Interview with Kazumi Kanemaki > Film-maker - Tokyo
Tara Herbst

Tara: Communities are at the same time a threat and a promise. Do you feel being part of communities at the moment?

Kazumi: What do you meen by community? (laughs) I don’t know how to take this word „community“ that much, but, I belong to one company, so that’s also my community for sure, because I spend more than eight hours a day in the place. Although, I feel really isolated in the company, but that’s for sure: I belong to it and also I belong to the community of Video Art Center, but also there I feel isolated, too (laughs). So I belong to certain communities but I feel isolated. But, the one I really find important, is: Friends across the ocean, I have a good friend in India, Yugoslavia and other part of the world. Those people I really trust, even if some of them I don’t contact so much, but I know, they are all doing what they really want to do and work really hard on that. I have a confidence, that everytime I meet them, I really feel stronger tie to them rather than people near by.

Tara: But, in Tokyo you don’t know...

Kazumi: No, not yet, but I can find some, if I dont think only of the moving image world, I do think I can find one in Tokyo

Tara: Which specific space is important for you now?

Kazumi: I want to create my own space. I didn’t find any community to fit so far. But I want to share ideas with other people.

Tara: And how do you want to organize that?

Kazumi: I am planning a three years plan. The first year I want to get in touch with people through my homepage, on the internet. And then have a meeting twice a month or so and share our thoughts, also with people who are not video artist. I want to share some opinions with some people I trust. And eventually develop some ideas together.

Tara: Now about inner perversion/outer perversion and the in-between: Concerning the choice between the voluptuous in the scandal and the glory of renouncement;
what would you say you live  at the moment? Like your work at the TV Company, it gives you stability and a sort of identity in society and money.  What about the work you do in your free time?

Kazumi: Yeah, it always really bothers me to work for TV and also at the same time being an artist, it’s like I’m doing two opposite things. But, I decided to keep working, because I want to know how they are and what kind of ideas they have. Even though I hate to work and I don’t see any value on being a worker. I don’t need any fame or... I’m not interested in work or working situations, like working for TV, but I really have to be in it, once at least. And I really have to go through and experience that, because I feel I’m weak, complaining about normal people or businessmen. Just being an artist, I don’t think that‘s possible. I always think I cannot blame people, that they all are stupid, because they are working or are getting a position... people are not stupid, nobody is stupid, they are also really thinking and working hard to make things better... So I really need to know before I criticize them!

Tara: Concerning practical politics and feminisim: Very often the people engaged in politics are moralizing about what is political correct and what is not. Could you imagine the struggle for change in another way than in a moralizing accusing way? Are you in touch with this moralizing and is that a problem for you?

Kazumi: Yeah, somtimes it is a problem inside myself, I kind of jump around from moral to moral to moral.... if I dont think. So my enemy is myself, just not thinking and saying: „Oh, it should be like that“, so easily. That’s what probabely my problem is.

Tara: Can you imagine for yourself a way not to moralize and be politically activ?

Kazumi: What do you mean with politically active?

Tara: I don’t know, that is also the question, what that could mean, without being a member of a political party. Would you consider yourself to be politically engaged?

Kazumi: Yes, I think so, but at the same time I’m not really into speaking out. I think it is very important to do what I even do, on what I really believe. For my experience, when I speak out a lot, I actually forget to do things and that‘s most dangerous for me. I‘m not into saying out loud what I’m thinking, I really want to focus on what I do and if I could show that in my videowork that would be good. In that way I’m very political, but not really obviously political.

Tara: Could you imagine being active without your moralizing inner voices? Can you imagine a methode or strategy to overcome them?

Kazumi:  I do: if you forget everything, just to forget is really good! It´s close to meditate. If I forget everything: not to think anything, the new way of thinking or something like a new light appears. That’s really important. Because then I know what I should take and what I should discard. I think that is the only way I know right now to overcome it. It sounds maybe a bit mysterious, but it really works to clear up my mind.

Tara: About identity: do you think it’s important for being active to have one identity? Also in a sense of social visibitity?

Kazumi: I would say no, for the very basic identity. I just feel very happy, like just being here, like listening for example to the sound of the wind or looking up to the sky. I just feel really happy sometimes, that I could jump, danse and scream to the outside. I think, that is the identity I have,I usually feel, my basic identity. That‘s not really social, but social on the other hand, because I really feel the connection between myself and the world. For that I think, I don’t need those kinds of being active or being in society or being whatever. The other identity, social identity, when I’m going out I always care, but that is the second one. The first one: I’m alive and I was born and I still live here in this world, I’m looking and feeling... The first identity is much stronger for me than the second one.

Tara: Are you concerned about it, like for example in your film  „The President“, in what way you will become visible, in what way you will exist on a society level?

Kazumi: It always comes like a double-identity: just being alive and also in a society at the same time. Maybe both are important for me.

Tara: Would you say that you are recognized as being an artist in Japan?

Kazumi: No, I feel in Japan right now, we say we are artists, but from the outside we are not artists. Especially I’m half artist and half worker, as a social definition, for people it is much easier to see me as a worker than an artist.

