Kimi Maeda: 8/1/14 – 11/30/14

Artist in Residence, Kimi Maeda 
8/1/14 – 11/30/14

Ephemera was a performance trilogy by Kimi Maeda featuring  interactive objects and installations, along with the premiere of Bend, the final work in the series. Kimi’s use of materials and performance translates the ephemerality and fragility of memory, and identifies the complex relationship between personal and communal identities. Kimi Maeda premiered Bend, the final installment in this trilogy of performances developed over the past fourteen years. Using sand, shadow, and projection, Bend tells the story of two men interned in a Japanese American Relocation Camp during World War II: Kimi’s father, an Asian Art historian, and the subject of his research, Isamu Noguchi, a half-Japanese- half-American sculptor.Kimi Maeda partnered with artist Lyon Hill in 2011 to form Belle et Bête, a puppet production and promotion company here in Columbia. The Spork in Hand Puppet Slams, evenings of short form puppetry that showcase artists from across the Southeast, have been a major component of their work. Slams allow puppeteers to test ideas and push the limits of the art form making them vital to the development of longer puppet endeavors, including Bend. Therefore, it is fitting that Bend shared each evening with Jenny Mae’s Playhouse – an all-local edition of the Spork in Hand Puppet Slam featuring house band We Roll Like Madmen.Maeda states:

“If memory forms our personal identity and shared memory forms our cultural and even racial identity, what does it mean when memories are lost? Bend, the third piece in a shadow-puppet trilogy dealing with my bicultural identity as a Japanese American, will explore this question.

From the beginning of the trilogy I have been searching for a way to tell ephemeral stories by creating a disconnect between objects casting shadows and their two-dimensional projected images. I started with a fairly complicated and cumbersome set-up for The Crane Wife using an overhead projector, lights, fabric collages, props, and furniture, and I moved to a much simpler series of paper-cut-out screens and a moving flashlight in The Homecoming.

For Bend, I have chosen to use sand as my primary medium. Not only does sand call to mind Noguchi’s landscape designs and Zen Buddhist rock gardens, it also has the amazing ability to be both a projection surface as well as an object that can be manipulated to cast shadows. Using a dynamic, moveable light source and simple wooden blocks inspired by Noguchi’s sculptures I will draw and sculpt shadow image after shadow image and then wipe them away so that in the end all that will be left is the audience’s memory of the performance.”

Support for Bend was made possible by the Tapp’s Arts Center, the Jim Henson Foundation, the South Carolina Arts Commission, and the Kō Festival of Performance. Support for the Spork in Hand Puppet Slam was made possible by the Puppet Slam Network and the City of Columbia Hospitality Tax Commission.