Listening to the Unseen Voices and Unheard Sounds
“Did you get the vaccine?” “The first one, yes.” I am writing this welcome message at a time when these kinds of exchanges are often taking place. I never imagined that the coronavirus pandemic would still be around during Kyoto Experiment 2021 Autumn. That said, the global Spanish flu pandemic of a century ago lasted for three years. This tells me not so much that I am a foolish optimist but just how little I have learned from history. After all, it is the job of people in arts and culture to look back at history, ascertain the present, and foresee the future.
The concept for this twelfth edition of Kyoto Experiment is “moshi moshi?!,” derived from the phrase that people say in Japanese when answering the phone: as such, the festival hopes to listen to the voices treated as invisible, even though they are not, to listen to the sounds seemingly not heard, even though they are audible. This is something shared with the ideal of selflessness to which many artists of old aspired, though now, when our world has become excessively globalized, I think we must ask “moshi moshi” not only in terms of individual artists but also on societal, national, and global levels. Expected above all of the performing arts today are responses to this kind of challenge.
Chair, Kyoto International Performing Arts Festival Executive Committee