Now, ambiguity prevails all around us.

Thanks to the development of the Internet, everybody has gained the ability to share information.

Social media have made it possible for people around the world to access each other across great distances as if that geographic separation no longer existed.

Conventional fashion feels like an anachronism. By mixing the new and old and the East and West beyond gender, new ways of representation are constantly being born. We can access world trends and affairs in real time every day. The quick spread of the recent financial crisis makes us recognize that there is actually only one world. People around the world share each other’s sense of values.

Via my works, I attempt to represent the world view, which is hermaphroditic and ambiguous, shared between the extremes that are immanent in modern society such as reality and virtuality, the East and the West, traditional aesthetics and subcultures, and masculinity and femininity. The reason is that sharing is an important element that constitutes my own identity.

I was born and raised in a mono-racial island country, Japan, where people share implicit common sense to a great extent. Therefore, in their daily lives, explicit explanation is seldom required. Their reticent, less self-assertive nationality has thus become established. Such a high-context social nature of the Japanese is based on their attitude for sharing and this seems to me to be in the vanguard of the above-described current world trends.

At the same time, we are the generation that lacks consciousness about old traditions and customs. Our society had already been westernized when we were born. However, later, a movement of reviving respect for Japanese culture arose and we have lived in such a social ambience. Therefore, people of my generation rarely have any so-called inferiority complex to Western culture. The ancient Japanese accepted Buddhism, while sustaining their original spiritual pillar, that is, worship for nature called Shinto. In modern times, we even celebrate Christmas regardless of our own religion. The sense of sharing might be a weakness of the Japanese but it is surely also the source of our strength.

                                                                                                                                            Masato Shigemori

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