Body and Time: Allegory at Bee Honey Honeycomb

The following text is taken from Front Magazine vol. IV, no. 5, p. 11, May/June 1993:

Over the last 20 years, Goji Hamada has refined and elaborated a complex personal mythology in which his own body is a site for the exploration of time and space, life and death, and allegorical memory. The body is a double-sided mirror, reflecting both the world outside and its inner nature. Hamada’s props are imbued with rich symbolism and include simple materials (paper, alcohol, honey), basic media (video, Polaroid, radio), and often animals (hands, rabbits, snakes, tortoises, frogs, and on one occasion a six-metre shark).

“The historical background and biological image of certain animals has given rise to myths, legend and folklore. I use animals as cultural metaphors or symbols in order to highlight human existence. Such use of animals also incorporate an ecological viewpoint that animals and mankind both share but one form of life. By observing and listening to these lifeforms, we may find answers to those perpetual questions such as ‘Who am I?’ or ‘Where did I come from and where am I going?’”

Goji Hamada is a major figure in Japanese performance, continually creating new works and organizing events, including an annual festival and symposium in Kyoto. In 1992 he mounted a retrospective of performances and installations at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (catalogue available) and has produced performances in Berlin, Hamburg, Strasbourg, Paris, Barcelona and Nice. This performance is the final one in a major Canadian tour hosted by Western Front, organized by Hank Bull and Ann McDonell, and supported by a grant from the Touring Office of the Canada Council, under the Japan-Canada fund.

A video production consisting of footage from various performances of Hamada’s drawing of a honeycomb-like cloud was made. The video is also interspersed with footage of the nuclear bomb dropped on Japan during the Second World War.