Archive of Australian Alternative Comics: IMAGINARY WORLDS SYMPOSIUM

This symposium continued the association between the University of Technology, Sydney and Supanova of staging comics related academic events. In this case topics were not confined to the study of comics in general nor Australian alternative comics in particular. Rather, the papers reflected  a more wide-ranging list of subjects that included connections between comics and fashion, film, animation, literature, calligraphy and computer games. There was even a presentation on the design of comics for young readers with vision impairment. This range of topics had resonance with Supanova’s own broadening interests that had spread from an initial focus on comics (it was originally known as ComicFest) to a wider pop culture spread.

Page from the SUPANOVA program listing the event.

Page from the SUPANOVA program listing the event.

The symposium researchers focused on the use of the design elements of image and space and the manipulation of these in the creation of fantasy worlds in these various media forms. Co-curated by Dr. Vicki Karaminas and I the symposium was staged at the UTS city campus in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building on 14th October 2005 and was opened by the Dean of that faculty. This is the fifteenth in a series of posts called Archives of Australian Comics History that document moments in the recent history of Australian comics, particularly alternative comics and the Australian Small Press, however, as stated above, this post has a broader orientation. I started researching this subject in the late 1990s and it eventually led to my PhD thesis: Ph.D. Macquarie University, Division of Society, Culture, Media and Philosophy,  A Study Of Contemporary Australian Alternative Comics 1992-2000 With Particular Reference To The Work Of Naylor, Smith, Danko And Ord, 2003. On completion of the research I donated the materials and comics I had collected to the National Library of Australia: Michael Hill Collection of Australian Comics. Posts in Archives of Australian Comics History:   Comic-Fest   Comics  in Record Shops   Comics Workshops   Down Under Ground   Getting SMASH(ed)!   Imaginary Worlds Symposium    International Exhibition of Drawings   OZCON   Mind Rot   Savage Pencils   Sick Puppy Comix   TiNA Arena   MCA Zine Fair   2002 Sequential Art Studies Conference   2nd Sequential Art Studies Conference

COFFEE TABLE fourth fix

There are football (or soccer) comics on the coffee table this month. I’m currently watching matches from the English Premier League, the FA Cup, the German BundesligaSpanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, the Japanese J. League and the local Australian A-League. Last year I saw a really good FIFA World Cup qualifying match in Brisbane between Australia (Socceroos) and Japan (Blue Samurai) and recently I attended a Sydney FC match and witnessed the Italian master Alessandro Del Piero (a.k.a. the little painter) play. Del Piero says he was inspired to play football by the Japanese animation and manga character Captain Tsubasa (see image below). Growing up in Australia with the SBS television broadcaster, the Special Broadcasting Service, I was aware of football’s cultural origins. Due to its coverage of ethnic programs SBS became an amusing acronym in the schoolyard for ‘Soccer Bloody Soccer’ especially for followers of the other football codes such as rugby league, rugby union and Australian rules, and later with it’s screening of adult art films prior to the early morning broadcast of live football matches from Europe, ‘Sex Before Soccer’.

Comic Book Guy red carded for invading the pitch. (Photo and staging by Michael Hill a.k.a. Doctor Comics)

Comic Book Guy red carded for invading the pitch. (Photo and staging by Michael Hill a.k.a. Doctor Comics)

So some of my set of Simpsons soccer figures and Comic Book Guy comics are in play this time. I’m not sure whether Simpsons creator Matt Groening is a football fan or not but following the repertory nature of the show the cast was kitted out to fill a couple of soccer teams with Mr. Burns as the referee. Comic Book Guy seems to be miscast here, invading the playing field and shown the red card by referee Burns for not being a member of either team. There is no sign of the ball, lost perhaps in the long grass. Springfield is not known for its smooth playing surfaces. Perhaps Homer was supposed to mow it but forgot?

Comic Book Guy in his own series plus his enormous cosplay effort on Free Comic Book Day.

