Tatsu Aoki



Tsusaka Taiko director Tatsu Aoki has been creating experimental films for more than 30 years. He screens a selection of rare 16 mm prints from his archive and introduces a digital print from his ongoing collaboration with choreographer Lenora Lee.


3725 (1980), 11 min
Set in the late 1970s in North Chicago, 3725 traces the obsessions of a Japanese foreign student with the traditional Japanese toy kendama, jazz, and drugs, for an abstract portrait of Japanese culture’s transformation and the disastrous explosion of an individual’s inner life in the US.

Harmony (1991), 9 min
Aoki employed the multiple exposure technique to film a busy intersection in downtown Chicago, where pedestrians pass each other, keeping to themselves, while inside they carry their own trails of history and discrete feelings.

Washed 1984 (2012), 8 min
This ongoing series draws from old, unexposed film accumulated and stored by Aoki over the past twenty-five years. Periodically, he randomly selects a batch of film rolls to expose and hand process, recording his present life onto the outdated celluloid. This process mirrors Aoki’s journaling, writing daily, present-life observations into non-chronological notebooks.

Puzzle 2000 (2000), 20 min
A day trip to Lincoln Park Zoo turns into a colorful journey of light and shadow, evoking traveling spirits and obscure moving images.

The Detached (2014), 12 min
Aoki’s collaboration with choreographer Lenora Lee was filmed at Angel Island, popular for its expansive views of the San Francisco skyline and the former site of a US Bureau of Immigration inspection and detention facility, where officials detained, inspected, and examined approximately one million immigrants under the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The Detached features Lenora Lee Dance performing in the East Garrison hospital, a US military processing station that was turned into a processing station for prisoners of war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and a major point of embarkation for US troops headed toward the Pacific war zone.