Though Setouchi is often referred to as an “art festival,” there are plenty of other events taking place across the islands, including lectures, theater performances and concerts. Most of these, like the artworks, combine the history and traditions of the Setouchi islands with experimental styles. Here are a few that look to be particularly entertaining.
Redefining film and music on Shodojima
On the island of Shodojima, “A Night of Cinema and Music in Setouchi” offers a brand-new take on both art forms.
A live narrator and three up-and-coming musicians will bring classic silent films to life by playing original pieces to accompany the moving images. The films being shown are from the 1910s and ’20s and are by the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Yasujiro Ozu, who is internationally known for his family-themed films.
For more music, you can also head over to Una Event Hall at Uno Port, Okayama, to watch progressive artists and sound artists perform almost every weekend. Japanese contemporary artist Mio Shirai, known for her conceptual installations made out of everyday objects, will curate all the live shows, which feature innovative artists and performers in a combination of dance, film and lectures. Combining the classic and contemporary should offer some unusual performances, for example, on Aug. 3 an all-female troupe dressed in traditional Japanese diving attire will dance to two musicians performing experimental electronic music.
“A Night of Cinema and Music in Setouchi” takes place on Aug. 16 from 6:15 p.m. at Hitoyama Noson Kabuki Butai on Shodojima: setouchi-artfest.jp/calendar/event/1338/2013-08/16 (in Japanese) The Una Event Hall concerts take place almost every weekend from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Uno Harbor, Okayama. setouchi-artfest.jp/calendar/event/2339/2013-08/03 (in Japanese)
Moomins on Megijima
Visual artist Maaria Wirkkala and actor Timo Torikka have organized the World Children’s Creative Theater Project, which will perform “Moominsummer Madness,” a play starring their home country of Finland’s most famous characters: the Moomins. The couple will first host a two-week summer theater camp on Megijima, teaching children from across the globe, before they present the Moomin play as their final project.
Torikka, who was the voice actor for the character Snufkin in the Finnish animation series, will coach the children on how to act without dialogue, while Wirkkala designs lighting and original artwork for a dreamlike ambience.
“Moominsummer Madness” takes place on Aug. 17 and 18 from 7:30 p.m. at Megijima Kaisuiyokujo Higashi Special Stage. setouchi-artfest.jp/calendar/event/2367/2013-08/17 (in Japanese)
Going back to school on Ogijima
If you want to get involved in an event yourself, Ogijima’s PSS40 offers plenty of hands-on activities. The public elementary school turned art center will be run by The Group 1965, a collective of creative people, such as provocative manga-style artist Makoto Aida and Brazilian-Japanese painter Oscar Oiwa.
Workshops and lectures will be hosted on an almost daily basis, and highlights include Aida’s “Art and Philosophy,” a live painting event where the artist will also read out philosophical texts, and Parco Kinoshita’s “Mask Parade,” at which participants design their own masks or costumes before parading together.
“PSS40” events are scheduled daily. PSS40, Ogi Island setouchi-artfest.jp/pss40 (in Japanese)