En-en, 2021, Single Channel 4K Video, 14min 8sec
All images courtesy of the artist
En-en is an experimental video work that stands at the intersection of visual art, documentary and sensory ethnography. The video is entirely shot in Atami, a Japanese city intricately surrounded by rocky coasts and forested mountains, which is also renowned for its glorious past as a popular resort destination. Documenting a gardener who has been working for iconic Hotel New Acao for more than five decades protecting its beautiful Herb Garden from wild animals, the video then juxtaposes images of him with strikingly haptic images shot underseas as well as within the forest. In so doing, this work metaphorically evokes the fundamental entanglement of distinctive elements in this city where humans, animals and other beings co-exist through certain predatory relationships.
Akimi Ota (B.1989, Tokyo) is a filmmaker, anthropologist and visual artist based in Tokyo. His works explore the possibilities of incorporating ‘otherness’ in the ever-complicating contemporary world by involving cinematography, photography, sounds and texts. Especially concerned with the current shifts in the ways people relate to their living environment and the historically constructed tensions among people, plants, animals and other beings that affect those changes, Akimi creates perceptions that dissolve categorical thinking through his works. His ethnographic film about the Shuar people of Ecuadorian Amazonia ‘KANARTA: Alive in Dreams’ (2020) has been screened in international film festivals in Lisbon, Quito, Belgrade and other places, later being theatrically released in Japan and awarded ‘Prize for Excellence’ by Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan in 2022. His solo exhibitions ‘Wakan: Soul Is Film’ (2021, The 5th Floor, Tokyo) and ‘Alive in Dreams’ (2022, BnA Kyoto, Kyoto) revolved around video art, photography and sound art, experimenting with the creative margins often omitted in the making of cinema.