Aki Sasamoto is known for her outlandish performances. The New York-based, Japanese artist works with found objects (which have included toilets, fence, and coffee beans, to name a few) and stages presentations around them. Everything on her stage becomes a part of her work, and can alternately function as several different things, depending on what she chooses to utilize them for. She is also known for her direct interaction with her audience, often jumping out of hidden places or from perched locations where she has been waiting.
Sasamoto’s narrative forms of work and haphazardly distinctive everything-but-the-kitchen-sink sets guarantee a unique performance every time. The only thing that defines her pieces is her ongoing monologues, which take her all around the room, sometimes forcing the audience to make room for her unpredictable actions, or allow her to stay in one spot, becoming the sun of her own little world made up of the crowd.
A recent work Sasamoto staged an installation called Coffee/Tea. The installation acted as a 3-D personality test, as guests made their way through a maze-like structure designed to bare their souls and identify who they are as a person. Questions like “The world is ending. You are selected to board a spaceship with an animal. Which will you bring?” with four answer choices (peacock, horse, tiger, sheep) or simply a choice between two doors with two different-facing rolls of toilet paper all seemed to make sense in context with the personality types: Into Odd, Into Youth, Into Old, Into Big, Into Vague, Into Candy and Into Details.
Sasamoto’s current performance Food Rental entails a custom-built food cart. But sandwiches and pastries are not what Sasamoto is selling. Her services will consist of unique performances given to guests who visit her cart. A selection is made, and mini presentations are then executed. The exceptional piece could act as a commentary on the constant demand for artists to produce new work and the small amount of time they are given to do it in. Food Rental promises to be a fun engagement for a night out.