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Work of the Week: mimio-Odyssey

Japanese artist Tomoko Konoike brings the picture book to life with mimio-Odyssey, a video-projected artist's book that tells the story of a faceless quasi-human's journey through a surrealistic forest. Along the way, she encounters six-legged wolves, bees with girls' legs, and flying daggers as she seeks to make sense of the world around her.

Several traditions are evoked through the imagery in mimio-Odyssey. Shinto animism often associates wolves with kami, the spirits of the unseen world. The words “wolf” and “kami” are even pronounced the same. Imagery taken from Buddhism can been seen in the “third eye” of enlightenment and the prevalence of daggers, often symbolizing the exorcising of evil spirits. And Noh theatre plays its role in the Konoike’s animated masks of young and old, good and evil. Konoike’s use of mythology gives the story of mimio-Odyssey a timeless quality, despite its strange and imaginative creatures. It felt almost like having a storybook read aloud to me as I watched the images flicker silently across the pages. See mimio-Odyssey on view in Gallery 108, next to the Ando Gallery.

Tomoko Konoike. mimio-Odyssey, 2005. Gift of Roger L. Weston.