Clément Paradis


圏 Ken

(OMEN part IV)

In Japanese, 圏 (“ken”) means something like zone, circle, area... Not a frivolous concept in Japan. I can’t help to notice that people there love to secure their own space, as tiny as it is, they love to delimitate spaces within other spaces. Sometimes it seems to turn into an obsession. But if you think about it, the people really obsessed by the delimitation of spaces within other spaces are probably photographers. Each year in Spring I go to the kid sumo competition in the Bunkyo district of Tokyo. It usually takes place right after the Hanami. The winner of this tournament gets to compete at the prestigious Tokyo sumo tournament. Sumo is also about a space within a space – the ring where the rikishi wrestle on the square dohyō. But this event is actually more like a mix between a family reunion and a religious ceremony. People chat and eat while scouts and young rikishi teach kids how to behave during the competition. They show them the proper techniques to take over the precious circular space, they tie their mawashi and they cheer them up when losing is too hard on them. For a photographer, this white ring can be kind of hypnotizing… After all, isn’t it what we do? Delimiting spaces within spaces, arguing about it, finding a meaning in all that? And also, trying to be “in” more than “out”… Hopefully I don’t have to struggle against these giants! Or even the kids. These little savages are not afraid to attack the biggest guys after the competition. The fight is lost in advance, but the pleasure of wrestling against a mountain is worth it. It’s too bad few adults remember that. We are too busy framing our own spaces to really live in them I guess.

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