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What will it take to save the world? If you visit Maison Hermes Le Forum in Ginza in the next few weeks, artist Tsuneko Taniuchi — in the guise of Ninja Girl, wearing a flower in her hair and with a toy M16 rifle tucked in her belt — will ask you to respond to this question, and you may be surprised how easy it is to answer.

It’s quite a thing for a group of strangers to come together in the austere environment of a luxury boutique such as Hermes and be so blunt about their hopes; apart from anything else, it reveals how much energy we invest in making sure that we do not share our thoughts on such matters. If the experience of Taniuchi’s “Micro-Events” was limited to a feel-good epiphany, then it would be akin to evangelism or a motivational pep talk. However, the dynamic between Taniuchi and her audience is far more complex.

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