(O)Kamemochi Co-Learning Session vol. 1

Fragment and Whole: Orie Endo Talk Event + Workshop

Date: 11th May 2024 (Sat) 14:00 – 17:30
Location: Tokyo University of the Arts Ueno Campus, TAKI Plaza 3F Community Salon
Address: 12-8, Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Guest: Dr. Orie Endo
Interpretation: Kana Miyazawa
Language: English & Japanese

(O)Kamemochi is proud to present their first Co-Learning Session, a project focused on creating spaces for tender exploration of collaborative learning.

Language doesn’t function solely as a practical way of sharing information. Practising a language allows a new set of logic, philosophy, and aesthetics. Hito Steyerl argues: “Language is defined not by common origin, belonging or nation, but by common practice.” The embodiment of an alternative language like “Nüshu” became the weapon for the marginalised community to resist, and restore sisterhood spirit, compassion, and communal care. How do we rethink the current communication system, inspired by this self-organised system? How can we adapt this wisdom to our everyday life inspired by these women? We hope through this event, titled “Fragment and Whole[1]”, we wander into the possibility of communication for care.

Nüshu, translated to ‘woman’s script in Chinese, was created by and only handed down among women generation to generation in Hunan Province of China. The creation of Nüshu remains a myth, however, studies have shown that out of suppression and grievance, some women established this linguistic system to exchange messages, expressing their stories old and new filled with tears to seek support from their sisterhoods. Written by sharpened bamboo sticks and the left-over ashes found in the kitchen, and written on their thighs, women allow themselves not muted anymore within an isolated feudal-society where women had not been afforded the privileges of reading and writing.

In the first Co-Learning Session, we are highly delighted to have Dr. Orie Endo, a sociolinguist who is known as the forefront of Nüshu research in Japan, to give us an illuminating lecture about this secret language. During the talk, Dr. Endo will expound on her comprehension of the significance and value of Nüshu, which has been polished over the years. Additionally, she will share touching anecdotes and the fateful encounter between herself and native Nüshu speakers.

Following Dr. Endo’s talk, a workshop will be held, in which participants will share and exchange thoughts and perspectives through artistic practice to support each other in digesting the knowledge learnt.

Talk event 14:00 – 16:00 (reception open 13:45) 
Workshop 16:30 – 17:30 (reception from 16:15)

There is limited space for the talk + workshop so priority will be given to those who have reserved a spot beforehand.

Please reserve through the Google form below:

About Dr. Orie Endo
While involved in Japanese language education, she continues to research Japanese language and gender. After participating in a project to re-educate Japanese language teachers in Beijing, she became fascinated by the Chinese characters known as Nüshu, and spent 30 years studying in Jiangyong County, Hunan Province. Nüshu was created by rural women in China’s old society, who were unable to receive school education and were thus not taught Chinese characters, in order to express their feelings. She would like to introduce these beautiful letters and the power of the women who created them.

About (O)Kamemochi
Founded in 2023, Tokyo, Japan, (O)Kamemochi is an intercultural and interdisciplinary arts collective. Their value is exploring how to decolonize the conventional arts contexts and reconstruct the socio-political context by unveiling marginalized values and narratives.

About (O)Kamemochi Co-Learning Sessions
Often time in the art world, the end results overpowered the desire for knowledge exchange and curiosity towards the creation of a field of practice. Through the collaborative learning process, (O)Kamemochi tries to find ways to avoid compartmentalisation. Embracing each other means embracing the different interests of each member to develop a deeper understanding of our commons. The co-learning program was born out of our casual discussion and self-organised into multiple co-learning sessions on various topics surrounding our overarching curiosity towards practising care through communication. We hope our dedication to inclusive co-learning sessions can multiply and enrich artistic, fragile, and experimental practice through dialoguing with others around new imagination generated, and set directions towards the worlds we want to inhabit.

Planning: Jini, Nina Zhao
Arts Management: Alissa Osada-Phornsiri
Design: Ana Jovanovska
Supporting Turtles:Sun Kim, Vivi Zhu, Lyudmila Georgieva, Lea Embeli, Ana Jovanovska
Organised by: (O)Kamemochi
Co-organised by: Tomoko Shimizu Lab. Graduate School of Global Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts

[1] Inspired by Yuen-yi Lo’s article from Australian Feminist Studies “She is a Fragment and a Whole” (2013)