Comic Book Guy in his own series plus his enormous cosplay effort on Free Comic Book Day.

The Jack Kirby cover for the first issue of The Fantastic Four.

The Jack Kirby cover for the first issue of The Fantastic Four.

In the recent comic book series Death of Comic Book Guy, the first issue cover is a pastiche of the Jack Kirby design for The Fantastic Four #1 back in November 1961 with Comic Book Guy trading places with The Thing, Bart with Human Torch, and Homer with Invisible Girl(see above). Oh, did I forget to mention Billy the Fish?

Captain Tsubasa manga

Captain Tsubasa manga: Road To 2002 Vol.10 (2002 FIFA World Cup campaign)

All of the figurines in the set.

All of the figurines in the set.

Springfield's finest-Homer with ball-Simpsons soccer trading card.

Springfield’s finest-Homer with ball-The Simpsons soccer trading card.

Grampa stops the ball in The Simpsons Springfield soccer team trading cards.

Grampa stops the ball in The Simpsons Springfield soccer team trading cards.

UPDATE #1(February 2014): The Simpsons show is currently cartoonising some of the members of English Premier League club Chelsea FC. (L to R in the photo below) are Eden Hazard, Fernando Torres, John Terry, Frank Lampard and Petr Cech.

Chelsea FC players standing behind their Simpsonised characters.

Chelsea FC players standing behind their Simpsonised characters.

UPDATE #2(June 2014): On a recent visit to Germany I picked up a football comic at a comics convention. (See cover below)

A German football comic reprinted in time for the 2014 World Cup.

A German football comic reprinted in time for the 2014 World Cup.

CupofCoffee-1RRead all the coffee table entries imported from Doctor Comictopus blog:  COFFEE TABLE first fix(Day of the Dead/Halloween comics)      COFFEE TABLE fourth fix(Football comics)   COFFEE TABLE eighth fix(Hergé and Tintin)    COFFEE TABLE tenth fix(Shigeru Mizuki)

GIGANTOR AND GOJIRA IN THE HOUSE

I’m happy to now have two three dimensional wall plaques or flat sculptures of Gigantor and Gojira on the kitchen walls of our house: Gigantor the giant, remote controlled, peace-keeping robot, based on the manga Tetsujin 28-go (Iron man No.28) by Mitsuteru Yokoyama and adapted for animation, plus Gojira (Godzilla) star of the famous Japanese movie directed by Ishirō Honda. These plaques are the work of model maker, artist and comics creator Lewis P. Morley and were exhibited just last month at a gallery in Redfern, Sydney. Once installed, Lewis agreed to attended their christening.

Gigantor installed… (Photograph by Louise Graber)

…above the stove in the kitchen. (Photograph and ceramic tile design by Louise Graber)

I have always thought that Gigantor’s body resembled a pot-bellied stove so I decided that it was appropriate he be positioned above the stove. His clunky design with rivets and pistons, prior to those more elegant mobile suit robots, such as Gundam that succeeded him, have some resonance with the metal stove and the various pots and pans on the shelves.

Gojira installed on the Japanese graduated toned wall. (Photograph by Louise Graber)

The whale eating Gojira, on the other hand, coming from the depths of the ocean and memorably seen in the 1954 Godzilla movie wading through Tokyo Bay, had to go over the kitchen sink.

Lewis and his magic silver signing pen signing Gojira. (Photograph by Louise Graber)

Man in the mask. (Photograph and ceramic tile design by Louise Graber)

The position of Lewis’s eye in this photo reminds me of the actors who played the monsters in those Japanese films having to get inside a costume with their eyes are visible through a mesh covered slit in the throat or neck of the character that enabled them to see where they were going.

