Ishiuchi Miyako Club & Courts Yokosuka Yokohama

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So, the dig at post-industrial decay has put a giant bee in my bonnet. But what should I expect about the unspoken class issues that revolve and permeate through and in photography these days? I mean, if you have a New York-London-based photographer stat in your bio and are in your 20s, it does lead one to question how much you may understand not only about class issues but also the general scope of history, its failed ideologies, its occupations, and the reason that people, particularly people unborn of money may see spaces that haunt and consume the imagination through disrepair of dereliction as inspirational or relational to their position or aesthetic interests. That does not suggest that one has to be middle class or poor to understand these spaces, but rather that the jab about the term post-industrial exhibited a down-nose direction that could be easily construed as labor or class bias. Herein lies the context for my very appreciation of a photobook I purchased recently from 2007, which I think goes a pretty long way to tie in some of the reasons that people like myself and Ishiuchi Miyako find these spaces between epochs, eras, and utility important. However, we have approached their regard differently, not in competing or unsympathetic ways…



I exceed in places like this, not only for their liminal qualities but also because of the melancholy that I feel in viewing decay, time passing, the ineffable understanding of my body wondering through, struggling through its place in the world, a body (dissociated) bereft of soft landings, easy Ivy-league living, and the unspoken positioning of these class aesthetics against the rough grain of imperial capitalism and its aesthetic reaches. The melancholy is part and parcel of being born when I was, though I suspect that there might have been people with similar feelings following something like the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, seeing the ruins of Belfort, or running over the ruins of the Vendôme Column, a strange art historical allegory between Courbet (one of the instigators of the column’s castration) and his painting Origin du Monde, such beautiful poetry between the two hardly ever written with such force since. The truth is that I am drawn to things and place in their passing…




Original Specifications
Book Size 274 × 231 mm
Pages88 pages,
77 imagesBinding
Softcover, Slipcase
Publication Year2007
LanguageEnglish, Japanese
Club & Courts Yokosuka Yokohama
Publisher: Sokyusha
Miyako Ishiuchi’s “Club & Courts Yokosuka Yokohama” consists of grainy, moody photographs taken in decaying amusement bars, entertainment clubs and other seedy places in Yokosuka and Yokohama. Shot in the 1970s and 1980s, Ishiuchi captures the lost glamour, the alluring air of the forbidden, the smell of sex but also the exploitation, horror and desperation of the post-war period that kept lingering somewhere within these ruins. Over time, Ishiuchi felt her hate turn into love and affection.
“In 1966, invited by a friend who was engaged to an American soldier, I visited the EM Club for the first time. The EM Club was an establishment that one could not enter unless accompanied by someone from the U.S. military. The three of us watched a movie, played the slot machines, and ate pizza at the restaurant. Despite the fact that I don’t remember what movie we saw, I do remember well the footage that showed just prior to the movie. The image which stirred such unease in me that it quite disturbed me was of the American flag, filling the entire screen, rippling. When the music began, the audience stood and saluted the screen. Lately, I’ve begun to feel that the distaste I felt then, along with an awkwardness which was a new sensation to me, melded together in a mass of images and perhaps formed the energy that propelled me toward photography.” ― from Miyakoi Ishiuchi’s afterword (included in Japanese and in English translation)
All copies of “Club & Courts Yokosuka Yokohama” (originally published in 2007) sold by shashasha have been recently rediscovered by the artist in her own possession. All copies are signed.



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