Wakan / Soul Is Film

Edition 1/5+AP

Akimi Ota

Wakan / Soul Is Film, 2021, Single Channel Video, 22min 12sec, Edition 1/5
All images courtesy of the artist

Inspired by the Shuar word “wakan”, which refers to both “soul” and “film”, this video work contemplates the radical correlation between the “invisible” and the “visible”, through an assemblage of fragmented footage filmed during Ota’s long-term anthropological fieldwork in Ecuadorian Amazonia. Intentionally made without subtitles and structured as circular montage, viewers are invited to the elusive stream of life in Amazonia that resists interpretation as well as essentialisation.

About the Artist

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.

  • Akimi Ota

Editor: Aura Contemporary Art Foundation