Tokyo Dreamspace: I’m standing at night in a public square in Shinjuku on my first visit to Tokyo. Down the machine-straight streets off the corners of the square, as far as I can see, neon pulses in vertical collages shoot animated afterimages off into the ambiguous sky. Perspective condenses the neonlike sideways gravity. On the faces of buildings, diagonally right and left ten stories up, huge video screens paint the bare legs of hundred-foot women walking in slow motion, randomly jump-cutting to spinning logos and sleek speeding cars. Half a head taller in my heels than most of the Japanese who pack the square at midnight, I am seeing the place as one who looks into an aquarium at precisely the waterline: above, the photon storm of neon-video light; below, people moving like fish, slowly, not looking up. I bob up and down, breaking and re-breaking the surface tension of the human sea, savouring the instant metabolic transformations. But I am left wondering why these people have made this space? Most of them are not even looking at it.
- Brenda Laurel, USA
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