Video still from Aquatopia, 2018
16-mm to HD-video transfer
Ayami Awazuhara, Aquatopia
Daoist Philosophy invites humanity to become like water: shapeless and yielding yet shattering mountains, meek and modest yet life granting, ever flowing yet without a purpose.
Life style company MUJI also invites us to participate in the effort to become “like water”. It does so in an attempt to ever expand their profits, to cover the global market like the great oceans cover the earth, turning Zen into cash.
In doing so, MUJI, perhaps inadvertently, had stumbled upon a common translation challenge shared by all those who interact with Japanese culture. Use of “I”, “you” or “us” is rare there, it is considered inelegant and immodest to do so even when it is grammatically permissible to do so.
The invitation for individual consumers to assert their uniqueness, their individuality by becoming like water, is thus hopelessly oxymoronic.
“I am like water, therefore I buy”