Narrating Our Possessions

  • Yoshinori Niwa

  • Presented by — Edel Assanti

  • Yoshinori Niwa, Pricing My Own Belongings at the Market, 2022, video still Cortesy of Edel Assanti
hand-drawn illustration by the artist Yoshinori Niwa showing a performer crawiling on their hands and knees into a gallery space while on the phone

Instructions

Narrating Our Possessions consists of one performer, two mobile phones (iPhone preferred, but other models are also acceptable) and a stereo speaker set + amplifier. The performance is announced to take place outdoors and in the gallery at the same time. This means that the audience has to choose which location they wish to view the work. At the announced time, the performer appears approximately 350m away from the exhibition space with his mobile phone.

  • The performer’s phone should be connected by a phone call to the second phone that is stationed at the gallery and plugged into the stereo speaker.
  • The performer slowly crawls towards the exhibition space. The performer reads into the phone textual information seen along the way (e.g. advertisements in supermarkets, restaurant menus, names of coffee shops, outdoor advertisements, text on T-shirts of passers-by), occasionally screaming out.
  • The audience can follow the performer to the gallery.
  • The audience in the exhibition space will be able to hear the performer’s recital of texts.
  • Approximately 10 minutes after the start of the performance, the performer arrives at the exhibition space.
  • The Performer enters the gallery crawling. The performer continues to read out text seen on the clothing, shoes and accessories of the audience.
  • The performance ends when the Performer has read all the texts that can be seen in the exhibition space

Artist Statement

Narrating Our Possessions aims to examine how commercial advertisements spread across public spaces affect us. Walking along the street, we see advertisements for supermarkets, slogans for new insurance companies, new products for a brand, rental properties, restaurant menus, etc., although we probably rarely read them aloud. However, commercial advertising, often in a commanding tone, attempts to quietly intervene in our personal lives. As a result, our lives have unknowingly become slaves to these commercial advertisements.

In this work, I hypothesise that the numerous commercial advertisements found on the street are ‘our possessions’. I randomly select an advertisement I see on the street and read it over my mobile phone as I crawl to the gallery. At first you may not know what I am reading, but as the performance progresses it becomes clear what I am ‘reading’. By doing this, I am trying to reclaim public space.

Conditions of Production

The performance will be performed by the artist Yoshinori Niwa as much as possible. However, another performer is permitted to perform, if the following conditions are met.

  • The performer must be an amateur and have no dance experience, and must not rehearse or practise except for testing the equipment.
  • The performer must be dressed in their own clothes.
  • The organisers will pay the performer the fees and transport costs in line with standard prices of the host country.

It is expected that the work will be presented simultaneously in both the exhibition space (e.g. gallery or museum) and the outdoor space, clearly indicating that there are two places where the performance will take place at the same time and that the choice of which place is up to the audience. The route from the outdoor space to the gallery should be in a dense area of restaurants and commercial premises, with no steps.

Rules of documentation

The audience and production team may record still images, video and audio of the performance. It is not a substitute for the work itself, but can be used only for PR, research and archival purposes. The video documentation that accompanies the purchase of the work may only be exhibited as a substitute for the performance if agreed with the artist.

Collectables

  • One of the video editions (5 + 1 AP), which is a compilation of the documentary video and photographs of the premiere performance provided on a USB stick
  • The purchase of this performance work includes the right to two performances by Yoshinori Niwa. Further performances will be discussed with both parties.
  • Certificate of work
  • Performance instructions

Equipment

  • iPhone × 2
  • RCA Cable iPhone, Lightning to RCA Cable × 1
  • Mixer amplifier × 1
  • Stereo speaker set with strand × 1
  • For documentation, where possible but not necessary

  • 1 videographer films at the gallery
  • 1 videographer films in the public space

Narrating Our Possessions