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List of Works: Ko Nakajima


Ko nakajima

description of WORKS

These descriptions are compiled by Hirofumi Sakamoto from his interview during the 2018 Collection Survey, and have been reviewed by Sen Uesaki and Ann Adachi-Tasch. Translation into English by Taro Masushio. 

1:Anapoko / 穴ポコ1963, 7 min, 16mm film, color, sound

After graduating from Tama University of Arts, Nakajima made this work with the intention of submitting to the Sogetsu Animation Festival. Without much funding to work with, Nakajima devised the technique “Kaki-mation,” a method of drawing directly on 35mm film. At this time, he frequented Studio Zero—the formative mainstream animation / cartoon production company of the period with members Shinichi Suzuki, Jiro Tsunoda, Fujiko Fujio, and others.  



2:Seizoki / 精造機 |1964, 4 min, 16mm film, color, sound

This is an animation using the “Kaki-mation” technique. This piece can be shown as a multiscreen piece with 3 screens.



3:Horizon / 水平線 | 1971, 7:30 min

This work was created to commemorate the reversion of Okinawa to Japan.



4:Biological Cycle / 生物学的サイクル|1971-1982, film and video, color, sound

The series, based on the first 16mm film that was shot in a studio with Nakajima’s family and birds, moves through media and processing transformations over many iterations over the years. Once transferred to video, digital effects were added using the “Animaker,” an electronic image synthesizer that he invented (also nicknamed “Ko-puter”). Total of 6 parts exist.



5:My Life / マイ・ライフ|1974-, video, sound

This work was started in 1967 as a documentation of Nakajima’s life. The footages were edited to comprise a piece for the first time in 1974, in time to show the work to the curator Barbara London, who was visiting Japan. Generations in his family were passed on that year, with Nakajima's mother passing away, and then his child was born. The piece is an installation with two monitors; the left presents his mother and himself, and the right, his child and himself. Nakajima continues to work on the sequels of "My Life" with his grandchild.



6: Under a Bridge / 橋の下から | 1974, 13 min, video, b/w, sound

Under A Bridge documents an interview of a locally known man who lives under a bridge. The documentation was later broadcast on Video Earth Tokyo's affiliated cable television network. Initially showing anger and frustration to the Video Earth members, the man gradually opens to the collective members, ultimately sharing personal stories about his life.



7:[A graveyard and beggar] / 墓地と乞食|1975

A work of Video Earth Tokyo, it is an interview with a homeless who lived in the Aoyama cemetery. Photography by Michael Goldberg.



8:Shinkansen Researching Foods / 新幹線研究食|1975, 10 min, video

A work of Video Earth Tokyo. Carrying in the rice cooker to the Shinkansen (express train), the group cooked rice between Tokyo and Nagoya. As the train arrives, they started to have a dinner party on the platform.



9:What is Photography? / 写真とは何か?|1976, video

This piece considers the relationship of looking and being looked at. It is a two-channel installation piece on monitors. One monitor shows a video of a group of naked men photographing a nude model sitting on a table. The other monitor presents the still pictures taken by the men.



10: Tantra / タントラ | 1980, video

This is a computer graphic piece made at Osaka University.



11:Mont Fuji / 富士山|1984

Nakajima took interest in the photographs of Mount Fuji taken by Kurayama Saito, who had been documenting Mt. Fuji for decades. Eventually, Nakajima ended up pitching a project based on the photographs to Nikkatsu (Japanese entertainment company), which led to producing a video piece. In the mid-80s, environmental video was in trend and they were able to secure large funding to produce the work.



12: Dolmen / ドルメン | 1987, video

A work produced in Brittany, France, with funding from the French government and employing local CG artists, the main subject is the Stonehenge.



13: Rangitoto / ランゲトート|1988, 16:30 min, video

A sequel to Dolmen, the work features Rangitoto, a volcano in New Zealand that resembles Mount Fuji. Produced in New Zealand, the project was funded by a local television station.



14 Esprits de Sel / 塩のエスプリ | 1990, 13:20 min, video

This work features the salt marshes of Montpellier France, and uses computer graphics to create fantastical imagery.



15: Hindu Spirit / ヒンズースピリット | 2001, video

This is piece was filmed in India, and is still in production.



16: Dance of the Dead / 死者の舞 | 2014-, 15 min, video

Made at the sites of the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, this work is a collaboration with Butoh danceter Takumi Harada. The work is currently still in production.



17:[Wheelchair Stands at Fuji] / 車椅子富士に立つ|1978

A work of Video Earth Tokyo, the piece documents a person on a wheelchair climbing Mount Fuji.



18: ["Exiled artists from Soviet Unison" exhibition at the Fourth Tokyo Exhibition, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum'] / 第4回東京展(東京都美術館)における「ソ連亡命作家展」| 1978

A Video Earth Tokyo work, it is a documentation of the exhibition on exiled Soviet artists, at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. Part of the footage was provided to the Kangawa television per their request for a daytime tabloid-style news program (September 26, 1978). At the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum entrance, Video Earth Tokyo presented an installation of twenty TV monitors. Video Earth Tokyo’s membership at the time was roughly thirty people, who were mostly students at the photography school where Nakajima taught.



19: [Ackerman Document] / アッカーマン来日ドキュメント 


20: [Picture Book Author Tashima Seizo and Shizuka the Goat] / 絵本作家 田島征三と山羊のしずか 


21:[China Tour Document of JAA Trip] / 中国訪問の旅 JAA旅行の記録|1979-1981

This is a documentation of a trip to China organized by the Japan Animation Association (JAA). Members in the trip included Osamu Tezuka and Nobuhiro Aihara. The documentation of the 1979 trip is lost. These documentations are not meant to be edited.



