New Optimism


How is New Optimism different than your work with Cibo Matto or The Gorillaz, in terms of process and lyrics?

New Optimism is 100% my own world. I change the form of New Optimism for the situation. Sometimes I play with only dancers, sometimes only music band. It’s a free form of creation but attitude and idea is the same. 

What was your inspiration for the masks?  How was it working with Jocelyn? (We had one of IP's favorite artists, Jocelyn Shipley, collaborate with Miho on masks for the shoot.) 

Cibo Matto played for the San Francisco Film Festival in May and we had to choose a few moving images to play with original/improv music. There, I discovered Oscar Schlemmer's Triadic Ballet and a video called "Das triadische Ballett,"  a 30-minute color remake film in 1970 by Bavaria Atelier. I was so fascinated by this Bauhaus piece and finally I had this opportunity to work with the ideas visually and with International Playground. Jocelyn was great!  She came down to my place and discussed some ideas. On the day of shooting, she brought many fun stuff to play with!

 Who are your dancers?  Where do they come from? How do they add to the performance? (IP requested artist/performer Issa Israel to be included in the shoot as we knew he would be a great fit.)

I have teamed up with Mary Carter when I have a chance to perform for a short set for a special occasions. I feel so lucky to meet with Mary Carter who is very talented, open- minded and bright person. I immediately felt chemistry with her. When she and her team dance, they do give 100% of their energy and that is the reason I love working with them. 

How does movement inspire your work?

I think the beauty of dance is to reconnect with primitive energy in our head-oriented world where we live in. That inspires me always to work with dancers. Movement always inspired me, probably because I do sing and singing is a movement of body. We need rhythm to keep on, right? I started this New Optimism performance with dancers, I think it helped music very much to give another shape of energy to show what is New Optimism. Also I think dance creates honesty! 

What does New Optimism mean? 

It’s hard to describe in word, but it’s an attitude of thinking. It’s hard to say, but I write some random thoughts. When I started this project, I wanted to do something different/opposite from New Sincerity (a kind of postmodern term). I sometimes go to see Agnes Martin’s paintings in Dia:Beacon and just sit down and stare in front of her paintings. I felt New Optimism in them.  I made a quote when I did a collaboration with Ace hotel: New Optimism likes to be near you, even if you dropped your chopsticks.

Explore more:; Issa @dirtyisrael; Jocelyn Shipley  Mary Carter  Benjamin Fredrickson's work 

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