Hyperbolic Concerns for a Hyper-Show

This text is a direct response to Richard Antrobus’ article “Hyper-real or Hyperplastic?”, dated June 10, 2016.

“Extreme Voices” by Miss Revolutionary Idol Berserker (directed by Toco Nikaido) did not strike me as an “infantilizing”, “erotic”, and “exotic” show. Much more significantly, I felt “Extreme Voices” was a desperate call for attention to extreme acts and efforts to seek alternative outlets, in rebellion to a – in my view – oppressed/suppressed and very structured social system. It is an extreme remix of as much elements (mainly from Japanese sub-/pop culture) as possible at ultra-speed while in the process of mixing, stripping away the meaning of each element, in an attempt to bombard the audience so that they can’t absorb much of anything. Yet, at the same time I felt some strange hope and strong positive energies mixing in.

Plainly, I do not find “erotification of the exotic and the sexualization of infantile/juvenile behaviour” in the performance, that Richard Antrobus describes in his review. This statement itself seems problematic. Firstly, to experience a part of a performance as ‘exotic’ is a process that has to formulate in the spectator’s eyes and mind. And the same goes, in my view, for impressions of acts of eroticization.
For me, the show very meticulously mixed multi-elements of Japanese sub-/pop cultures. To say it runs the risk of ‘eroticization’ or ‘sexualizing’ its own subject does not make sense. In my opinion, it is not the artist’s duty to make the performance exotic/erotic-proof. It is on the part of the spectator to be aware not to exoticize or eroticize the work. To have it otherwise would be like blaming a woman for wearing shorts (or even just for being who she is). Put it in another way: I, as a spectactor from Malaysia, see a show from Germany that has nudity and sexual elements in it. That does not mean I would exoticize or eroticize what I see.

“Extreme Voices” is largely drawing from the otaku (movements by the fans of underground idols in Japan). This otaku culture, as I understand, is a hyper-obsession. Perhaps this points to the sense of immaturity demonstrated by the performers.

Also, I don’t see the single white blond performer as an act of “western culture being eroticized”. For me, she is just like one of many non-Japanese who become also fans of Japan pop/subcultures. There are also cosplays (dressing up as a character from Japanese manga or anime) practiced outside of Japan. I think that it is problematic to declare something erotic or exotic whenever encountered with non-familiar or non-expected situations. Rather, it is a chance to learn more and research more about this unknown subject. I think, that it is not the subject’s responsibility to be wary of running the risk of being misleading.

If anything, Miss Revolutionary Idol Berserka had plunged me into a tedious (yet not at all comprehensive enough) research into the Japanese society and culture for the last few days since that show.

30_MissRevolutionaryIdolBerserker_Foto_Cyclone_A_webPhoto by Cyclone