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I’ve been working on a screenprinted text piece related to Japanese author Haruki Murakami that started out as a highly complex digital interactive and ended up with all the technology removed, but the interactivity still in place. I was given a Murakami story called ‘Sleep’ to adapt and interpret and became interested in how certain themes crop up in most of his work and how they might combine to form a kind of Murakami genome of motifs. The dominant motifs through which Murakami conveys his idiosyncratic version of Japanese surrealism seem to consists of: cooking, drinking beer, cars and driving, lethargy and ennui, animals (usually but not exclusively cats), awkward sex, and extreme weather events.

I identified examples of these in Sleep and made a 100×150 cm inkjet of the entire English translation of the story over an image of my own with the motifs pulled out in larger type size. On top of this I screened the original Japanese text reversed out of black in thermochromic ink. This ink is heat sensitive and clears to transparent at 27C – just right for human touch. The idea is that by placing your hands or arms on the table you can make the Japanese disappear, revealing the motifs beneath. I am trying to say something about how you have to step back from a text if you want to examine its meta content or overarching themes. Less technology meant more direct tangible and social interaction in this case.

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