The Illusiveness of the Entirely Useless
May 7, 2010 5:15 PM Subscribe
posted by zonkers (46 comments total)
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So, there's a Japanese artistic concept called a Thomasson
In short, they are "defunct
to someone's property
and aesthetically maintained
But a more nuanced
involves artist Akasegawa
, baseball player Gary Thomasson
and a whole generation of Japanese kids who wandered around Tokyo,
looking for architectural abnormalities.
Now that the book has found its way to English
, American readers are submitting some pretty fascinating discoveries of their own
An extremely influential writer and visual artist, Akasegawa Gempei started as a founding member of the neo-dada group Hi Red Center in the 60s, staging a lot of public performances. When Tokyo launched a series of "Let's Clean Up Our City" campaigns for the upcoming Olympics, Akasegawa and company took it a step further
by dressing in lab coats and cleaning single cobblestones with rubbing alcohol and toothbrushes.
As a sculptor, Akasegawa became interested in making things
with money. This eventually earned him a counterfeiting charge, and he appeared in court to defend his work as "art"--the formal opposite of currency. Lacking a stringent legal definition of art, Akasegawa called on his friends from Hi Red Center to provide "expert testimony." This involved Nakanishi Natsuyuki appearing with his body covered in closepins and other such performances, and quickly turned the trial into a performance piece. Akasegawa demanded that all of his friends' "testimonies" be treated as proper evidence, and the court had no choice but to carefully photograph and document each of these performances. The result is retroactively known as "The 1000-Yen Trial Incident," and is one of the 20th century's most seminal works of Japanese art.