K.K. – Japanese video artist

Yesterday I went to see a selection of Japanese video art at MOCA The screenings at MOCA are showcasing contemporary video art: Out of the Ordinary: New Video from Japan.

All of the videos were pretty amazing. But one artist, who simply calls himself “K.K.” caught my eye, and my imagination. The videos we saw were a series he made in one week. At the beginning of the piece, he explains that he is going to create one video per day that week made from tv shows he films at noon each day. Well, apparently, what is showing on Japanese tv at noon during the week is their bright-colored, jokey variety shows. These are the raw material of K.K.’s art, shot from the tv monitor itself. But his work really delves into the insides of these kitchy shows. He splices apart the scenes, presenting the interstitial moments between the conversation. We see sighs, stares, giggles, grunts. Then–and this is the Warholian genius–he uses strobe-fast loops of these mili-second moments to feed them to us in staccato compositions. They sound like the CD is stuck in its track, and they sound like rhythm, and they look just silly.

This is just one technique K.K. uses over and over in these videos. There is more–a brilliant documentary-style exposè into the tv show host’s personal history, a clever conversation between artist and tv show, and a conceptual commentary on what it means to be a video artist, “I am this video feed.”

After the screening, the evening’s curator* explained that K.K. is a mystery artist, living and working in secret. He doesn’t show his works in galleries. The curator only discovered him through another Japanese artist, and only met him once. There were no phone conversations or e-mails. Interesting. I did a quick Google and YouTube search on K.K. and found nothing (at least, nothing in English). I wonder how long it will be until he appears in the underbelly of the ‘net?

*The curator, Gabriel Ritter, is only a Curatorial Assistant at MOCA. Someone give this guy a promotion!


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