My Voice Would Reach You by Japanese artist Meiro Koizumi is presented at National Gallery of Victoria International until 17 November as part of Experimenta Speak to Me, 5th International Biennial of Media Art. The biennial brings together works that offer multiple perspectives on intimacy and communication in the current technological era. At a time when infinite connectivity is available anywhere and everywhere, it is timely to ask what do these new relationships to the world and technology offer us?
I came across Meiro Koizumi’s My Voice Would Reach You in late 2010. I saw a link between the isolation of the main character of his work and the ideas around communication that I was thinking about. Koizumi has dealt with the subject of social alienation a number of times in his work and My Voice Would Reach You is a beautifully poignant articulation of this. Made in 2009, My Voice Would Reach You takes place over two parts – first we see a young man on the telephone set against the backdrop of a busy and populated Tokyo street – he is having a loving conversation with his mother, making plans, sharing memories and thoughts for the future. The second part of the work comes as a shock; we realise that the protagonist is not speaking to his mother but a call centre operator, who we hear politely trying to make sense of this one-sided conversation.
I found this work deeply moving – the sadness of the emotional rupture in the character’s life at the loss of his mother, his isolation and the depth of his yearning for this lost connection. Working alongside this is the pathos and sheer absurdity of his attempt to rediscover a lost connection with his mother, by conversing with a call centre operator. The comedy of this is irresistible, yet remains underscored by the poignancy of his feeling.
The performative strategies of this work, articulating isolation and loss, and emphasising communication and its pitfalls, made it a wonderful inclusion into the biennial program. I have been very pleased to work with NGV staff to present this work on the mezzanine level at NGV International, situated next to the Asian Galleries. It is my hope that NGV audiences will enjoy this work and perhaps be inspired to take the opportunity to visit other sites of the exhibition, including our key presenter RMIT Gallery on Swanston St.
Meiro Koizumi is based in Yokohama, Japan. He has an extensive exhibition history in Japan and also internationally in Amsterdam, Australia, UK, Seoul and China. He is represented by Annet Gelink Gallery in Amsterdam and has an upcoming solo presentation at the Projects Series in MoMA, New York in January 2013.