"The idea of thinking about Japan as different from anywhere else, including Asia, is seductive. Yet there are many reasons to reject this notion… if we look closer, much of Japan's supposed 'essence' turns out to be a relatively modern distillation." —David Pilling, Bending Adversity, 2014.
The following work is taken from Pinckers's latest project, Two Kinds of Memory and Memory Itself, which looks at the weird place Japan holds in the collective mind of the West. Often seen as isolated and "other", Japan has a unique image, which is in part self-created under the project of nation-building, as well as being a construct of outside perspectives and popular fetishisation.
Japan is a target for Western fantasies, often informed by clichés of barrel-chested, tattooed yakuza, manicured bonsais, cosplayers, wasted bankers and cheery sumos. On arrival in Japan, Pinckers found little evidence of these motifs, and none of them seemed culturally predominant. This conflicting experience resulted in him searching out these constructs within the contemporary Japanese landscape, creating staged scenes influenced by cliché and existing images created by foreigners.
Two Kinds of Memory and Memory Itself was produced for European Eyes on Japan / Japan Today vol. 17, and with the EUFest Japan Committee and the European Capital of Culture 2015.