Anne-Sophie Turion
Eric Minh Cuong Castaing HIKU


Both cinema and performance, fiction and documentary, HIKU brings to the stage the Japanese phenomena of the hikikomori, self-inflicted recluses living in isolation from any form of social contact. Via the medium of remote-controlled robots, three such individuals find a public presence and means of action.

HIKU sets up an encounter which is seemingly impossible. Onstage, or more precisely in telepresence, Shizuka, Mastuda and Yagi, three hikikomori in the midst of re-sociabilisation, speak up, interacting with the audience by moving around elements of the stage set and unrolling banners. Each of them pilots their own robot from the confines of their bedroom, thousands of kilometers away, while Yuika, their performer and game partner, accompanies them onstage in flesh and blood. Mixed in with the stage-bound actions, various cinematographic sequences open a window on their intimacy. The latter is revisited or imagined in order to navigate a path between the memories of their time spent in isolation, and their sensations of the present. Haunted by the motif of the hikikomori-demo, a happening which recluses use to proclaim their right to social withdrawal, the piece is not so much a condemnation of this conscious act of disappearance, this escape from reality, as an attempt to view it as a dissident form of self-effacement, and way of resisting against the injunctions of the contemporary world.