itsushi Kawase
in Japanese

【Itsushi Kawase】 Video Artist

Itsushi Kawase has many faces.
sometimes he is video artist, sometimes Ethiopian researcher in academic field, and sometimes rockn' roller with the destruction impulse.
(Official information about him says: Itsushi Kawase, the Research Fellow of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, is currently undertaking the film project for the inventory-making of intangible cultural heritage in Ethiopia under UESCO/Norway funds in trust corporation.)

In this events, he will presents two works from his ethiopan study, " Lalibalocc - Living in the Endless Blessing-","Room 11, Ethiopia Hotel".

You may never take your eyes off his pictures.

"Lalibalocc - Living in the Endless Blessing-"



Lalibalocc are the group of wandering minstrels in Ethiopia who are believed to share the oral tradition, which condemns them and their descendants to leprosy unless they sing, beg and bless for alms in the morning.

The film focuses on the performers’ creativity, by specifically centering on the use of rhetorical expressions in interactions with the audience. The film presents the daily activities of an elder Lalibalocc couple who come annually to Gondar, the ancient capital of Ethiopia.

Before Lalibalocc start singing, they ask neighbors the name, religion and occupation of the owner of the house. Thus, the song lyrics are contrived in a flexible way to uplift the feeling of the listeners according to the personal information they obtain from this sort of “research”. Once Lalibalocc receive alms in the form of money, clothes and food, they sing particular forms of blessing verse-wishing prosperity to the listener before moving to the next residence.

People in Gondar have variable reaction to Lalibalocc: some welcome them sincerely while others refuse them with deep-seated antipathy. Thus, the interaction between audience and Lalibalocc mirrors the mixed emotions of people towards the group and “begging” which may be considered a disgraceful behavior.

Room 11, Ethiopia Hotel



From the window of Room 11 in the Ethiopia Hotel, which used to be an Italian army barracks during the Fascist occupation, you can see many children on the street making ends meet by means of various jobs.
Almost half of the children (n=180, under the age of 15) live on the street and struggle to survive each day. The film starts with the arrival of two street children, Yohannes and Sifalow, atroom 11. They express their happiness and suffering with respect to living on the street, as well as
their dream to leave, using improvised hip-hop and rhythm & blues. After some discussions with me, they decided to start a business on the street in order to improve their lot.

The film recounts the life of street children in Gondar, Ethiopia, by witnessing the communication and collaboration between two children and myself in a limited spatial setting.
This limited space allows the film to focus on our communication and captures some of the ideas that enable them to endure and survive on the street. Indeed, this film is more a sensitive testimony than a scientific documentary. This hybrid approach aims to explore new trends in visual anthropology, including the issue of dealing with intimacy and subjectivity.

The entire film was shot in room 11 in the Ethiopia Hotel.
# by uhei-gmen | 2007-07-23 13:47 | Itsushi Kawase