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Virtual Asian-American Art Museum Project

Alexei Taylor, Author

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Roger Shimomura: Interview 16

With all its splicing?

Right. I mean, that’s a good example of something that can’t be used in any other way than performance. How do you make that into a painting?

Those tapes are integrated into Seven Kabuki Plays. Is that correct?

 Right. My grandmother’s voice, during intermission, comes in, and you hear her reciting her letter. I used the tapes in another piece I did, with a fifteenminute meditation that incorporated a flamenco dancer. My grandmother wrote a lot of haiku poetry in camp. I think one of the most interesting things of all were folk songs that she wrote the lyrics to. These were Japanese folk songs, and these lyrics were all about how pissed off they were at being put in camp. The story goes that they were very docile about it and accepting and went into camp and suffered quietly and all that. But these poems, these poems within the songs they sang, indicate that they were very upset over being treated so rudely by a country that they had invested in. When you have information like that, you’ve got to find a way of sharing it.
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