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Bordering Practice and Imaginary Line――The Intersecting Scenes of Electronic Music in Asia

Review / Asia Hundreds

Three Music Videos Encapsulating Various Relations

tomad: Following this music collaboration, the project proceeded to the next phase, Imaginary Line. We wanted to output the results of Bordering Project in a way that lots of people could see, so we decided to collaborate on making music videos. Imaginary Line comprised producing these videos and an event.
We made three videos. The first was produced by Double Deer with a track, "Leap (feat. Mantra Vutura & similarobjects)," made by PARKGOLF when he was in Jakarta. The second was made by similarobjects and Gensho Sugahara, combining the different media and means of expression that were sculpture, music, and video. The third featured a new collaborator, the rapper Tohji, working with AntiAntiArt. Imaginary Line was an extension of the encounters and relationships we had formed until that point, though it was also an entirely new challenge in the sense of attempting to work collaboratively in different ways and through different forms of expression.
We will now introduce each video with comments from the collaborators.

Imaginary Line Official Website

Music Videos & Comments from the Creators

1. PARKGOLF (Beatmaker, Producer) [Japan] + Reinhard Samuel Maychaelson Gunawan (Filmmaker) [Indonesia]
PARKGOLF "Leap (feat. Mantra Vutura & similarobjects)"

This hybrid track was made by Japanese, Filipino, and Indonesian music artists taking part in the Bordering Practice project. The music video overseen by the Jakarta-based Double Deer uses traditional dance and clothing to explore the history of Indonesia as well as topical themes related to gender and LGBT issues.
Producer: Rezky Prathama Nugraha (Double Deer)
Produced by Double Deer

Reinhard Samuel Maychaelson Gunawan (hereinafter Rein): When we were staying to make the video, I asked PARKGOLF about what he was trying to say with the track, but he said that it didn't have any particular message! (Laughs) So I decided to make something based on the images I felt intuitively from the track. When I heard it, the first thing I thought was that I wanted to film in a natural setting. In order to explore what I think about Indonesian society, I used video to express the impossibility of symmetry between "female" and "male." In the video, a woman dressed in male clothes dances the lengger*4, which is customarily danced by a man as a woman. The traditions associated with this dance and costume are already being lost in Indonesia, though it simultaneously feels like tolerance in society is also vanishing. In Indonesia, LGBT and gender issues are a taboo, but this situation has become gradually more prominent through conflict with religion. Both genetically and culturally, sex is not something that can be divided by the male-female binary. The video is presenting, through dance, how humankind cannot be placed within this symmetry.

*4 A traditional dance from the Banyumas region in central Java.

PARKGOLF: My first impression when I saw the video was that it was beautiful. My favorite scene is the part when the dancer feeds grass to the deer. I don't make music by incorporating certain meanings or messages into a track but rather music that the listener can feel but also doesn't have to feel or think anything specific. When making a music video, I always leave it up to others to decide what to do as long as it isn't something that I think is totally wrong. That said, I've never thought that until now. (Laughs) I found the process interesting whereby Rein was inspired by this track and could then turn it into a video that incorporated his own themes.

2. similarobjects (Sound artist, DJ / Head of Buwan Buwan Collective) [Philippines] + Gensho Sugahara (Artist, Sculptor) [Japan]

Taking inspiration and the title from Japanese sculptor Gensho Sugahara's series Someone that explores the nature of contemporary anonymity, similarobjects created an original music track. This music video features sculptures embodying digital errors that have been rescanned and projected into virtual spaces. Layering up both the digital and analog, the video presents a new perspective on today's reality.
Director: Nio + suzkikenta
Sculpture: Gensho Sugahara "Someone" by courtesy of TAV GALLERY

tomad: I got involved with producing this video based on a desire to link music with depiction through technology. TAV Gallery director SATO Eisuke introduced me to several artists, among whom Sugahara's artistic style seemed to have something in common with the recent work of similarobjects that uses games and computer graphics, so I thought that they could probably work well together. For the video, similarobjects made a new track based on sculptures by Sugahara. The sculptures were 3D-scanned and a background made using 3D computer graphics. These were then composited together to make the video footage, which features nothing that was actually filmed. When trying to film the sculptures in various places, it was difficult to balance the depiction of the object and the landscape, and there were challenges related to handling a sculpture. And that's why we thought about putting it into 3D. Taking Sugahara's sculptures, the concept behind which includes the anonymity of the digital world, and having it float in a virtual space resulted in a video in which appears something like a reality created by digital technology, or even something like that texture. I'd like to ask similarobjects about your impression when you saw Sugahara's sculptures.

