Participant painting Midori's Noh mask whiteA challenging interactive performance exploring the layers of identity and internalized expectations of performance of gender, race, culture, beauty and commodification of the Japanese American woman today.

2015     Oslo, Norway debut

A challenging interactive performance exploring the layers of identity and internalized expectations of performance of gender, race, culture, beauty and commodification of the Japanese American woman today.

This piece was originally created as a context-specific response to another invitation to perform at a fetish themed night club. Given the current social climate, no one would dare request an blackface performance or an exoticized “African” piece by an African American artist. Yet, routinely Asian American artists are asked to perform the exoticized Orientals as non-asian “honor” us by yellow faced minstrel shows and wearing of misappropriated garments.  Japanese bondage is venerated and practiced out of context of its original sex-industry roots. Questioning this pattern is usually met by responses ranging from patronizing micro aggression to outright belligerence and negation. Many Asian Americans also take the route of becoming apologists and participate in the yellow-facing, all the while internalizing the racism and commodification of the self. But when we think about it, don’t we commodify ourselves daily by consumerism and internalize our sense of self as consumer and end-user demographics?

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The Action

Stage is set as a theater in the round.

Midori wanders on to the stage, wearing Mickey Mouse Ears, a Captain America T-shirt, drinking a Coca Cola and carrying a satchel. She stares wide eyed at the attendees, like a tourist, lost in the world. She climbs onto a small catwalk style stage jutting into the audience.

Music is custom composition by Midori, incorporating sounds of urban life, modern warfare, Madama Butterfly, and chants.

She opens her satchel, unpacks a kimono set and begins to slowly dress into the kimono, over the jeans and t shirt.

She sits formally for a moment.

Using the pots of paint before her she begins to paint her face. Between each paint layer she pauses and ritualistically washes her hands.

Midori with red and black makeup Midori with red and white face paint Midori self-binding with Noh mask Participant painting Midori Participant painting Midori Participant painting Midori Midori's feet in shoes with paint Stagehands carrying Midori

  • First layer – black eyeshadow and red lips
  • Second layer – white and blank
  • Third layer – black “moth” eyebrows and red petal lips of medieval Japanese highborn women
  • Fourth layer – white and blank
  • Fifth layer – red Japanese Imperial Navy Flag
  • Sixth layer – white and blank
  • Seventh layer – bright yellow with black slanted eyes and red lips.

Midori dons a wooden Noh mask of the beautiful lady.

She steps off the stage and onto the center floor. (Stage is removed)

Midori self binds her arms and stands still, as stage hands enter to offer buckets of white paint and wide brushes to the audience.

Audience members choose to step up and paint Midori white.

Once the participation diminishes, the stagehands step behind Midori, who falls back like a statue into their arms.

Stage hands wrap her into a carpet and exit.

Video link: https://vimeo.com/131247637

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