the time is now. is one of two films by Holzfeind about the Japanese shamanic improvisation duo IRO. The couple Shizuko and Toshio Orimo have worked together since 1981. Their music, their activism in the peace and anti-nuclear movement, and their free-spirited way of life reflect an animist and pantheistic worldview that rejects commercialism in all its forms.

The film shows performances of the duo in various locations in the Inter-University Seminar House in Hachioji, Tokyo. The unique modernist complex—whose main building has the shape of a pyramid turned upside down—was designed in 1964 by the Japanese architect and thinker Takamasa Yosizaka (1917–80). Yosizaka’s ideas about the relationship between humans, nature and architecture, individuality and community, sustainability and peace, as well as his critique of Western civilization in many respects concur with the musicians’ worldview. Holzfeind stages Yosizaka’s extraordinary architecture as a set for IRO’s performances, which combine improvisation on Noh and stone flutes, fan drum and kagura bells with their unique punk kagura version of ancient Shinto rituals, indigenous ceremonies and Korean mask theater.

In steady takes and rhythmic cuts, Holzfeind’s film plays with the contrasts and interactions between the brutalist architecture, the surrounding nature, and the musicians’ performance and instruments. Like the recurring motif of the eye, Holzfeind's colour filters and tinted shots refer to the film Phantom by Japanese experimental filmmaker Toshio Matsumoto (1932–2017). The soundtrack interweaves the instrumental sounds with Shizuko’s chants and the sounds of nature and civilization. At times, it feels like the cicadas and crickets are in dialogue with IRO’s instruments. —Heidrun Holzfeind

Heidrun Holzfeind

Heidrun Holzfeind is an Austrian-born artist and filmmaker currently based in Umeå, Sweden. Holzfeind is interested in how architecture interacts with people’s everyday life. She questions immanent architectural and social utopias, exploring the interrelations between history and identity, individual histories and political narratives of the present.
Solo shows include Secession (Vienna); Kunstpavillon Innsbruck; Kunstraum Lakeside, (Klagenfurt); Galerie X and Beyond (Copenhagen); Badischer Kunstverein (Karlsruhe); Pavelhaus (Austria); Centre d’Art Contemporain Yverdon; BAWAG Contemporary (Vienna); OK Centrum (Linz); CCA, Ujazdowski Castle (Warsaw); De Vleeshal (Middleburg); SAPS (Mexico City); Galerie im Taxispalais (Innsbruck); Artists Space project room (New York); MUCA (Mexico City) W139 Gallery (Amsterdam); Flacc (Genk, Belgium); Austrian Cultural Forum (Rome); and Swiss Institute New York project space.
Group shows include the Shanghai Biennale; Kuandu Biennale (Taipei); Venice Biennale; Manifesta 7 (Rovereto); and many others. Her films have been screened at MoMA (New York), Austrian Cultural Forum (New York), Lisbon Architecture Festival, Diagonale (Graz), European Media Arts Festival, Videoex (Zürich), Transmediale (Berlin), among others.

Filmography

the time is now. (2019), What is Auroville (2018), Nine Palms (2018), The Auroville Archives (2017), Forms in relation to life (2014), Never neverland (East Jesus/Pachamama/Momoland) (2014), Tsunami Architecture (2012), Colonnade Park (2011), Za Zelazna Brama (2009), Friday market (2009), Exposed (2005), The Mystery of God Revealed (2004), The Romanians (2002), Corviale, il serpentone (2001), Demo Derby (2001)