Masashige Iida, Japan
Film review by Volkmar Schorcht, Jena
Strong in expression – demanding in the statement – sensitive in the execution
Masashige Iidas’ artwork fits into no drawer. »After Cherenkov« is something special in every way. The Japanese artist has broaden our horizons, reimagined the dome, which until now, has stood on the ground, and turned it upside down. He shows us an interpretation of our humanity, which makes us speechless, thoughtful, and astonished. What have we just experienced? How do we absorb these images into our intellects?
We see dancers, alienated in negative tones, bodies decorated with tattoos and patterns. Bodies that could have sprung from early cave paintings and bodies drenched in blue light. They are all above us, one… two… four dancers. The Dance, a ritual, a rearing up, a sinking, a perceiving, a touching, a bonding, merging, guarding. There is no stage, only the blackness of the dome, no distraction for the eye, only now and then lattice patterns and particles of light illuminate the figures. There is only this strong expression of movement and choreography.
»After Cherenkov«, the title sets the path. Cherenkov, Cherenkov radiation, blue light, nuclear reactor, Fukushima, catastrophe, human suffering. Iida philosophizes… humans, either as cavemen or with state-of-the-art technology, have and still use their creativity to temper nature. But where does this creativity lead us? Do we dominate nature or does it dominate us? Are the tsunami and meltdown of 2011 not a warning to us humans? Masashige Iida considers nuclear energy production to be a modern ritual. A ritual which opposes nature.
In dance, it symbolizes the millennia-old ritual of giving and taking, of creativity and of consequence. In the choreography, the consonance of the movement is followed by a break out, resulting in a collision making the order chaotic, refuge is found in protective suits.
When the dancers appear to hang upside down in the dome and gravity seems to be inversely oriented, this takes some getting used to. The vivid body language, however, sustains the tension from the first minute, supported by the cameras perspectives, alternating between the distant and the intimate viewpoints. The movements are choreographed with the utmost sensitivity and with surprisingly explosive transitions between dance scenes. Surprising too, perhaps, is the sound. No burbling background, no classic sound carpet, but rather a swirling of roaring basses, sounds that seem to target the nervous system, percussive rhythms, silence and soundscapes. If a festival exists to highlight and forward new ideas in a medium such as Fulldome, then it exists for films such as this.
How does a socio-philosophically motivated dance film find itself in the planetarium arena? That depends immensely on marketing. If you are expecting stars, you will be disappointed. If you are looking for ambitious art, you might be delighted. In this sense, it is desirable to broaden the horizon of many planetarium visitors.
11th FullDome Festival, May 20, 2017