Shoji Yamasaki

Final Performance Reflection

Mar 13, 2011 by Shoji

Using the concept of a timer, for my final performance, I made a little typing game. I had a block of text and the player had to re-type as much as they can below in one minute. I had three players and three different controversial texts and three different timers. The first player had a text coming from a magazine in Spain called Sección Femenina in 1958 about how wives should treat her husbands and the counter counted down normally (1:00 – 0:00). The second player had a text of part of the speech of Congressman Rankin in 1942 during World War II about how the Japanese should be eradicated from the United States and the counter went up (1:00 – 2:00). The third player had a text of part of the speech from Sally Kern in 2008 about how homosexuality was destroying the nation and this time, the counter began from 1:00 and ended at 0:00 but there were glitches in between, going back and forth.

Thinking back to my three studies that I did in DESMA 199 Technology and Performance, I was quite unsure about which one I should do. I felt most were somewhat weak performances and I thought of doing the last study performance of “Darumasann ga koronda” but I knew that the result that I got with my class mates, I knew that it probably would not be able to recreate it. Watching the show, “A Minute to Win It” I had an idea of redoing the witness study and doing a game show. The whole concept was that as the players type in the text, they are more concerned about finishing the text than what it “really” means. The witness part was the audience, watching and reading what the players are typing.

The reaction that I received from the audience was incredible. Initially, in the stages of the brainstorming, I was going to have the audience countdown towards the end of the timer but without saying anything they did it! It was also interesting to see the players hesitate a little bit when they saw the text and the things that they had to type. Upon talking with our classmates, many said that it was hard for them to read the text and that next time, maybe I should make the font bigger OR I should have the font small and after the player has typed however much they have, I would ask them to make the font of the part that they typed bigger for the audience to see. From my performance, I felt this connection between every audience and looked like they knew each other already, especially when the players came up, people rooted with their names and such. One of the general discussions that came up was that how out performance would have changed if the audience was different. I am not quite sure how it would have been different but I feel like people would have not rooted or counted down like they did this time because of the lack of connection between the player and the audience. Another comment that I received from this final performance was to speak a little more loudly because from the audience, it looked like I was just talking to them rather than letting the audience know what was going on.

I was quite pleased with the outcome of my performance and the group of audience that would have not been fun without them. My weakness however of my performance was the lack of knowledge I have with computers and other technologies which made it harder for me to do / make some things such as a counter which took me FOREVER to do.

Study #3 Reflection

Mar 4, 2011 by Shoji

Stretching the concept similarly with the agit-prop performance, I used a counting method for this week’s theme of witness. As a class, I took them outside and we played a favorite pastime game played by Japanese children called “Darumasann ga koronda,” literally meaning the Daruma doll fell down, which has 10 syllables and we say that instead of counting, “one, two, three,…”

The process of figuring out a performance with this theme was a little tricky as to what witness was about with the technology of an alarm clock. Using the concept of time, Emily helped me hone in to a particular performance. Beginning with a commonly associated destructive material or a time bomb, where it was then abstracted a little bit and thought of having people make something in a certain amount of time and there were consequences if they did not; however, upon further thought, it would be more like a involuntary forced work where someone can say, “no, I am NOT doing this!” and walk away. I wanted to keep the performance ambiguous and keep the audience engaged, seeking what I am trying to tell them what to do. I then thought of “Darumasann ga koronda” and decided to do everything in Japanese. The way this works is the “it” person faces the wall and shouts “Darumasann ga koronda” which is the same as counting one through ten but with syllables as the players on the opposite side tries to get as close as they can to the “it” person. The “it” person then looks back after saying that and everybody who is on the opposite side must freeze. The one who moves becomes a captive with the “it” person and must hold hands. The players then must free them when they get to the “it” person and say “kitta!” which translates to “I cut it!” where the captives and the players run as fast as they can as I count “one, two, three… ten!” and say “Stop!” where the players freezes. The “it” person must now take 10 steps and if the “it” person touches one of the players, they do rock, paper, scissor, and the loser would now become the “it.” In the case that the “it” person does not reach to one of the players, “it” must be the “it” again. I decided to begin the performance with the “assumption” that the classmates “knew” what game they were going to play and the witness part was the part where they were captured by the “it” person and had to hold hands.

The reaction that I received upon playing this game was a COMPLETE surprise and I had absolutely no idea what was going to turn out. When I took everybody outside and explained to them in Japanese about this game, and began to play, everybody thought that I was playing the game hide-and-seek so EVERYBODY ran as fast as they could and I did not have that reaction to be in my agenda. As I tried to go find people to say that we were not playing that game, people still did not understand and kept on running and I had to run also and told them that it wasn’t the game that we were playing, in Japanese. When I collected few people, while some others still thought I was playing hide-and-seek, I began playing “Daumasann ga koronda,” first explaining them in Japanese with hand and body gestures. The end seemed a little confusing also but it was OK. During the discussion, some people mentioned that it was unnecessary to say everything in Japanese and would be interesting to even do everything in English. Another person also mentioned about maybe doing the game in Japanese but keep on changing the rules so that the audience is engaged and confused, trying to figure this game but never figuring it out. There was another mentioning of playing this in a controlled environment where people would not have any place to hide. Many agreed that when a player turns his back, the first game that comes to their mind is hide-and-seek.

I am not quite sure if this was a good or bad performance but rather an “interesting” performance. The last thing that I would think of was people screaming and running as fast as they can from my performance. However, after the classmates somewhat re-grouped, the performance aspect and the confusion associated with it, being lost in translation was interesting to see. With this performance as a whole, it felt like a disaster but it was a beautiful disaster that I know would not happen again.

Study #2 Reflection

Mar 4, 2011 by Shoji

Stretching the technology of alarm clock, using numbers, I used a counter that counts up every 60 seconds. My performance was about the issue surrounding the impulse buys and dumping of rabbits after Easter season. Placing myself in front of the class and sitting, I informed and tried to educate my classmates about rabbits and talked about my rabbits, while having a computer on my lap, counting up “one” every 60 seconds.

Since the theme was using agit-prop, it was not that hard for me to choose what I strongly believe in. Being a rabbit rescuer and taking care of a disabled rabbit, I soon learned the reality of these so-called “pets” that becomes “trash” after they are bought from a pet store or from a breeder. I then tried to incorporate an “aspect” of the alarm clock which later became the “counter.” The hardest part of my performance was acquiring the statistics of the number of rabbits dumped. I have thought of finding some other statistics such as the number of rabbits / pets euthanized at shelters nationwide. I even have contacted the president of House Rabbit Society (HRS) about the statistics and she also had absolutely no idea. Therefore, I made up the number of rabbits being dumped every 60 seconds.

The reaction that I received from the audience was very insightful and interesting. Someone mentioned how he was somewhat blocking what I was saying because it sounded like an advertisement or something. Another person also mentioned passing around my computer or something around indicating the care that it takes for taking care of a rabbit in an abstract way. It was interesting in a way when people started paying attention to the part where I began talking d-about my hind-leg paralyzed rabbit Roger, who I have been taking care of 24/7 for 3 years and mentioned that they felt sympathetic once I started talking about Roger. Some one liked the whole fidgety part where I had to get the paper out that says “Number of rabbits dumped during this presentation.”

Although I do believe that this was not REALLY strong of a performance, I am satisfied with the outcome and the responses that I received. One of the factors for the whole “advertisement” sounding was also because I was recovering from flu and I was all stuffed up and could not hear myself. I think one of the major flaws was that I was not able to find the statistics of the exact number of rabbit dumped at either parks, shelters, or both.


Jan 13, 2011 by Shoji

Alarm Clock Presentation