Cloud Drive, 2016
In the occasion of Lectures for the Arts in Digital Media Program at the HfK Bremen. Auditorium of the University of the Arts of Bremen
Photo: Cassia Vila
Cloud Drive is a talk about fog, clouds and visibility as an artist. It shows a collection of videos of a weekend getaway of Lucas Odahara and his family to the coast of the state of São Paulo in Brazil, and discusses the characteristics of the climate conditions found on the way.
The talk was directed to first semester students in the Master Program of Arts in Digital Media at the HfK Bremen and it questions the placement of visibility within one’s practice. How does one learn to grasp the idea of their own work as a cloud – as something discrete, visible by others from the distance while also allowing oneself to think about it as fog – when visibility is scarce and boundaries blur, when points of reference are gone, and where navigation skills are necessary.
Dictation and the Museum of Language, 2016
On the occasion of Add-on: Systematically flawed extensions with Lucas Odahara, Ian Hatcher and Neda Saeedi - Lettrétage - Literatur Haus Kreuzberg, Berlin
Dictation and the Museum of Language is a talk about language in times of political crisis. Odahara presents the two uses of the verb to dictate: as the action of giving orders and the action of saying something aloud to be written down. During the whole talk Vince Tillotson writes down what Odahara says, trying effortlessly to follow the speech. Odahara then presents the misspellings of his japanese surname that took place since his grandparents moved to Brazil, and connects it to the dictatorship in the country and to the Museum of Portuguese Language in São Paulo that was destroyed by fire in 2015. A time of big political upheaval in Brazil that culminated in the process of impeachment of Dilma Roussef, the elected president at the time, led by the right wing in the country.
Real State, 2016
On the occasion of Immigration Office’s book release We Hope This Finds You Well. Städtische Galerie Bremen
Photo: Zhe Wang
Real State is a talk based on the observation of temporary buildings visited by Lucas Odahara in 2016.
The buildings under observation are: the international airport in Brussels, the refugee camp at the Überseestadt in Bremen and the Frieze Art Fair in London. The common feature that brings these distinct places together being the building material of each of these structures, as they are all temporary white tents.
The airport in Brussels, after the bombing that took place on March 22nd 2016, temporarily reconstructed part of its structure so that the passengers could start using the airport again. White plastic tents were used to create a new entrance to the airport, surrounded by military force. Inside the tent (not visible from the outside), concrete walls were erected to prevent free movement. The same type of white tent structure was used to build the temporary refugee camp in Bremen. And the same material was observed at the Frieze Art Fair in London, one of the most visited art fairs in the world. The fair being temporarily built every year at Regent’s park.
The talk focuses on these seemingly similar white tents built in different parts of Europe, that as temporary as it may look, hold other kinds of systems of social separation that works more permanently than its physical structure.
IMAGERY OF PLACES THAT NO ONE HAS EVER BEEN; BUT WE ARE ALL DYING TO CONQUER
Lecture (transcription), 2015
(Performed at the University of Arts of Bremen, January 2015)
First of all excuse my use of the English language.
This is the reason why I’ve decided to share with you also my speech in written form. These words on the projection are my personal notes, a score to be followed by myself on my private screen. And for tonight I sort of wrote them on a fashion in which sounds maybe as if they were written spontaneously. I hope that it is slightly more entertaining. (cross arms)
I thought this was also a way we diminish the misunderstandings between my accent and our knowledge of this foreign common language.
I’m talking tonight about a kind of image that triggers in me an amplified feeling of space and which I call it as
Imagery of places that no one has ever been - but we are all dying to conquer.
This kind of image for me is special because it’s made from far away, from the distance, and that distance is what allows desire and the will of conquering, the will of finding such a place, (pause) to come to life.
I find that image sometimes as a place I inhabit when daydreaming, or a fantastic landscape described on a well written book, or on photoshopped images of a far away deserted holiday destination. Or even on images taken from satellites of landscapes on different planets.
What all of them have in common is that they make me wonder if maybe that place actually exists, if they are pure fiction or reality. And if I could actually walk (hand gesture) on those lands. And when I start wondering that, I realize that I can host most of my mythologies, my fears and desires on this image of a place no one else has ever been but that I’m dying to conquer for myself.