Christening Gigantor in steampunk style with steam from a boiling kettle. (Photograph and ceramic tile design by Louise Graber)

Christening Gojira with water from a metal jug. (Photograph by Louise Graber)

Job done: the artist poses in front of the installation.  (Photograph and ceramic tile design by Louise Graber)

It was very kind of Lewis to come over, wearing his Gundam T-shirt and perform this ritual. He now has visiting rights. This post was first published on the Doctor Comictopus blog.

Doctor Comictopus avatar for Michael Hill Ph.D (a.k.a. Doctor Comics) designed by Michelle Park.

Doctor Comictopus alias for Michael Hill Ph.D (a.k.a. Doctor Comics) designed by Michelle Park.

UPDATE: GODZILLA GETS RESIDENCY CERTIFICATE IN TOKYO, June 2015

News photo: Godzilla officially welcomed to Shinjuku by the Mayor.

News photo: Godzilla officially welcomed to Shinjuku by the Mayor.

UPDATE: POSTER DESIGNS FOR THE NEW SHIN GODZILLA FILM, April 2017

 

 

FLYING THE ANIME FLAG ON TREASURE ISLAND

In late October I spent a week in Fiji for the Japanese Embassy and the Japan Foundation to present a lecture and workshop at the School of Arts, Language and Media of the University of the South Pacific and introduce films at an Anime festival. It was all part of Japan Culture Week 2011 in Suva, the capital city on the largest of the 300 islands and it seemed a bit like an act of cultural colonisation, raising the Anime flag and flying its colours on Treasure Island, creating a little Anime paradise in the Pacific Ocean.

Lecturing on the global spread of Japanese pop culture in the 1980s. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Lecturing on the global spread of Japanese pop culture in the 1980s. (Photo by Louise Graber)

My lecture Up In The Air: Anime’s Journey To The Stars described the global success of Japanese animation and its rise to prominance in the film world and in popular culture. It covered the work of Osamu Tezuka and the success of his work abroad. It also referred to Rintaro’s involvement with him as an animation director on Astro Boy prior to his subsequent productions that included his Tezuka homage film Metropolis, his adaption of Leiji Matsumoto’s manga Galaxy Express 999, and of Sanpei Shirato’s manga The Dagger of Kamui. Describing Shirato’s beginnings as a kamishibai artist before moving to manga and the alternative publication GARO the lecture was situated in the context of anecdotes from my time as a lecturer at an Arts college and a School of Design in Sydney where I observed the growing interest of students in Japanese popular culture. They became fascinated with manga, Anime, cosplay, J-Pop, scanlations, computer games, cameras, turntables, TV game shows, food and fashion, not to mention the learning of the Japanese language and the odd visit to Tokyo. The lecture concluded with an analysis of the productions and rise to prominence of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli who, like Tezuka, found an international audience and critical acclaim.

The tools and materials for the printmaking workshop. (Photo by Louise Graber)

In addition to the theory lecture I also presented a practical workshop demonstrating the printmaking technique I have developed as part of my artistic practice. Based on the Japanese creative print movement of Sosaku Hanga and the work of Koshiro Onchi and Shiko Munakata  in particular I showed examples of my work that have been made following this approach and methodology and applied to prints, postcards, T-shirts and comics.

Teaching techniques to students of University of the South Pacific. (Photo by Louise Graber)

After the demonstration the students then made their own prints. By chance, the cultural activities took place in the same week as the Rugby World Cup finals and the only paint colours to hand were those of the Wallabies, yellow and green. My own rugby woodblock print (on the table and being passed around the class, in the photos above) provided some amusement and interest.

The ‘sosaku hanga’ creative printmaking workshop. (Photo by Louise Graber)

On the roof of the Village Cinema complex Batman and Spiderman look down intrigued at the sight of people going in to see the Ninja super hero Kamui. It was here that the Anime Film Festival was held each evening. The films Galaxy Express 999, The Dagger of Kamui, Laputa: Castle in the Sky and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time were screened to impressed audiences. Anime is now a fixed part of the Japanese cultural coat of arms, emblamatic of the country’s long history of graphic arts that feeds into and nurtures both Anime and manga. A week long festival of Anime films and supporting contextual cultural events signaled an alternative offering to Hollywood and the further spread of Japanese popular culture in the South Pacific.

