David Blandy is a highly regarded contemporary artist, based in Brighton, who uses video, performance and comics to address identity formation and its relationship to popular culture. His work deals with his problematic relationship with popular culture, highlighting the slippage and tension between fantasy and reality.
Anjin 1600: Edo Wonderpark
(2014 / 8m47s / DV)
‘Anjin 1600: Edo Wonderpark’ started as a re-imagining of the story of William Adams (1564-1620), known as the first Englishman to set foot in Japan in 1600. Adams was the first English Samurai, the only westerner to be granted that title (he became known in Japanese as “Anjin-sama”, literally translated as “Pilot”). Soon after Adams landed in Japan, he became a key advisor to the Shogun, helping him build Japan’s first Western-style ships. Adams’ story is of a man finding a foreign culture to be more civilised than his own, alienating himself from his countrymen, yet never able to be truly “Japanese”. Adams’ story points to that subtle conflict, the friction between cultures in the global economy, a story that is ancient, but became far more pronounced during the early days of European colonialism. This is a conflict that is constantly in play within ourselves, a state now exacerbated by a globalised culture, an intimately interconnected world.