KITCHEN CHIMERA (Vol.1, 1992, p.5), A Dream of Africa, text/Toshihiro Sakuma

I was probably worn out when I arrived in Nairobi. I do not remember how I got out of the airport, but when I noticed I was eating breakfast with Sumio. Sitting facing each other, we ate toast and fried eggs without words. Afterwards we went out to join two of Sumio' s friends. The four of us walked along a path towards a river. I only talked with his two friends. While crossing a bridge, way down in the water or a swampy river, I could see countless something moving. Looking closer, in the milky white jello like glue liquid. I see unbelievable number of whitish animals like alligators playing in a jumble with black people. The animals and the blacks are all laughing. I was tempted to join them but at the same time I felt as if I've been there in the past. Remembering not having any money used in Kenya, I ask Sumio to come with me to get them changed at the airport right behind his house. Sumio helps me out in many ways but I cannot figure out whether he is really Sumio since I have not even talked with him and realized I have not even looked at his face. For all I know he might be me.

Maybe because I planned to go to Kenya on the last half of my trip, instead or dreaming about Spain, few days before leaving Japan I saw such a dream. At first, I only planned to go to Spain to exhibit my work at the Sevilla Exposition'92, but the reason why I took the opportunity and decided later to extend my trip to as far as East Africa was because I found out that my friend Sumio Suzuki who appears in my dream was staying in Nairobi on business. To be honest, after deciding to go, I spent my days seeing giraffes and lions wandering in my mind, so though I do not remember I'm pretty sure that I must've seen such dreams a couple more times...

The impression I got working at the Sevilla Expo'92 were days composedly going by being secluded at the Japanese Pavilion. In room number 5 'SCIENCE ART EXHIBITION' where I exhibited my work, they also had works done by Setsuko Ishii, Toshio Iwai, Keijiro Sato, Mikimaro Haraguchi and Taizo Matsumura whose works were those utilizing technology today. Ms. Ishii exhibited a hologram installation using Japanese literature, bamboo and plant as her motif, Mr. Iwai's was an attractive animation apparatus, Mr. Sato's was a three dimensional work to sublimate vibration to a movement of musical image, Mr. Haraguchi's an illusory light sculpture of aurora shape, Mr. Matsumura's a visual apparatus of geometrical tracks made by blinking light, and my work was of luminous Protozoa dancing to animistic movements.
I cannot find anything in particular to write about the Expo'92 on the whole, except that the place itself was huge. The reason for this is because most of the other pavilions were not yet completed and could not be seen and everything else in Spain which was all new to me were I'm afraid much more impressive compared to the borderless space or the Expo'92. But besides this (though this was my first opportunity to see an Exposition), it was also due to feeling the boreness of finding "that" naiveness once again here as well, while looking at the site of the Expo from a taxi to and from the place, although I do have a had habit or feeling as if I've already seen things when I haven' t.

Even though the end of March in Nairobi was entering its rain season, throughout my stay the weather was mostly good. The impression I got of this land was that it's a somewhat dusty summer resort and though it's right on the equator line it was hot but refreshing because or low humidity. Everything I hear and see was mostly surprising but I felt every one of them resound pleasantly into my body and mind. Especially the three days I spent at the safari camp in Masai Mara where Sumio took me because I could not leave Africa without seeing a live giraffe, actually did lengthen my span of life (the wild giraffes were truly beautiful). Unlike myself I sometimes was in a manic state of talkativeness and the reason I became childish was not due to the excitement of the trip, but rather I was probably being cured while unaware by something like a strong heeling power that I felt on this land's nature and culture.
Due to regaining my health, such as my chronic disease asthma settling down which started before leaving Japan and my stomach and digestive system that as giving me trouble becoming well, persuaded me into thinking that I was rapidly getting back my wild nature.
But besides these pleasant impressions, I also became aware of yet another self-deception and weakness I had. Like when I was at the market surrounded by many blacks, I could not control my feelings of shudder and insult, and when being treated special in many places because of my race and because of the existence of poverty and wealth, I felt uncomfortable but at the same time somewhere deep inside I found myself feeling superior. So for example, the kind of reason like the color of one's skin is not essential, which is suppose to be an obvious propositions of my thoughts, at every situation threatened me through my physical refusal.
Every one of these many experiences which somewhat also marveled me, demanded that I evaluate and revise each scene I had to deal with, so the formula of value judgment which I might have kept on choosing to suit my conveniences in order to be acknowledged as a certain sort of person, or an ideal character suitable for me that has previously been fixed in my mind both looked like losers before the match began. But the reason why I could deal with them with a sort of a refreshing feeling and not have bitter impressions, were because this land was probably overflowing with optimistic cure power.

Come to think of it, this feeling I had was that of the dream. All the while I was in Kenya, Sumio kept laughing at me for repeatedly saying 'It's like a dream' which I meant 'great', but against the realistic vision that is submitted from the consciousness of one's mind as an human existence in a society which was formed against one's will by twisting and reversing one's essential desire, if the healing power of a dream is to heal the wounds and exhaustion of one's heart in one's sleep by means of tearing down by using imaginative symbols and metaphors, the time I spent in Kenya certainly had the same effect of the hours of dream for me.
The scenes I dreamed before leaving Japan which I wrote at the beginning of this essay, of course did not happen in reality and unfortunately they were not foreseen dreams, (although when alligators stood still with their mouth open they did look as if they were laughing. The people of Kenya laughed a lot also in reality.), none the less, I thought I was lucky that this dream woven by mysterious atmosphere and strange calmness gave me a great introduction to my stay in Africa......the blacks (the wild) and the alligators (violence) were playing without a worry in the world in a soup that is like the origin of life, and I who am crossing the bridge heading to a new place am watching the scene with a feeling of envy and nostalgia......appreciating by interpreting it this way, because the same sort of feeling as this was with me althrough my stay in Africa.
(Translated by Taeko Nanpei)