Village Cinema Centre, Suva. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Some other visual moments from my Fiji trip follow:

In the hotel pool in Nadi, my friend the octopus. (Photo by Louise Graber)

In the hotel pool in Nadi, my friend the octopus. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Doctor Comics in  shark jaws at the University of the South Pacific. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Doctor Comics in shark jaws at the University of the South Pacific. (Photo by Louise Graber)

In the Fiji Museum in Suva, the Eel God sacred club. (Photo by Louise Graber)

In the Fiji Museum in Suva, the Eel God sacred club. (Photo by Louise Graber)

In addition to my affinity with the octopus and various fish I am partial to the eel. During my Fiji visit I was pleased to find that the eel has acquired the status of a deity and a creative one at that in Melanesian mythology. Below is an artwork I created based on the freshwater eels that used to be found and fished in the Parramatta River near Blacktown in Sydney.

My own eel art work(print, painting and collage-© 2009 Michael Hill).

My own eel art work(print, painting and collage-© 2009 Michael Hill).

Another treasure inside the Fiji Museum was this old metal Hopkinson & Cope printing press, imported from England in earlier days. At my printmaking workshop in Suva I demonstrated a Japanese method that employs one’s body weight as a press rather than a device such as this European device.

Old metal, pre-digital printing press. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Old metal, pre-digital printing press. (Photo by Louise Graber)

On this Treasure Island, apart from the art and the marine life, there were collections of coconuts, palm trees and flowers including red hibiscus and white frangipani, all over the place.

Big frangipani presence on the island. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Big frangipani presence on the island. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Many thanks to Sayuri Tokuman and Susan Yamaguchi of the Japanese Studies & Intellectual Exchange Department and Tokiko Kiyota, Director of the Japan Foundation in Sydney, and to Nobuko Iwatani, Mako Nakauchi and Mele of the Embassy of Japan in Fiji, and His Excellency Yutaka Yoshizawa, Ambassador of Japan, for their ideas, assistance and support with this project.

CATS IN COMICS: The Rabbi’s Cat

This cat can talk! The Rabbi’s Cat by Joann Sfar.

This is a wonderful talking cat from Algeria that lives with a rabbi and occasionally visits Paris. One day it ate the rabbi’s parrot and in so doing, gained the gift of speech. Being a smart cat it denied eating the bird and instead demanded conversion to Judaism. The design of the cat appears loose and improvised. Whilst it is rather thin and scrawny in physique it is big in terms of personality, intelligence and cheek. This richness of character and determination affords the cat the capability of comprehending foreign languages(he speaks Arabic, French, Latino and a bit of Spanish) and of learning the Torah. The rabbi’s cat is a marvellous, witty and charming cat that pleases itself, as cats do. It has appeared in several comics and most recently in an animated feature film of the same name and is the creation of the very talented Joann Sfar, a jury prize winner at Angoulême for The Rabbi’s Cat graphic novel. The cat likes to hang out with the rabbi’s daughter and snuggle up close to her. It even tells her that it loves her. She tells it to shut up as she prefers it when it’s quiet or not around. It’s also inconvenient for both of them when her boyfriend visits. The cat loves a bit of a scratch, preferably on the ear by a female foot with painted toenails. Resilient, resourceful, stubborn, smart, curious and decidedly nocturnal, this cat is difficult to ignore.

This cat considers taking up painting to impress his love.

