IDOL WORSHIP, “Untitled”, Digital Video, Framed Digital Performance,
with IDOL WORSHIP, Ayakamay appropriates the figure of the Idol, a phenomenon in contemporary Japanese pop culture. Idols are young media stars, promoted for their “Kawaii” appeal as charismatic entertainers who also act as role models for Japanese youth by maintaining a flawless public image. Idols are widely worshiped and celebrated for their perceived “purity” as asexual beings disconnected from normative sexual function.
As recurring motifs in her work, Ayakamay explore the relationship between deities and humans, spiritual beliefs and everyday reality, Idol Project examines the constructed figure of the Idol and questions its influence in Japanese society by embodying Idol figures from the 1980’s, a “golden age of idols”, whom the artist discovered as a child.
Ayakamay transforms herself into an Idol and parodies their signature performance rituals by reducing them to a single facial expression; the plastic, camera-ready smile. As the artist maintains the smile for as long as possible, the physical endurance foregrounds the dehumanizing professionalism which perpetuates the Idol’s manufactured image of happiness. An active and compassionate relationship between viewer and performer is thus achieved, in opposition to the Idol’s usual role as consumptive popular entertainment.