoughts, and join in the conversation by posting your own response.

Interview with Shiomi Mieko: Chapter 1

Interview with Shiomi Mieko: Chapter 2

Interview with Shiomi Mieko: Chapter 3.

Interview with Shiomi Mieko: Chapter 4.

Interview with Shiomi Mieko: Chapter 5.

Interview with Shiomi Mieko: Chapter 6

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Interview with Shiomi Mieko

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Missed Op ?

Posted on 14 Feb

Whilst it's great to see this it's disappointing to see you didn't ask her about her work with Group Ongaku - the collective improvisation based group begun in 1958 by Takehisa Kosugi and Shukou Mizuno. She was a key member of this group, as was Yasunao Tone and I believe her involvement in it predates her involvement in Fluxus. I believe it would have made a more interesting introduction to her work. Of course, Kosugi and Tone were also involved with Fluxus as well. Maybe you did ask her about this and it's just not here ?

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Whilst it's great to see this it's disappointing to see you didn't ask her about her work with Group Ongaku - the collective improvisation based group begun in 1958 by Takehisa Kosugi and Shukou Mizuno. She was a key member of this group, as was...

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Mk c map

Group Ongaku

Posted on 15 Feb

Thanks for your comment, Gamall (I think you are the first person to comment on this site!!!). Michelle does ask about Group Ongaku in the interview. Check out video 1 from around 6:50--. I completely agree that Group Ongaku is very important. In fact, I'm beginning to think that Group Ongaku is hugely important, not only in the history of experimental music in Japan, but also for experimental arts in Japan. In fact, in a recent interview (forthcoming on post--stay tuned!), Tone Yasunao was telling me about artist Kazakura Sho's claim to being an honorary member of Group Ongaku with his performances.

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Thanks for your comment, Gamall (I think you are the first person to comment on this site!!!). Michelle does ask about Group Ongaku in the interview. Check out video 1 from around 6:50--. I completely agree that Group Ongaku is very important. In...

Show more »

Posted on 19 Feb

Not sure how I missed that short comment about Ongaku in the interview... thanks for pointing it out. Cannot wait to read that piece on / interview with Tone-san. Have nothing but admiration for his approach and intellect. I think he is a living treasure. Wish he performed more in New York his performance at Guggenheim last year was my favorite concert of the year. Was very sad to discover news of his event in January at MOMA two days after it happened, despite being a member ! I know there was talk of a video of that gig being posted - hope that materializes.

Love what you are doing here with post site. Especially great to see a strong focus on this era of Japanese arts. I really love the current exhibition there but wished it was bigger and so the material here (and in the non-catalogue book of essays) is very welcome. I'm not an academic but do follow and try to research this area for my own personal interests.

Note I did also post some comments in the book section including a link to a PDF of a great book on Tone.

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Not sure how I missed that short comment about Ongaku in the interview... thanks for pointing it out. Cannot wait to read that piece on / interview with Tone-san. Have nothing but admiration for his approach and intellect. I think he is a living...

Show more »