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Sumimasen.

By IPG Project.
Editions du LIC, Oslo, Norway, 2015. In English. 96 pp., 55 colour illustrations, 16 pages silk screened with UV varnish, 6¾x9¼".



Publisher's Description

Edition of 460 copies.

The debut volume from IPG Project, the New York based art duo Tamara and Yoshi Kametani, presented in a limited edition hardback book. 

The word "Sumimasen" ("I am sorry") is used in Japanese society to express both apology and gratitude. It anchors a formal code of behaviour which is mainly used in public interactions and uncommon within intimate relationships. This reflects a unification of social behaviour that can be seen as a mask, thus further alienating the private from the public. This plurality of attitudes in Japanese society is recognised by the terms “tatemae" (behaviour in public) and “honne” (true feelings); also known as putting on and off a “mask”.

Sumimasen by IPG Project questions the concept of privacy and identity through Mayura (a pornographic actress living in Tokyo). By obscuring Mayura’s face with a mask, the photographers seek to challenge the very notion of identity. It is the face that misleadingly represents the essence of individuality. The use of a mask emphasises the idea that people need not reveal their faces to have their privacy breached. More than the face itself, it is a person's actions that primarily define their identity. 

Mayura works mostly from home with multiple cameras monitoring her 24 hours a day. This footage is streamed to a website where people  subscribe to watch her going about her daily life. In a time when the boundaries between private and public have been breached, it might be the privacy of our thoughts that constitutes the true and ultimately, last remaining, meaning of “privacy”.


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