Vancouver artist, Cindy Mochizuki, considers the passage of time, life and death and the power of dreams in a new body of work, Cave to Dream. Presented as a live performance and a multi-medium installation with hand drawn animation, sound and live action video, Mochizuki skilfully combines the two forms to create a theatrical setting for four fictional stories Onyx, Salt, Shadow and Snow to unfold. The narratives are told by human and non-human characters that move through various dreamscapes, environments and psychic spaces within the metaphor of the cave.
The installation is based on the artist’s 2017 research in Akita-ken, Japan examining the traditional folklore and ritual practices maintained by the residents of the region. One long-standing performative practice attracting the artist’s attention was the annual visit of the Namahage demon on December 31. Traditionally performed by young men from the community dressed in the frightening masks and straw capes of the Namahage, they visit homes to measure how the inhabitants have spent their year.
Creatures like the Namahage reflect generations old traditions of understanding the cyclical nature of the passage of time, endings and beginnings, life and death and what it means to ‘reset’ or to start again from the beginning. Mochizuki draws from these familiar and yet foreign forms of storytelling, myths and ways on which communities build meaning in everyday lives and traditions. The short films Salt, Onyx, Shadow and Snow share conversations of human and creature relationships that offer new ways of interpreting beginnings and endings – boundaries of life and death.
In November Mochizuki will present two live performances. Four performers playing the traditional Akita-ken Namahage will lead visitors through the cinematic spaces to experience each story – each offering different perspectives.
Cave to Dream brings together speculative fiction, experimental cinema, ritual, magic, and live-performance storytelling. Mochizuki’s distinctive handwork is evident in the spirited and tender ink and wash drawings that form the animated imagery in the films. Small-scale theatrical sets, masks and porcelain game pieces crafted by the artist for the performance expand her aesthetic expression into three-dimensional space.
Cave to Dream is a departure from Mochizuki’s previous bodies of work, which have explored the effects of racialized trauma, history and memory from a familial and personal viewpoint. In this new project that relies on fictional narratives, Mochizuki’s focus has shifted to examining processes of moving image work and developing structures for amplifying the materiality and theatricality of her short films.
About the Artist:
Cindy Mochizuki creates multi-media installation, audio fiction, performance, animation, and drawings. Her works explore the manifestation of story and its relationship to site-specificity, invisible histories, archives, and memory work. Her artistic process moves back and forth between multiple sites of cultural production considering language, chance, improvisation and engaging communities. She has exhibited, performed and screened her work in Canada, US, and Asia. Exhibitions include the Frye Art Museum (Seattle, Washington), Yonago City Museum (Yonago, Japan), The New Gallery (Calgary), Hamilton Artists Inc. (Hamilton), and Koganecho Bazaar (Yokohama). In 2015, she received the Vancouver’s Mayor’s Arts Award in New Media and Film. She received her MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the School For Contemporary Arts (2006).