Am I Kawaii?, 2014
Site specific performance
Project supported by Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, México
Am I Kawaii?, 2014 / Documentation excerpt / Camera: Victor Ken Hoshiko Oayama / Akihabara, Tokyo
About the work
Ichiro Fukano, 2014
On this April, Alejandra Baltazares exhibited at my own venue JIKKA which is located in Akihabara, Tokyo.
Akihabara is well known not only as electronics town but also as Maid Cafe town. At Maid Cafes, the girls wear costumes of maids and serve the guys. But the guys never touch the girls. They just talk and play games. Nothing any more.
What's fun? Because such guys are very shy and cannot communicate well with girls in their ordinary lives. They enjoy virtual love with roll playing game by paying money. On the streets of Akihabara, many maidsÂ provide their flyers to the guys as it is very competitive.
At the end of the exhibition, Baltazares did a performance. She wore a costume of maid and provided flyers on the sreets in Akihabara.
Am I Kawaii, 2014 / Flyer, 10 x 15 cm
On the flyers, it was written "Am I Kawaii?" "Kawaii"means pretty. In Japan, very often, girls say "Kawaii" when they find something pretty. Although Baltazares wore a costume like other maids, she looked very strange for the guys in Akihabara. Because she is clearly a foreigner and she is too "real" for the guys. The guys who like to enjoy virtual loves with maid also prefer girls who look like manga characters. They should be "2D" characters as much as possible. However Baltazares was too real and "3D" for such guys. When the guys recognized her, they were confused. Because she was more beautiful than "Kawaii."
As a stranger, Baltazares disturbed the "ordinary" lives in Akihabara. On the street, the guys doubted her and passed by at a quick pace. There is a strange contradiction. Since Baltazares was too real, she became unreal in Akihabara. As far as I know, Baltazares is the only foreign artist who did this kind of performance. Thanks to her, we Japanese recognized what is reality for us.
All through the ages, realities are always brought by strangers.