Simo Kellokumpu (born in Lapland) is an artist, choreographer and a doctoral fellow in Artistic Research in the Performing Arts Research Centre in the University of the Arts Helsinki. He worked at the Tokyo Arts and Space residence in 2017.
I applied to this program because the residency offered the possibility to work in and with a hyper-mobile megalopolis and culturally in a very different framework. In my place-, space- and context-responsive practice, I wanted to experiment with the shift that happens when artistic practice moves into another cultural context. I was also motivated to learn more about Japanese manga, anime, science-fiction, and contemporary art.
During the residency, I collaborated with the French director and artist-researcher Vincent Roumagnac and the Japanese manga-artist Nao Yazawa, whom I contacted upon my arrival in Tokyo. Together, we prepared the material for the choreographic installation pompom.
The best thing about this residency was its duration. Three months was long enough to prepare new work, and get in touch with and have time to learn about Japanese culture in everyday life. It was my first time in Tokyo - and in Japan - and my personal feeling is that my practice turned out very meaningful. I didn’t research Tokyo or Japan too much before going there, because I felt that the first contact and the lived experience was important for the artistic project as well.
Everything functioned very well at the residency. It is conveniently located and there were many artists from around the world in residence. The group presented their work and artistic processes at regular lunch-time meetings, which was conducive to cultural exchange that branched out into many different directions.
The final installation was exhibited in Gallery Augusta in Suomenlinna in Helsinki in October 2018, and I will return to TOKAS to exhibit the work in December 2018. For me, the residency period launched a relationship with Japanese culture and art that will surely develop and deepen in the future.