‘In Search of Fluid Self’ screening is a curatorial response to the current exhibition ‘Dangerous Bodies’ by Barbara Kapusta. Curated by Jindra Bucan, this closing event will present a double-bill of anime – ‘Perfect Blue’ (1997) and ‘Paprika’ (2006) – by Japanese director Satoshi Kon, alongside the exhibition.
Kon’s films depict female characters who are fragile and vulnerable but at the same time, they strive to determine their own identity. The relationship between Kon’s films and Kapusta’s work can be seen through the exploration of individual’s identity in the techno-human era and the connection of the self with the body and society. Entities that appear in Kapusta’s work are multitude of bodies that don’t obey the dominant structures but resist them and transform through this experience. Together these characters embrace diversity and fragility and they seek to maintain control of their existence.
‘Perfect Blue’ is a story of a successful young pop-idol Mima who quits her music career in order to become an actress. Through dark, dreamlike aesthetics, Kon explores the struggle of defining ourselves in early internet culture. He criticises the notion of the male gaze and the obsessive objectification of others, showing how self-perception can be easily manipulated. In the film, Mima becomes passive to this control blurring the line between what is her actual life and what is fiction.
In ‘Paprika’, reality blurs between the realms of dreams and desires. The main character, Doctor Atsuko Chiba, works on a new psychotherapy treatment using a device called “DC Mini”, which allows her to enter her patient’s dreams. In the dream world she becomes her alter-ego “Paprika”. This subconscious space forms a site of escapism from her reality, where she has to come to terms with her repressed desires. Through this journey she comes to accept that her identity is somewhere between herself and her alter-ego Paprika.