Makoto Aida

The Video on a Man Calling Himself Bin Laden Staying in Japan

First saw this video with a couple other shorts at the Redcat in Los Angeles in an event dedicated to new Japanese video art (though the title escapes me). I thought all his work would be similar but it was kind of shocking to see that the rest of them were really different… 

Smallest Journey of ONIGIRI-KAMEN(Rice-Ball Mask Man)

I found a fairly good description of Aida’s work in the SF Weekly:

Makoto Aida is trying to push our buttons. The Japanese artist’s first solo exhibition in the United States tackles a range of controversial topics — from suicide and Osama bin Laden to puke and self-love — with adolescent glee. I-DE-A, for example, is a video loop of the artist, nude and with his back to the camera, jacking off before the words “beautiful little girl” inscribed on the wall in pink Japanese characters. Aida claims that the video runs for more than 50 minutes — the amount of time it took to, ahem, finish the job. (I have to take his word for it, as I was only able to watch for about a minute.) It’s shameless and gross, and comes across as a (pardon the pun) naked attempt to shock. Even so, there’s something gritty about Aida’s work that compels us to look beyond its brash exterior.

In recent years, Japan has become a hyperactive exporter of subcultural cool, whether via film sensations like The Ring, manga (comic books), or the ironically cute character-based art of international stars like Yoshitomo Nara and Takashi Murakami. Although of the same generation, Aida eschews irony to delve into the underbelly of his country’s booming culture industry; he exposes the edges where the fabric unravels to reveal something else — not quite an alternative, but a glimpse of something unsettling, reminding us that all is not well below the shiny happy surface. If you can look beyond the teenage spew, Aida’s subject is Japan’s damaged national psyche.


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  • http://www.sashamlee.com Sasha

    whooaaaa I love the one of the girl with the pigtails/land rut. In Swedish there’s a word “Mitt bena” that means a girl who parts her hair down the middle. I think it literally means “Middle head” or “Half head” or something. For some reason I think of that. Only as an illustration of the rupturing of Japanese psyche it is a bit less comforting than Swedish.

  • kira

    Check out his “Edible Artificial Girls” series if you’re into babyart