Events Imeachtaí

Simon Fujiwara: The Humanizer Simon Fujiwara: The Humanizer

Simon Fujiwara's The Humanizer
  • Start / Tús:
  • 20.05.16
  • End / Críoch:
  • 28.08.16
  • Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital, Kilmainham
  • Áras Nua-Ealaíne na hÉireann, an tOspidéal Ríoga, Cill Mhaighneann

A new work by Berlin-based, British/Japanese artist Simon Fujiwara, The Humanizer is Fujiwara’s proposition for an imagined Hollywood biopic composed almost uniquely of sound and based on the life of historical Irish nationalist figure Roger Casement (1864-1916).

Saothar nua leis an ealaíontóir Sasanach/Seapánach Simon Fujiwara atá bunaithe i mBeirlín, is é The Humanizer togra Fujiwara le haghaidh beathscannáin cumtha ar stíl Hollywood atá déanta beagnach ar fad le fuaim agus bunaithe ar shaol an náisiúnaigh Éireannaigh stairiúil Ruairí Mac Easmainn (1864-1916).

Created with contemporary Hollywood movie professionals including renowned screenplay writer Michael Lesslie (Macbeth, 2015; Assassin’s Creed, 2016) and Oscar-winning designer Annie Atkins (The Grand Budapest Hotel, 2014; Bridge of Spies, 2015). The Humanizer is one of three major new works commissioned by IMMA that reflect on the legacy of the commemoration of the Irish State.

Simon Fujiwara was drawn to Sir Roger Casement’s extraordinary life. Considered the world’s first human rights campaigner, he was awarded a knighthood in recognition of his fight for the rights of slaves, before turning against the British in the Irish nationalist cause that lead to the Easter Rising. His fateful demise came at the hands of the British government and his execution was sealed following the discovery of a highly controversial diary, ‘The Black Diaries’, containing explicit “evidence” of Casement’s homosexual activities.

Casement’s life was so full of drama that as early as 1934 there were plans to shoot a Hollywood Casement biopic, as Fujiwara discovered in letters sent from Universal Pictures to Casement family members. Although the life of Roger Casement provided enormous potential material for a film the movie was banned by the censorship laws in the nations involved.

Inspired by the Universal Pictures letters which are housed in the archives of the National Library of Ireland, Fujiwara enlisted a group of contemporary Hollywood movie professionals to collaborate with him in imagining how the facts of Casement’s biography might be depicted through the lens of today’s multinational movie corporations.

Fujiwara gave Casement’s biography to acclaimed Hollywood screenwriter Michael Lesslie who developed a movie script in which Casement’s life and character were adapted, manipulated and often completely reinvented to comply with the current models of the Hollywood biopic form. Lesslie presents Casement as a righteous man born in the wrong age - a man who may have betrayed the country he worked for, but never betrayed his principals. In true Hollywood style, every character, action and line in the script underlines this overarching narrative construct.

The script was then enacted by a company of professional actors in Dublin, before being set to a musical score that evokes a prolonged Hollywood trailer. The sound element, which includes Hollywood style music and foley, was produced in Berlin in collaboration with artist and sound designer Moritz Fehr.

Set across a series of four rooms that house objects and personal effects, the sound fragments of the biopic interject into the rooms at unexpected times, rupturing what appears to be, at first glance, an authentic historical exhibition of Casement’s life.

Fujiwara’s selection of objects did not belong to Casement, however, but are props loaned from Berlin’s renowned Babelsberg Film Studio where a number of historic movies from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, 1927, to Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds, 2009, have been filmed.

Accompanying the exhibition props are a series of replica documents from Casement’s life including love letters, an arrest report and of course the famous ‘Black Diaries’ all produced by Oscar-winning designer Annie Atkins and historic handwriting specialist Jan Jericho (Valkyrie, 2008, Cloud Atlas, 2012). Here existing paper documents from Casement’s life are recreated through the lens of the Hollywood designer to make them appear, at times, even more authentic than their originals.

Through fragments of sound, a minimum of objects, documents, and an environment of red curtains and carpet reminiscent of a cinema, The Humanizer seeks to evoke the experience of a big budget Hollywood movie with the most modest means.

Without cinema's seductive moving pictures to communicate exactly what we are seeing, the audience is no longer a passive recipient but an active agent in visualising the movie. The Humanizer asks if today’s audience can picture an entire movie, its locations, cast and even its message without ever having to see it?

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Chruthaigh lucht gairme scannán as Hollywood an scannán seo lena n-áirítear an scríbhneoir script scannáin clúiteach Michael Lesslie (Macbeth, 2015; Assassin’s Creed, 2016) agus an dearthóir iomráiteach a bhfuil gradam Oscar bainte amach aici Annie Atkins (The Grand Budapest Hotel, 2014; Bridge of Spies, 2015). Tá The Humanizer ar cheann de thrí mhórshaothar nua á choimisiúnú ag IMMA a léiríonn oidhreacht chomóradh Stát na hÉireann.

