Individual Work

"NIPP0N" portrays a situation in a night-club and narrates the thoughts, actions, and interactions of a group of businessmen and "working women." In this work, the narrative alternates between first and third-person points-of-view, shifting between the perspectives of the women, the men, and an omniscient narrator. A horizontal screen-division displays the text bilingually: Japanese ideograms in red against a white backdrop on the top and English presented with white letters against red beneath.

The unnamed characters are depicted as archetypes: the domineering madam, the leggy, lust-inspiring singer, the man who flirts with the prostitute while praising his loyal wife and making excuses for being out rather than at home. These stories are so common that the female listeners have "HEARD THIS— KIND — ØF — STØRY— MANY — TIMES."

Marc Voge and Young-hae Chang, two Seoul-based artists known as Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries (YHCHI) usually present their works as flash-narratives that come along with a synergistic interplay of text, music, color, and animation. Music is an integral component of YHCHI's pieces as the Flash animation tends to be synced to the melodies and rhythms of the music they choose. For the work at hand, the duo used a Thelonius Monk recording titled "Japanese Folk Song" from the "Straight, No Chaser" (1967) album.

Generally, "NIPP0N's" narrative identifies the work as revolving around the presentation and deconstruction of binaries: Displayed onscreen are the dichotomies of English/Japanese, red/white, East/West, work/leisure, male/female, or commerce/sex. Its effect is an audio-visual encounter between the languages and cultures. While the work's title is the only indication of a geographical location given, the narrative could happen in any urban setting. It is, in a sense, universal. And so might the cultural critique entailed in this work be applied universally:

At the end of the night and of NIPP0N's animation, the parasitic sickness is shown to be a symptom of a larger cultural, and decidedly corporate, epidemic: "THIS— IS — AN — INDUSTRY— LØVING/ YØUR MØM." The work ends by showing that the effects of global corporate capitalism are not limited to the confines of the after-hours bar but are evident in the daytime when the streets are filled with "TØØ MANY MEN IN DARK-GREY SUITS/ HURRY TØ TAXIS,/ AND LØØK HØW MANY— HAVE —CHAUFFERS." "NIPP0N" exposes a situation in which "TØØ MANY MEN," too uniformly dressed, and possessing too much money spill out of bars and brothels and into a morning light.

The presented narrative written by the artists is a single Flash file. It runs for 16 minutes and contains no options for reader-controlled navigation, no buttons to pause, slow, or stop the animation of text that flashes in high-speed in front of the readers eyes.

Parts of this description are cited from "Reading the Code between the Words: The Role of Translation in Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries's Nippon" by Jessica Pressman



"front of the readers eyes" -- should be "reader's"