For his film The Last Concert, artist Mikhail Karikis collaborated with seventy teenage musicians in Japan to celebrate the life and architecture of the former Omiya Civic Hall and to honour the natural forces that brought its end and possess it in the absence of human occupation. The former Omiya Civic Hall in the Japanese city of Saitama was completed in 1970 and was distinguished for its modernist architecture, use of concrete, wood, transparency and acoustic design. For half a century, the concert hall and theatre reverberated with music and echoed the sounds of cultural and civic life. The Hall was popular among citizens and marked their lives as it served as a stage for personal and social occasions, graduations, concerts and celebrations. However, the once lively Civic Hall fell into silence in March 2022 due to renewed earthquake building regulations that ruled it unfit for use. Its subsequent closure was an event that resonated in the lives of locals and was a reminder of the immensity of natural forces and the earth’s energy in Japan, the world’s most seismically active country, quivering to the vibrations of more than 1,500 earthquakes annually. In this film, stage curtains transform into torrents of water, wind instruments replicate the sounds of a storm, while voices sing the sounds of wind. Through the sounds of convivial chatter or performing fragments of classical and contemporary music mimicking sounds of meteorology and natural phenomena, we witness architecture, lights, microphones, music instruments and the voices of young people joining forces and bringing the Civic Hall to life for one last time.
HD video, colour, stereo sound, 12′ 15″
Commissioned by Saitama Triennale 2023