In the 1970s, estranged from the institutions and practices of high art, avant-garde artist and award-winning novelist Genpei Akasegawa launched an open-ended, participatory project to search the streets of Japan for strange objects which he and his collaborators labeled "hyperart," codifying them with an elaborate system of humorous nomenclature. Along with "modernologists" such as the Japanese urban anthropologist Kon Wajiro and his European contemporary, Walter Benjamin, Akasegawa is part of a lineage of modern wanderers of the cityscape. His work, which has captured the imagination of Japan, reads like a comic forerunner of the somber mixed-media writings of W.G. Sebald, and will appeal to all fans of modern literature, art, artistic/social movements and writing that combines visual images and text in the exploration of urban life. Matthew Fargo's first U.S. translation of Akasegawa's hilarious, brilliantly conceived exercise in collective observation is accompanied by essays from noted scholars Jordan Sand and Reiko Tomii.
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