pointless overnight, night flows by

video installation

A performance in which a giant, mobile rat puppet, reaching 6 meters, roams the streets of Tokyo in the middle of the night. It’s about the Olympics and gentrification.


・This rat was exhibited in Aoyama, Tokyo. Aoyama is an area where the Olympic Stadium is being built, and is in the midst of urban development in line with the Olympics. Aoyama is a city of high society, with many high-brand stores and high-end restaurants. However, before the redevelopment, there was a back street lined with public housing complexes that were built during the last Tokyo Olympics and had a downtown atmosphere. However, these public housing complexes have been torn down and rebuilt with high-rise buildings, and there is no sign of human habitation anymore. The giant rat represents a being that is fleeing a city whose popularity is fading.

・This rat can be operated by a minimum of seven people. This time we gathered a group of friends and let the rats roam the streets of Aoyama and the redevelopment area late at night. However, this is a very difficult project. First of all, I can’t get permission to shoot video. In Aoyama, residents are so vigilant that they complain just for standing on a tripod, and even the police department rarely gives permission for filming. The same goes for Shibuya. Another major problem with this project was the size of the rats, which made it difficult to arrange a truck over 6m, so two trucks were needed. Then, we had to perform a series of actions each time, such as assembling and standing up the rats that we carried at the shooting location.

・In other words, the important purpose of this work was not “the walking rat” itself, but “the appearance of a giant rat in the city center, which was originally impossible”. We spent days figuring out how to get permission to shoot at each location and planning the setup for the move and assembly. Through such a process, one discovers the inconvenience of doing something in the city and finds ways to deal with it, which is the fun of making.

・We believe that sharing such a process with people is in itself a way to share “the joys and difficulties of playing in the city”. For example, people can’t feel anything when they see graffiti on the streets. But once you’re interested in it, you’ll be thrilled to learn that the graffiti is made possible by thorough field research, skilled craftsmanship and teamwork. In some ways, the essence of play is the process that lies behind the apparent nothingness.

・The concept of the film is to play “people who are serious about doing weird things” in a cityscape. It is a solitary thing, like a huge, lonely rat on a late-night prowl, and it is also a step away from the common sense of society. In a society that is flattened by gentrification, such strange people will naturally be ostracized. As one of those weirdos, we become “the most prominent presence in the landscape”.

installation view

The neon work was shown in the same exhibition. The figure of a workman made of neon depicts a “workman’s sign” used as a common piece of equipment at street construction sites. The actual worker signage incorporates a hand-waving system, and the neon work replicates the hand-waving motion through neon animation.
This painting is a self-portrait of us walking down the street at night to manipulate a giant rat.