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Kosemura Mami



Born in 1976 in Kanagawa, Japan. Currently living in Tokyo. Film works started in 2001, creating a set imitating an existing painting and capturing its transformation using a digital camera. Recently, she has started painting which seems to portray scenes from her films. Works are exhibited as art in Japan, and in some cases, works are shown on big screens including film festivals.
WHO 003

The way I shoot has a strong documentary feel. I take photos of a set, which imitates an existing painting. I take a photo once every 30 minutes to two hours for one to four months. That comes to 1000 to 3000 photos.
The colors and shapes in each photograph are edited so that it closely resembles the painting. Then, all photos are assembled and put in motion. The film is about the world beyond the painting, and in it, the flowers and the trees grow and die, people sleep and breathe.
In the photo, time seems to stop just like in a painting. But once the accumulated time produces the motion, it starts moving towards death as if it is alive. It shows us this strange and unpleasant and yet, attractive picture.

W : Are you projecting your work on a fusuma (Japanese door made of paper)?

Kosemura : I have exhibited this work in a house which was a hundred years old and when I first saw itI thought why not project it on a fusuma.

W : The plant in the film, does it grow in spring?

Kosemura : Yes. The shooting of this work, 'Flowering Plants of the Four Seasons-spring,' took place in spring. In the next exhibition, I'm planning to add fall and winter, then the work would be complete with all four seasons. This work could change its form adjusting to the exhibition space. It could be projected on a fusuma or on a wall. It could be projected on two or four screens. Especially exhibiting in a Japanese traditional room where the structure of the walls is intricate, it could make a really interesting picture.

W : This film is like nothing that I have seen before. Is it a painting?

Kosemura : This film consists of assembled photos. First, I composed a 3m wide set, and using a digital camera, I took a photo every hour for 2 months. I took 1500 photos and I edited each one of them on the computer and made them look like a painting. And the film consists of 1500 edited photos. After 2001, I started to make my works using this method.

W : So for 2 months, you kept taking photos. While shooting, did you do anything to it, like touching the flower?

Kosemura : While shooting, I never touched the set. I just collected data from it. After the shooting, I edited the shapes and colors in each photo. Make it look surreal, closer to a painting. But the movements produced by the edited photos are (still) real. Although the shapes and colors have been changed, the real movement still exists. It’s almost as if it’s the only connection left with the real world. In this work, the shapes and colors were changed more than ever. Thus I was very curious about how it would look when the photos were assembled.

W : So what did you feel when you actually saw the film?

Kosemura : When you look at the edited photos, they look just like a painting. But once the photos are assembled and are put in motion, they look real. I felt the power created by the movement. As people watched the flower blooming and dying so naturally, they asked “It is neither CG nor animation. What is it?” Maybe the way the flower died looked very real and too grotesque for a CG. As we are also human beings, maybe we can tell what real movements are even though we have never seen a real flower bloom and die so quickly before. We have no words to describe the movements of humans or the leaves falling from trees. But our instincts tell us, although faint, whether it is CG or whether it is real.

(from WHO003)

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Shuji Sugihara
1976, Born in Kanagawa Japan.
WHO chief editor/art director