22: [Document of Nosaka Akira Upper House Election] / 野坂昭如参議院選挙の記録|1974

The documentation includes the assembly event held by Shoichi Ozawa at Kinokuniya bookstore, and others. They were shot on 16mm film and video. The sound for the 16mm was not synchronically recorded, but later added asynchronously using an optical recording. Since video was not yet known as a sturdy medium, both film and video were used. This work is not well known because it is lent out only upon request.



24: [Takenoko-zoku] / 竹の子族|1980-1981

This is a documentation of the “Takenoko-zoku” or the “Bamboo Shoot Tribe,” who did Cossack-style dances in Harajuku. When it was screened at the Video Culture International Festival in Toronto, Laurie Anderson saw it and found it interesting, and asked me to produce a music video for her. Upon returning to Japan, I added the sound and finished the music video. Photography by Michal Goldberg.



25: [Rakuda] / 駱駝

This documents the Butoh performances at Rakuda-kan, often following from the performers’ preparations in the greenroom. It was lent to Rakuda-kan numerous times. Nakajima has been shooting Man Uno, the former Rakuda-kan Butoh dancer over the years.



26:[My Friend] / マイ・フレンド|c.1974

This is a piece features “Chika-chan,” a woman Nakajima dated before his marriage. “My Life” series centers on his relationship with his wife, whereas “My Friend” series centers on his friendship with Chika-chan. After Chika-chan married a man named Peter Sato, who was imcarcerated in the Yokohama Prison, Nakajima filmed their visit at the prison.



27: [Train Meal] / 食事電車 


28:Have a Seat|1981

A documentation about wheelchar basketball, the piece follows the players from the finals in Japan to the oversees game in Texas. The funding for filming in Texas came from a Japanese association for bicycling. This basketball team had connection to the group that climbed Mount Fuji in Nakajima’s video Wheelchair Stands at Fuji.



29: [Issei Miyake] / イッセイ・ミヤケ|1975


30: [Early Work of Video Earth: Izu Shimota CATV / Hokkaido Ikeda CATV] / ビデオアース東京初期:伊豆下田CATV・北海道池田町CATV | Early 1970's

When Keiji Ito, a new member of Video Earth Tokyo, expressed an interest in starting a cable television station in Shimoda, the collective brought in and wired the coaxial cables themselves, and established a local transmission studio, broadcasting live to about 20-30 homes. The contents of the program were community-based guerrilla programs, continuous shot of the clock for time signaling, and other kinds of material. As this was a project for the local community, we did not broadcast any individual work that is experimental in nature. This project became independent in 1978 as Video Earth K2, and continues to operate to this day (Shimoda Cable TV Broadcast Co., Ltd.)  We found out later that there was a cable television operation in Ikeda-cho, and covered their story as well.



31: [Rolling Coconut] / ローリング・ココナッツ 

A document of anti-whaling concert.



32:[Kurohime Yama Picture Book School] / 黒姫山 絵本学校|1970s

This is a footage of Nakajima’s lecture at the Picture Book School.



33:[Tsuge Yoshiharu Interview] / つげ義春インタビュー 

This is an interview with Yoshiharu Tsuge. Interviewer is Seizo Tajima.



34: [Ono Yoko] / オノ・ヨーコ|1974

This is a documentation of One Step Music Festival in Fukushima.



35:[Others] / その他 


36: [Victor Third Tokyo Video Festival] / ビクター第3回東京ビデオフェスティバル 

Critical of the commercially-sponsored video event, Tokyo Video Festival, Nakajima documented the festival as a form of a commentary. In a discussion with a friend at Victor Corporation, Nakajima was the original instigator for the idea of a video festival, but the idea was taken over to become the Tokyo Video Festival. Nakajima’s original idea was closer to that of a showcase of cable television.



37: [Under a Tree] / ちょっと木の下で | c.1975

This 16mm film was made during university classes by the members of Video Earth Tokyo. The protagonist is a man crossdressing as a woman, a theme reminiscent of the underground films of the time.




A documentation of Nakajima’s invitation to visit ZKM in which he worked on a collaborative piece with other artists, but because the production took a long time, he left without seeing its completion.



39: [Nagoya Design Expo] / 名古屋デザイン博 

A documentation of the Nagoya Design Expo organized by Katsuhiro Yamaguchi. A piece by Ed Emshwiller is documented among others.



40: [Animaker] / アニメーカー | c.1982

Produced by Michael Goldberg, this is a demonstration video of the “Animaker," a video synthesizer developed by Nakajima and Sony. The Animaker automatically takes frame-by-frame shots and performs effect processing. Mr. Morita, who was the president of Sony at the time, gave money to artists like Nakajima. The Animaker became commercially available and sold about 100 units. After this, shooting frame-by-frame function became common in cameras.



41:[Takeda Seiyaku] / タケダ製薬


42:[Mandara] / マンダラ


43:[Document of Yamashita Kikuji] / 山下菊二ドキュメント


44:Compilation / コンピレーション


past CCJ Projects

2018: Ko Nakajima collection survey

2015-2016: Screening

Thursday, March 3, 2016 at International House Philadelphia
Friday, September 11, 2015 at Grey Art Gallery at New York University

Image: Still from Ko Nakajima,  What is Photography? , 1976. Courtesy the artist

Image: Still from Ko Nakajima, What is Photography?, 1976. Courtesy the artist