Japan: Mountain of Sadness

Birgit Kjærsgaard

Verdensrum V, Japan: Mountain of Sadness, a part of Kjaersgaard’s Japanese VERDENSRUM series, is inspired by Osore-zan (the Mountain of Dread) in the Aomori prefecture, a remote volcanic Buddhist pilgrimage destination famously known in Japan as the entrance to ‘the underworld’. It is also said, that, with a spiritual medium as an intermediary, one can make contact there with one’s ancestors.

The visuals as well as the dramaturgy of the installation are inspired by this spectacular landscape, which has spots such as ‘The Lake of Blood’, ‘The River of Souls’, and ‘The Lake of Heaven’.

In part, this is the story of butoh dancer Kinya Tsuruyama, who travels to Osore-zan and into the underworld to seek the child he lost and to ask his ancestors for advice on his life.

Here, the A TRANS project space showcases a parallel universe to the subway, a glimpse of a hidden (under-) world peopled by souls who, like the viewer, are in transit between stations or (in the souls’ case) between this world and the next.