Tara: But from your own perspective you feel more as an artist than a worker?

Kazumi: Yeah, I don’t see myself as a worker at all.

Tara: Is that difference difficult for you?

Kazumi: Yeah, sure, it’s very difficult. But I always think there is a limit, like me as a worker I will finish, that’s why I can keep doing it. (laughs), but I will finsh. It‘s sometimes really very hard, because I feel like I’m dead being alive: I’m here as a worker eight hours a day, but I’m not! So it’s hard for me, but I choosed to do that, because I wanted to experience that society.

Tara: Reminds me of Beckett: 'I can´t go on, I´ll go on'. Are you considering yourself as feminist?

Kazumi: Yes.

Tara: Do you think it’s importent for you to be a woman for being feminist, do you think one has to be a woman to be feminist?

Kazumi: Yes, of course. I cannot trust that much guys being feminists. I have no idea how it would be, because I think, all the individuals have to protect their lifes and that is the very basic statement. Being a man and being a feminist it really confuses me, because I don’t see his roots in what he wants to do. I cannot see their real motivation. I think each individual has to work for itself. Everybody has the same kind power. Do you ever meet those guys?

Tara: Oh, I know many men who are feminists.

Kazumi: How are they, what’s there motivation?

Tara: They’re also suffering from this patriarchal world; they don’t identify with the mainstream image of being male.

Kazumi: Right, that makes sense. But for me being a feminist and being a woman is having a tight relationship.

Tara: Could you describe your feminism, because you said you are working on a text on the moment?

Kazumi: I’m working on a text, like how to fight and deal with things in the society. I didn’t use the word feminism, I even didn’t think of feminism, but it just occured through my experiences.
I always felt something is different or wrong and I kept thinking: what is it. Then finally I realized that it‘s because of my gender. So the sense of feminism became really logical for me. The reason is that, we girls don’t like us as girls. That is the worst part of our mentality. We really have to figure out how to deal with our gender. Some boys are just stupide and we can just leave them. Some of the boys are better and they treat us nice, but our problem is not them, our problem are we. Do I really love myself being a woman? If for example I work with a man I act like a man. Sometimes I disrespect other girls, because they’re girls.

Tara: Oh, really? You mean you take part in the existing structure, on a powerlevel; not treating the girls well?

Kazumi: Yeah, yeah and also to be better. That´s a stupid thing to do, we have to change our consciousness. Also, that we cannot make mistakes. On a society level there are lots of female boss and female drivers, politicans and whatever. I find them sad because they do too much. The male politician or male boss, they can admit their mistakes and say: „ups, I’m sorry“, or sometimes they can be like a baby. But female boss, drivers or politiciens feel really tensed, so afraid of making mistakes and when they make a mistake, they feel really like shit, they hurt themselves. And I think girls have to be more relaxed: oh-ups-I’m-sorry-kind-of attitude. If they can think that way, they will be more free.

Tara: Are you doing that yourself?

Kazumi: Yeah, I’m trying to. I’m the only girl in this video editing job among 6 of us. Before I was trying so hard that it will be practical and perfect... and now I’m trying to make little mistakes or just to relaxe and doing nothing sometimes, being away from the office for long time...

Tara: ...and do they notice the changement?

Kazumi: I don’t know, but I don’t think that they noticed it.

Tara: That’s funny, that they don’t even notice it.

Kazumi: Yes, but it’s good for me to learn how to relax and get away from what I don’t want to do. It’s a good improvement for me.

Tara: Where do you see possibilities for yourself to invest into the political, what would you fight for, what would you try to transgress or change?

Kazumi: I’m really interested in small, small things, which we have to deal with in daily life. For example little meaness of one person or some stress I feel from really small things. Because, in the morning I feel really fresh, very confident, but on the end of the day I feel like shit. Why is that happen every day? I think everything comes from really small things. And I’m interested to see why my life gets shitty in the end of the day? (laughs) I want to know, how to get not to be tired in my life, how to pass my life happy and free...

Tara: So you don’t believe in changing the society?

Kazumi: I do, but not in big words... like Kung Fu, like some kind of defense. I want to learn this defense with small things I have to deal with every day. If I know the movements it will probably bring me to another stage, like to tell people how to change society. For example some people say we live for art, so we can fuck our daily life or sacrifice our wives…I think our existence is much more important than this bigger thing, which I cannot touch. So to live better and to protect my own existence and others existence will bring me somewhere... I don’t see it yet, but I will see it. (laughs) I hope.

Tara: This text you write, do you want to publish it and in what form?

Kazumi: I want to publish it, but I’m not quiet sure how to pass. I want to write many ways of defense, as a woman in daily life. I think there are so many details and I want to write many ways of self-defense or ways of fighting to avoid the normal way of fighting. For example: not to call it fight but to fight or just leaving or just closing the eyes and fight. I want to write about the different kind of ways of fighting. Maybe the winning might be different from the common way of winning. For example not to get it but to win. I want to show it to many people not only girls, also men how have the courage to change things or themselves. I would like to lead them through the process, but I haven‘t found the route or the passage to those ones who really want to.