Tokyo is a city of predictable chaos.
Surprising, but only to a safe extent, as intended by the Japanese. It is an environment of norms and principles that spawns extremities. The seemingly unbounded expression of Tokyo’s culture is also cautionary. Manifested in such ways as to make sure that – as is expected in Japan – no one ever feels offended.
Tokyo also means a future that has never happened. I would refrain from calling this city futuristic because it is more of an alternative version of the present. Rather than forwards, Tokyo has moved into a side alley. It looks like the 1980s’ cyberpunk visions of the 21st century, and the denizens of the glassy headquarters of supercorporations here still prefer to send a fax rather than email.
I’ve lived in Tokyo for over five years. I’ve spent most of this time (other than when asleep) with a video camera in my hand. I am a witness to the process that is underway in this city, changing continuously like an artificial intelligence that constantly improves and recompiles its own code. Buildings vanish and are replaced by others in just a few months. In fashion and cuisine, new trends keep coming and going faster than you manage to visit a restaurant you’ve made a mental note of.Tokio 24
is my documentation of the loop experienced by a resident of Japan’s capital every day, over and over again. I want to show the ordinary and the extraordinary elements of the quotidian, both the intimate ones and those pertaining to the city as a whole.
This exhibition is an invitation to take a look at Tokyo through my eyes. To pause, find delight in an innocent detail, and immediately afterwards feel overwhelmed by the city’s massive scale.
Tokyo – a city of contrasts.
One the one hand: incessant commotion, multicoloured lights, modern technologies, cyberpunk chic. On the other: geometric harmony, charming sakura, lazily blossoming gardens, people dozing on the Metro, a gentle tune played on the shakuhachi
. Japan’s capital compels you to experience micro-epiphanies of delight by pausing in its din and taking a closer look at the images of the floating world – much like Edo-period prints.
Many young people admit that their interest in Japan was sparked by viewing video productions by the well known Internet artist Krzysztof Gonciarz. His YouTube channel is subscribed by more than 870,000 people and his vlogs have millions of hits. Krzysztof comes from Krakow but has spent the past few years living in Tokyo. The bulk of his activity is the publication of his productions in the form of a video diary. The Internet floods us with images on a daily basis, so our visual sensitivity – ability to actually ‘experience’ the image that we view – can be dulled. Gonciarz proves that he can rekindle this sensitivity and fascination, by showing the charm of Japan in its full glory – tranquil, close to nature, and at the same time highly technological.
The exhibition tells a tale of a fascinating city in the Land of the Rising Sun – its people, its emotions, its architecture – through his eyes. The film made by the YouTuber will be complemented by an art installation created jointly by the artist and the exhibition curators, Joanna Haba and Monika Pawłowska.
Get out of hikikomori
and dare to experience ukiyoe
One of Poland’s leading Internet video makers, a producer, director, cameraman, editor and narrator, he has over 5,000 productions of different types to his credit (various vlog, travel, comedy, and documentary series).
His YouTube channels are subscribed by a million and a half viewers, and his productions have been recognized and honoured with prizes in such competitions as Kreatura, Golden Arrow, Grand Video Awards, and the Traveler, the award of the Polish edition of National Geographic. He is the co-founder of two production companies: Tofu Media Japan and Tofu Media Polska. An active participant in various artistic events, he was the initiator of Gonkon, a festival straddling art and the Internet, together with his artist friends. Its first edition attracted a crowd of over 1,000; the second edition is scheduled for the autumn of 2019 in Warsaw.
Since 2014, he has lived in Tokyo, Japan.