Caleb’s zine corner #2
Punctum Times No. 15 (2011)
“GOZO YOSHIMASU REQUIEM – A pilgrimage… … to the deep water planet’s Turtle Island. Now! Toward the Dragon King’s (Ryugu) palace… …”
Hello this week in the zine corner I am looking at Punctum Times No. 15. Punctum Times is (from their website punctum.jp) “a newspaper-style publication of photography and art, rolling off the press since 2006”. By “newspaper-style” they are referring to the newsprint paper, not the content or its layout. Also printed in full color !! Also “Punctum” keeps autocorrecting to “Puncture” because I guess this computer hasn’t read Barthes (but it’s the ICP library computer ??)
No. 15 features a multimedia 2011 project by Gozo Yoshimasu, who is most famous for his poetry. This magazine features plenty of poetry (scans of handwritten verse as well as typed text and inscriptions on the back of Instax photos), however it is mostly photographs. The title is a reference to the Japanese folktale of Urashima Taro, which is often compared to Rip Van Winkle. In it, a fisherman rescues a turtle and in return gets to ride on its back to the undersea palace of Ryujin the Dragon God. He only stays in the palace for three days but when he comes back to his village 300 years have passed. Again, from punctum.jp:
‘Gozo Yoshimasu visited the Watts Towers in L.A., Grand Canyon and Sedona, Arizona in March, 2011.
He made his new films “gozoCiné” and wrote texts there.
He also took a lot of photographs with a digital camera and an instant camera.
It’s not too much to say that the Japanese worst earthquake and Tsunami on 11 March 2011 inspired him to make these things, I think.
He made some films, took lots of photographs, and wrote a long texts and many memorandum.
This issue has a very special meaning for the readers and the author. This is a requiem for…… [Publisher & Editor: Issei Teramoto]”
The images of the Watts Towers are juxtaposed with handwritten text, subtitled “Original Manuscript of “REQUIEM…”. According to Wikipedia, “The Watts Towers, Towers of Simon Rodia, or Nuestro Pueblo (“our town”) are a collection of 17 interconnected sculptural structures within the Simon Rodia State Historic Park in the Watts community of Los Angeles. The tallest of the towers reaches a height of over 99 feet (30 m). The towers and walls were designed and built by Sabato (“Simon”) Rodia (1879–1965), an Italian immigrant construction worker and tile mason, over a period of 33 years, from 1921 to 1954. The work is an example of outsider art and Italian-American naïve art.”
Having seen Yoshimasu read I was aware of his highly performative art practice and in this project we see evidence of that: on page 29, “Sedona, AZ 3:57 3.31.2011 (JST)”, and on the back cover, we see photographs of Yoshimasu wearing a green poncho and holding a clothes hanger with objects hanging from it. Nowhere else does he appear in the zine, however the photographs feel like we are seeing through his eyes. They begin in Tokyo, before moving onto Los Angeles and various locations in Arizona. There are both color and black and white photographs in a variety of different styles, including some abstract light trails towards the center that I was particularly drawn to. Some photographs are also split across pages, and a white vertical strip divides the sections. Another image that caught my attention was “Flagstaff, AZ 5:07 3.30.2011 (JST)”, which appears to portray a large pool inside of a bar (it’s unclear).
You can learn more about Punctum Times at punctum.jp and you can browse this issue in person at the ICP Library 🙂
~Caleb, Teaching assistant, ICP Library