The Rabbi’s Cat (Le Chat Du Rabbin) film is a charming animated adaption of the graphic novels by Joann Sfar who also co-directed the film thus ensuring an authentic visual adaption of the bande dessinee. I saw the film at the 2012 French Film Festival in Sydney and I have been reading the graphic novels for a couple of years. You can watch the trailer of the film here. Sfar is a prolific and award winning comics creator with awesome talent who is now transferring his talents to filmmaking. Sfar had previously directed the highly stylised live-action film Gainsbourg (vie héroïque) of the life of the famous 1960’s French pop singer Gainsbourg (that’s Serge Gainsbourg, Charlotte’s dad). The film won the French Oscar, César Award, for Best First Film. The Rabbi’s Cat (Le Chat Du Rabbin) film also won a César for Best Animated Feature and the similar prize at the 2011 Annecy International Animated Film Festival. It is a traveller’s tale in more ways than one dealing with the cat’s progress from ordinary cat to talking cat having swallowed a parrot, its enforced separation from its beloved mistress, the rabbi’s daughter, and its struggles with the rabbi in its attempts to convert to the Jewish religion. Then there is the overland journey in an antique Citroën half-track, all terrain vehicle from France to Africa with the rabbi, a Russian artist and others in search of African Jews in Ethiopia. The film is ambitious covering material from three of the graphic novels although some characters and sequences have been altered or omitted. Its visual design has also been modified into a more simplified cartoon look suitable for animation production from Sfar’s sumptious illustrative style but the images remain rich and varied. It contains plenty of satire including a few barbs aimed at Tintin and his dog Snowy whom the travellers meet in Africa and whom the cat finds somewhat obnoxious.

Poster of the film.

Poster of the film.

For a more formal analysis of The Rabbi’s Cat graphic novel see my post Gridlocking Joann Sfar’s Talking Cat on The Comics Grid. You can also watch an extract from a new documentary by Sam Ball called Joann Sfar Draws From Memory that shows Sfar cheerfully drawing in a restaurant with his pen and water-colours whilst dining and commenting on his cross-cultural background and port city upbringing.

Read all the CATS IN COMICS posts:  Busch   Cohl    Doraemon    Krazy Kat    The Rabbi’s Cat

 

Doctor Comictopus alias for Michael Hill Ph.D (a.k.a. Doctor Comics) designed by Michelle Park.

Doctor Comictopus alias for Michael Hill Ph.D (a.k.a. Doctor Comics) designed by Michelle Park.

   

DOMO ARIGATO MR. ROBOTO: Toy Porn 2 Review

Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto! Tonight I went to the opening of a fascinating exhibition in Chippendale an area that is becoming something of an art scene (in the last few weeks I have been to exhibitions at galleries within a stone’s throw of each other-MOP, NG and White Rabbit). This exhibition Toy Porn 2 showcased the work of artist Nick Stathopoulos who recently made a portrait of the comics creator Shaun Tan for the Archibald Prize. There are no portraits of Tan here but appearances by character creations from animation, comics and films such as Astro Boy, Tintin, Batman, Thunderbirds, Robby the Robot, The Beatles in their Yellow Submarine, and assorted others. (Note: the Tan portrait was on display in the restaurant downstairs-see comment below by Ian McLean).

He always comes between us – Acrylic and oil glaze on canvas-2011-60 x 60 cm

Stathopoulos paints in an extremely hyper-realistic style on a flat canvas but manages to deliver a convincing three dimensional effect. He does intensely detailed, very fine painting with no trace of brush strokes. His rendering of plastic surfaces is extraordinary. It is a labour of love. There is tension evident in the work. He always comes between us portrays a moment of drama with Snowy separated by a surprised Tintin and an annoyed Captain Haddock. A painting of the package containing the Yellow Submarine toy is a tense sight to collectors and toy hunters for its detailed representations of scuffs, scratches and bends in the box that indicate the toy is in a less than mint condition yet still to be cherished.