Take the idea for example of a deserted island, a spot on earth that no man has yet set their feet.
It is there, where no one has ever been that we find a most precious dream, the dream of casting oneself away from whatever we have around us, of starting anew, of recreating everything from scratch.
Such a place is also the proof that something exists outside our own existence, and that there lies the original, the pure.
I was taught for example to believe that there are no unknown deserted islands on earth anymore. that every piece of the Earth is there, written on a map somewhere. That means that I would never find Andromeda chained to her rock, or Zeus hiding from his father Chronus, or Atlantis, or an eternal lover which can only exist on such a place.
I feel like we are in times when human kind has been efficient enough over the last decades to make every corner of the earth visible (or at least that’s a feeling we’ve grown used to over the last decades). That we can find everyplace on a map, (pause - thinking) or that everyplace that is to be found is on a map. and that everyplace that is already on a map is already found. (smile)
Last year, for example, at the time of the disappearance of the malaysian airlines flight, I was very surprised with the terrifying feeling which most of the people around me had. And on how the news was talking about it as something unimaginable on the fact that an airplane could go missing somewhere on the ocean and no human being could tell exactly where.
And I realized then that this common fear that spread around us was due to the fact that the myth of a completely and constantly over-watched (hand gesture) earth, was disrupted. I mean, If there was a huge plane completely missing somewhere on Earth, that means that there were places not being watched, or even maybe places no one has ever been.
After the Malaysian airlines mysterious disaster It was as if we were immediately brought again to a moment in time where blank zones on a map existed. Missing parts of a reality that happens without any of our presence as human kind. Like on this map here, (point to the map) the carta marina from the 16th century where Olaus Magnus draws the nordic countries and also all the sea monsters around. (gaze away) Because you see, this is what happens, when we are aware of the existence of this kind of place, that we know there is no human being around and it sort of has a life on its own, it’s there that mythology can grow wild. It is on those blank zones on a map, that we immediately start to project OUR sea monsters. OUR fears and desires. OUR fantastic theories of what may have happened to a missing plane.
And it is those blank zones on a map that make us navigate across unknown waters in order to find the images that we created. To caress the soul of the explorer within us and conquer these places.
The amount of energy that we as human beings invest in reaching those places that no one has ever been before is incredible.
The explorer is that who by playing with words, symbols and objects on top of a wooden desk creates places, new places that exist between the image that brought him to the new lands and the reality he found there. And it is a rewarding feeling the creation of the first images of the places that until then no one has ever been. (the following sentences slower now) To be the first to step on the stone. The first to set the flag. The first to name it. The first to build its images.
I’m sure also that what I’m saying has something to do with the colonial past of my country of origin, and how we are the colonized and the colonizers at the same time.
How I grew up filled with great stories of great navigation endeavors from my portuguese ancestors, and at the same time great stories of a greater time when my indigenous ancestors lived in a land without a map of itself, when all there was were blank zones.
And even on another instance, how my Japanese ancestors found their way through the ocean’s sea monsters in order to conquer a piece of the promised land to plant cotton.
It’s haunted by the combination of all the hope and promises of a new land that no one has ever been, together with the nostalgia of an era where mythology could run free above an unmapped land that I prefer to look up beyond the foreseeable sky where satellites send images full of blank zones,
**IMAGES 5-20 (take your time, pass them slowly while speaking)
because there we can still find images of places no one has ever been but that we are all dying to conquer. Those machines that we release out on the cosmos gives us a glimpse of an untouched topography. Of an unsolved image. Of an open field.
This is where the curse of the explorer arises in me and I can’t help but producing images from this new land which may host my most precious mythologies. And I feel great pleasure in making myself present, in colonizing it, in naming these places, turning them into objects of their own representation, having their existence as pure images made by machines that still allows the romantic distance to exist.
These objects I make them fit inside a living room, a gallery, so I can then dream of inhabiting these images of places no one has ever been. And as cartography, I can finally feel their existence and borders, I can plan a conquest.
I can play the role of the explorer, the colonizer, the white man on my own deserted territory, bringing to my wooden desk images and human projections, hoping that down here I can conquer them with words, sculptures and desires.
and create then new topographies, cartography of places no one has ever been but that I AM conquering.
**LAST IMAGE (21). pause. enlarge map. look at the map.