This chapter discusses the aesthetic, conceptual, and political stakes of Rite for a Dream – Today My Empire Sings, a video installation work by Meiro Koizumi. It was filmed on public streets in Tokyo, especially during a public demonstration where (visible) counter-demonstrators verbally threaten the (invisible) demonstrators. The audience will eventually understand that the demonstration is by the Japanese republicans demanding the abolishment of the Emperor system, who are surrounded by the policemen and the nationalist counter-demonstrators. There is also a fictional and performative narrative about the abduction/expulsion of the (invisible) father of the principal character (visible), performed by a young professional male actor. This overlaps the quasi-documentary video images and makes it possible to interpret this work in light of pharmakos. The work remains somewhat enigmatic, playing with visibility and invisibility, presence and absence, public and private, because the artist wishes to activate the imagination of the viewers by deliberately missing out some key elements and, in so doing, invites them to reflect upon the state of democracy in Japan, and of freedom of expression in particular, which is often suffocated in the country in the name of political neutrality.
ASJC Scopus subject areas