Michael Hill a.k.a. Doctor Comics with the artist at the opening. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Michael Hill a.k.a. Doctor Comics with the artist at the opening. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Porn? I am familiar with shelf porn, the display of treasured collections. There are comics collectors who proudly reveal photographs of their bookshelves with the spines of all the graphic novels they own and that others might envy. The notion of ‘display’ of one’s collection, or as Claudia Chan Shaw described in her address, one’s ‘habit’, seems to be an essential element of this behaviour. So perhaps you looks at these images of someone else’s collection and long for or ‘lust’ over the titles that they have that you don’t? There is the love for the object in question and the desire for possession of it.

The artist does his impression of Tintin astonishment sans stand-up curl but with Capt. Haddock beard. (Photo by Louise Graber)

The show was opened by Claudia Chan Shaw, ABC-TV’s Collectors, who admitted to being a bit of a collector with a weakness for plastic and vinyl. She even brought one of her toys along to the event. Her speech was both erudite and amusing and she demonstrated a fine understanding of the business and motivation for collecting including, in this instance, the need for a reconnection with the playthings of one’s childhood. She was charming. Discussing her own collecting habits Claudia mentioned the therapeutic value of going public and sharing stories with other collectors, gaining empathy in a kind of collaborative complicity. She was wonderful, the perfect choice to launch this show.

"Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto!" Claudia Chan Shaw, Doctor Comics and the artist Nick Stathopoulos. (Photo by Louise Graber)

“Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto!” Claudia Chan Shaw, Doctor Comics and the artist Nick Stathopoulos. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Standing next to Nick’s portrait of Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet and opposite the Thunderbirds and with Claudia and Nick duelling with their Astro Boys, images of Tezuka’s Tetsuwan Atomu and the music of Queen’s Domo arigato Mr. Roboto by Japanese band Polysics played in my mind. Robots, rockets, plastic and vinyl were GO! This exhibition is an affectionate tribute to toys, their collection and preservation. Toy love. Well done Nick!  Good show. Comics lovers should definitely see it.

Toy Porn 2 is on at NG Art Gallery Little Queen Street, Chippendale, 26 July-13 August.

UPDATE:  Two years later Nick has provided a further instalment titled Toy Porn 3 at the same gallery from 24 September -12 October 2013 (See images on invite below).

Art from Toy Porn 3 by Nick Stathopoulos.

Art from Toy Porn 3 by Nick Stathopoulos.

Archive of Australian Alternative Comics: GETTING SMASH(ed)!

Saturday July 16 2011 was a day of anime amusement at SMASH! (the Sydney Manga and Anime Show). Over the past few years the local interest in manga and anime has grown and grown. Initially ignored by existing comics conventions fans created their own event. Some even began learning to read Japanese so that they could translate the manga. The conventions provided opportunities for fans to meet and enjoy these two media. Some local female creators began making their own versions of shōjo manga as a form of alternative comics and with local content. Interest continued to grow, as did the events. In Sydney there was Animania, in Melbourne, Manifest. And then there was SMASH!

The SMASH! 2011 program.

Located for the first time in its short 5 year history at the Sydney Convention Centre because it outgrew its previous venues from the Rounhouse at the University of New South Wales to the Sydney Town Hall…

The view from inside the Convention Centre. (Photo by Michael Hill)

Welcome from Box Man. (Photo by Louise Graber)

An occasion to dress up, there were costumes that required weeks of sewing, beading, feathering and functioning, paraded throughout the venue and on the cosplay stage…

A tutu moment… (Photo by Michael Hill)

One happy fan. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Many children there in addition to university, high school and primary school students, some with parents…

Three young cosplay fans. (Photo by Michael Hill)

There were Hobby Rooms for the construction and display of dolls and robots…

Some Dolfie dolls. (Photo by Michael Hill)

and tired doll collectors patiently waiting for a seat in the Maid Cafe.

