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Transformation of the Body and Mind in Darkness: From Cave Art to Our Everyday Life

(approx. 4700 words/English/2012)


Phenomenology of Shadow ~Looking for Voluminous Shadows in Contemporary Art~ 


(approx. 2600 words/English/2011)



-Short Story/短編







『影絵道 -光と影の全体性をめぐる旅・思索・実践-』




1 ホワイトライオンの影

2    私の影と出会う

3 光と影のダンス

4 影絵道へ







Transformation of the Body and Mind in Darkness: From Cave Art to Our Everyday Life




1 Light and Darkness in Cave Art

2 Plato's Simile of the Cave 

3 Light and Darkness in the East 

4 Dialogue in the Dark 





Nowadays, we can work no matter if it is day or night because of artificial light which can illuminate our environment all night. However such disproportion of light and darkness brings harmful effects not only to ecological systems but also to the human mind and body. Today, the issue of how to keep a balance between light and darkness can be regarded as an international problem. This essay aims to reevaluate darkness which has been chased away under the predominance of light in the process of human civilization, and considers the rich relationship between humanity, light and darkness from the view point of phenomenology.

In section1,  I will refer to Cave Art as one of the origins of the relation between light and darkness with human beings. From the view points of the scholar Lewis-Williams who analyzes Cave Art in the relation with shamanism, I will especially pay attention to the existence of shadow which was used for depiction of the figures.

In section2, I will compare the caves of Lewis-Williams’s theory and Plato’s The Allegory

of the Cave. Plato’s simile, which influenced Western consciousness in terms of the

concepts of light and shadow, gave the advantage to visual over the other senses and

placed shadow as the opposite to the truth. What his story lacked was the physicality in

the relationship with light and darkness in the cave space.

In section3, I will turn my gaze to the East and see the different ways of relating to light and darkness in Asian performing arts. Referring to both Balinese shadow play in which the darkness is also a part of the theatre space and Butoh in which both light and darkness are within the body, I will consider what the influence of darkness is for the body. 



Phenomenology of Shadow ~Looking for Voluminous Shadows in Contemporary Art~ 



This essay reviews the existence of shadow, which according to Abram (2010) tends to be regarded as a flat silhouette or negative symbol in Western history. The essay examines Abram’s idea of ‘voluminous shadow’, -or in Merleau-Ponty’s words ‘depth and thickness’, in both eastern and western contemporary art. It aims to find an alternative approach of our perception or relationship regarding shadows in contemporary art.


Short Story/短編




自費出版本『UMIRA 0.6』収録(テキスト+絵/2007)。