similarobjects: The instant I saw the sculptures, it was something that spoke to me without having to ask Mr. Sugahara about it. I always feel that things are somehow connected, even if not directly connected right there in front of me, and this is a theme that I could also sense in the sculptures. The two sculptures Someone 1 and Someone 2 form a pair, but in the vicissitudes visible in the facial expressions of these statues, something beautiful, something you are glad is there, becomes sad and eventually disappears. I had a sense of this ephemerality. It was something that I felt intuitively, so I then decided to try turning that into music. This process also involved just staring at photos of the sculptures without thinking about anything. And then emotions, sounds, and abstract images sprung up naturally.

tomad: At the production stage, similarobjects suggested several ideas. We also asked Mr. Sugahara's opinion and his view was to make something light where music and video images would intersect, rather than something with a serious tone centered on the sculptures, so it was decided to use this track. The video was directed by Nio and suzkikenta. Though the minimal combination of buoyant-feeling sound and sculpture strips away the expressive implications of the video, the contrast between the light and the background resulted in something that is enjoyable to watch.

similarobjects: When I first saw the finished music video, it was deeply moving. To make the music, all I did was just stare at the sculptures, so the images of the sculptures were already incorporated into my body. It felt like those images had become a video.

3. Tohji (Rapper) [Japan] + AntiAntiArt (Filmmaker Collective) [Vietnam]
Tohji "HI-CHEW"

The up-and-coming Hanoi-based group of filmmakers AntiAntiArt created a new music video for "HI-CHEW," a track originally included on "angel," the debut mixtape by the popular young Tokyo rapper Tohji. The result of a close exchange between two different teams spread across Tokyo and Hanoi, the video's collaborative style and techniques for creating the visual images embody a bottom-up approach that is typical of the contemporary scene.
Producers: Keiichi Toyama, An Khang (AntiAntiArt)
Produced by AntiAntiArt

TOYAMA Keiichi: The production of this music video started from when Tohji went to Hanoi and did a showcase there, which AntiAntiArt saw. The actual production involved us on the Japanese team going to Vietnam to shoot and then AntiAntiArt coming to Tokyo for a shoot. Unlike the other two videos, Tohji's video was made by going back and forth between Japan and Vietnam, with the shoot in Vietnam taking place in a studio and then in Tokyo at various locations, so the preparation and coordination was tough. The studio shoot was all done in Hanoi, though studio rental and construction were much more affordable than in Tokyo, so we could achieve a level of quality unattainable with a production in Japan. In particular, the computer graphics could be created in Vietnam by a single individual, allowing us to realize something much more cheaply than if we hired a big production company in Japan. The final video was really interesting, reflecting the direction and expressive style of the collaborators in Vietnam.
I have taken part in this project each time since Bordering Practice, and what I could feel was that there is a significant difference in the communication that comes out of doing showcases and talks, and the exchange that comes out of doing actual production work. By actually trying to make something this time, it seemed like we were really engaged in international exchange. (Laughs) It was a process of mutual understanding and solving together the little differences that appeared in terms of emphasis and habits, from the money to the credits and how the production progressed. Collaborating through creating something together, rather than just sharing a place or event, was the most important thing in terms of the experience.

AntiAntiArt: Tohji is a truly unique artist. Just like this music, everything about him from his appearance to his style feels very special. This production was like an opportunity to take international friendship to extremes. The hardest thing during the production was editing it in a short time after the shoot was over. As time was limited, we had to rush through the whole process from preparing the set to the studio shoot. Before we knew it, everything was over, but meeting again like this online makes us wish we could be there with you all.

A photo of Tohji
Tohji's performance in Hanoi (at the live music event Call Back from Hanoi—Pop & Electronic Sounds in Asia) that led to his collaboration with AntiAntiArt