21 July 2012 – Black Walking Piece | Tokyo, Japan
“Become one with eternity. Obliterate your personality. Become part of your environment. ” Kusama Yayoi
Today is my birthday. I know no one. I want to celebrate today. Myself. This situation. In a public context, me and the others, anyone. Is this what madness is?
The eve of my departure from London, I went see the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at Tate Modern. She did ‘Walking Piece’ in 1966 as an ‘outsider’ in New York she dons her national costume, a kimono and a parasol, and roams the streets with Eikoh Hosoe. I know how she felt now that I am in her country.
Here I am the ‘gaijin’: foreigner. ‘Foreign’ but from nowhere? Bastille Day 14 July, French National day and Eugene Delacroix’s famous painting ‘Liberty leading the people’. A French mother, my French passport. My father is Indian though, I grew up in Africa, I live in London.
Dressed as a Black Liberty, I will walk and roam 30 km through central Tokyo, East to West, absorbing the space through the action of walking it, a performance of 10 hours.
Foreigner in every country.
Just a body.
From 'no one', someone appeared to film it all. Police presence was intense. I remained a constant, a shadow in the streets of Tokyo from Sky Tree to Shibuya. I didn't eat, I didn't talk. I laughed. 2 older women spoke to me. It rained.