Bhí an-spéis ag Simon Fujiwara i saol neamhghnách Ruairí Mhic Easmainn. Meastar gurb é an chéad duine ar domhan é a throid ar son chearta an duine, agus bronnadh ridireacht air mar aitheantas ar a throid ar son chearta sclábhaithe, agus ansin d’iompaigh sé i gcoinne na Sasanach ar son náisiúnaigh na hÉireann a raibh Éirí Amach na Cásca mar thoradh air. Ba é rialtas na Breataine ba shiocair lena bhás sa deireadh thiar nuair a daoradh chun báis é tar éis dialann an-chonspóideach dá chuid a aimsiú, ‘The Black Diaries’ mar a tugadh orthu, ina raibh “fianaise” fhollasach de ghníomhartha homaighnéasacha Mhic Easmainn.

Bhí an oiread dráma ag baint le saol Mhic Easmainn go raibh pleananna ann chomh luath le 1934 beathscannán a dhéanamh in Hollywood ar Mac Easmainn, mar a fuair Fujiwara amach i litreacha a sheol Universal Pictures chuig teaghlach Mhic Easmainn. Cé go raibh neart ábhar scannáin i saol Ruairí Mhic Easmainn chuir dlíthe cinsireachta cosc ar an scannán sna náisiúin a bhí i gceist.

Agus inspreagadh aige ó litreacha Universal Pictures atá i gcartlanna na Leabharlainne Náisiúnta, d’aimsigh Fujiwara grúpa aisteoirí gairmiúla comhaimseartha as Hollywood a d’oibreodh in éineacht leis chun a shamhlú cén chaoi a d’fhéadfaí na fíricí ó bheathaisnéis Mhic Easmainn a léiriú trí shúile chorparáidí scannán ilnáisiúnta an lae inniu.

Thug Fujiwara beathaisnéis Mhic Easmainn don scríbhneoir scáileáin mór le rá as Hollywood Michael Lesslie agus d’fhorbair seisean script scannáin inar cuireadh saol agus carachtar Mhic Easmainn in oiriúint, rinneadh ionramháil air agus rinneadh as an nua ar fad é go minic ag teacht le samhaltaí reatha d’fhoirm beathscannáin Hollywood. Cuireann Lesslie Mac Easmainn i láthair mar fhear macánta a rugadh sa ré nó san aois chontráilte – fear a rinne feall b’fhéidir ar an tír ar oibrigh sé ar a son, ach nár thug cúl dá phrionsabail féin riamh. I stíl cheart Hollywood, tá gach carachtar, gníomh agus líne sa script mar bhonn ag an scéal seo atá á insint.

Rinne compántas aisteoirí gairmiúla i mBaile Átha Cliath aithris ar an script ansin, agus socraíodh ag scór ceoil é ansin a chuirfeadh réamhfhógrán fada as Hollywood i gcuimhne duit. Rinneadh an ghné fuaime, ina n-áirítear ceol agus maisíochtaí fuaime breise ar stíl Hollywood, i mBeirlín i gcomhar leis an ealaíontóir agus an dearthóir fuaime Moritz Fehr.

Tá sé suite thar cheithre sheomra ina bhfuil rudaí agus giuirléidí pearsanta, caitear blúiríní fuaime an bheathscannáin isteach sna seomraí ag tréimhsí nach mbítear ag súil leo, rud a nochtann, ar an gcéad bhreathnú air, taispeántas stairiúil údarach de shaol Mhic Easmainn.

Ní mba le Mac Easmainn na rudaí a roghnaigh Fujiwara don scannán, áfach, ach is propanna iad ar iasacht ón stiúideo iomráiteach Babelsberg Film Studio i mBeirlín, áit a ndearnadh scannánú ar roinnt scannán stairiúil idir Metropolis, 1927, agus Inglorious Basterds, le Tarantino in 2009.

Ag gabháil leis na propanna don taispeántas tá sraith doiciméad macasamhlach ó shaol Mhic Easmainn lena n-áirítear litreacha grá, tuairisc gabhála agus ar ndóigh na dialanna cáiliúla ‘Black Diaries’ iad go léir á léiriú ag an dearthóir a bhuaigh Oscar Annie Atkins agus ag an speisialtóir i lámhscríbhneoireacht stairiúil Jan Jericho (Valkyrie, 2008, Cloud Atlas, 2012). Déantar doiciméid pháipéir reatha ó shaol Mhic Easmainn a athchruthú anseo trí shúile an dearthóra as Hollywood ionas go mbeidh cuma níos údaraí orthu, ar uairibh, ná mar a bhí ar na leaganacha bunaidh féin.

Trí ghiotaí fuaime, líon beag rudaí, doiciméad, agus cuirtíní agus cairpéad mórthimpeall ort mar a bheadh i bpictiúrlann, féachtar in The Humanizer leis an eispéireas a fhaightear le scannán Hollywood a bhfuil buiséad mór ag gabháil leis a chur i gcuimhne dúinn ar na bealaí is umhaile dá bhfuil ann.

Níl na pictiúir ag bogadh go mealltach mar a bhíonn sa phictiúrlann chun an méid atá le feiceáil againn a chur in iúl go beacht dúinn, caithfidh an lucht féachana féin aird a thabhairt agus an scannán a shamhlú. Fiafraítear in The Humanizer cibé an bhfuil lucht féachana an lae inniu in ann scannán ó thús deireadh, na suíomhanna go léir, an fhoireann agus fiú teachtaireacht an scannáin a shamhlú gan gá dóibh é a fheiceáil in aon chor?

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