Lolitas with Dolfie. (Photo by Michael Hill)

There were Art and Doodle Rooms for art and doodling… …and an epic two hours plus Cosplay Competition…

A really big and really, really long Cosplay Competition. (Photo by Michael Hill)

…not to mention a Gundam workshop, Karaoke, videogames, a screening of the excellent anime Summer Wars, sewing, pattern and armour making workshops, and a huge trading floor full of vendors, artists and clubs. And it all glowed in the presence of the patronage of the Japan Foundation. Japanese popular culture  thrived on a wonderful day! My report on last year’s event can be found on Forbidden Planet International. This is the third in a series of posts called Archives of Australian Comics History that document moments in the recent history of Australian comics, particularly alternative comics and the Australian Small Press. I started researching this subject in the late 1990s and it eventually led to my PhD thesis: Ph.D. Macquarie University, Division of Society, Culture, Media and Philosophy,  A Study Of Contemporary Australian Alternative Comics 1992-2000 With Particular Reference To The Work Of Naylor, Smith, Danko And Ord, 2003. On completion of the research I donated the materials and comics I had collected to the National Library of Australia: Michael Hill Collection of Australian Comics. Posts in Archives of Australian Comics History:   Comic-Fest   Comics  in Record Shops   Comics Workshops   Down Under Ground   Getting SMASH(ed)!   Imaginary Worlds Symposium    International Exhibition of Drawings   OZCON   Mind Rot   Savage Pencils   Sick Puppy Comix   TiNA Arena   MCA Zine Fair   2002 Sequential Art Studies Conference   2nd Sequential Art Studies Conference

FOOTNOTE: I SAW A BIG SAW AT BIG SIGHT!  As an addendum to this convention report I must mention another I visited in Tokyo. I travelled by monorail to Odaiba Island, an artificial island built in Tokyo Bay to attend the Tokyo Anime Fair at a venue called Tokyo Big Sight (pronounced Biggu Saito in Japanese). Big Sight? I thought that must be a misspelling along Japlish lines for the name of a large exhibition space. Shouldn’t it be called Big Site? However, as it turned out, there were definitely some big sights to behold. No sign of Godzilla but I thought of Thor as the monorail travelled over the Rainbow Bridge past some rather high tech looking buildings such as this one in the photo below of Fuji TV headquarters.

The headquarters of Fuji TV(building designed by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange) and the Joyopolis Arcade. (Photo by Michael Hill)

The headquarters of Fuji TV(building designed by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange) and the Joyopolis Arcade. (Photo by Michael Hill)

The headquarters of Fuji TV-detail. (Photo by Michael Hill)

The headquarters of Fuji TV-detail. (Photo by Michael Hill)

Then on arrival at the Big Sight location things started to look a bit unusual. There was an open space beneath a series of inverted pyramids sitting on glass covered, cantilevered legs. This giant entrance had the effect of reducing the scale of the people passing beneath it and thus enhancing the ‘big’ aspect implied in the name of the site.

Tokyo Big Sight-entrance. (Photo by Michael Hill)

Tokyo Big Sight-entrance. (Photo by Michael Hill)

The walk from the monorail station to the entrance of the Big Sight exhibition centre has something of an epic feel to it. It’s there but it’s a long way over there and as one  approaches, and that takes some time, the pyramids appear to grow in size and tower above one, providing something of a shrinking feeling as one nears. It was during this long walk that I happened to look over a railing, because I had drifted to one side of the open walkway, that I caught a glimpse of another large object embedded in the grass on the level below. A sculpture…an art installation…a large saw…unmistakably something by the Pop artist Claes Oldenburg. It was a big sight to see at this big site.

Saw, Sawing by Claes Oldenburg. (Photo by Michael Hill)

Saw, Sawing by Claes Oldenburg. (Photo by Michael Hill)

This BIG SIGHT post was first published on the Doctor Comictopus blog that has now been merged with this Doctor Comics blog.

Doctor Comictopus alias for Michael Hill Ph.D (a.k.a. Doctor Comics) designed by Michelle Park.

Doctor Comictopus alias for Michael Hill Ph.D. (a.k.a. Doctor Comics) designed by Michelle Park.