Last night, and for one night only, selected streets of Tokyo’s “party district”, Roppongi, became an open air art museum with performances and displays from art creators from Japan and from around the world. Museums, galleries, and certain restaurants stayed open till late to cater to the many visitors. The theme of this night was “The Dreams of the City” and one of the performances that I was particularly attracted to was by the French Street Theater troupe La Compagnie des Quidams who performed elements of their theatrical play Reve d’Herbert / Herbert’s Dream.
As in the play, the performers (dressed in white, balloon-like costumes) walk on stilts through the city and the vast crowds in search of light. Often they get together and exchange thoughts and then scurry around at a dizzying pace through the crowds. The challenge as a photographer is to be able to captures these exchanges and expressions and do them at a time where not only the performers, but also the photographer is searching for light. The challenge as a photographer in Tokyo is also due to the fact that when he has an idea, five million other people have the same idea, and there were times last night where I was also wishing that I was standing on stilts.
Once an elite neighborhood, Roppongi over the last many years developed a reputation for being Tokyo’s party area with clubs catering to all kinds of clientele. Now that Roppongi boasts two premier residential/office buildings in Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown, events like the Roppongi Art Night aim to rebuild the reputation of the area as one of not only entertainment value, but also one with an artistic/intellectual element to it. The project is young and held only for the second time, but holds promise for the future.