Life i 2.5 dimensions

Sonia Hedstrand

Three-dimensional life is the complicated physical reality where we work, miss the bus, get sick, are let down, feel unseen and become depressed. Two-dimensional life is the exciting, beautiful, dramatic, entertaining and flat world of pictures, TV series and computer games. Where everything is much easier, and where we choose to spend more and more of our time.

What happens when the boundaries between the two-dimensional and the threedimensional worlds are blurred? When everyone uses filters to look better and only post about their successes but no setbacks? When you can marry your beloved anime character in a VR game? When you can rent a partner who is always happy?

The video installation ‘Life in 2.5 dimensions’ is a reflection on how the increased degree of representation and performativity professionally and socially is related to the development of global experience capitalism, and how an escalating consumption of games and social media affect our relationships and emotions.

In animated and documentary videos, we get to know a type of Japanese workers called ”sakura”, which means "fake customer". These are people who work with renting out their emotions. They support themselves by acting as family members, partners, dates, or friends in physical reality. The work analyzes a societal situation in post-industrial economies where community and belonging can be purchased in the form of performative, aesthetic and emotional service work.

Life in 2.5 dimensions is a two-channel installation of a total of two hours. During the opening at Galleri 54, hired sakura workers will work undercover as art audience. No one can be sure who engages in exhibition by their own free will, and who is there to perform emotional and performative wage labour.

Sonia Hedstrand is an artist, writer, art teacher and sometimes curator, with an MFA from The Royal Institute of Fine Arts 2011, and an alumn of the Whitney Independent Study Program 2012. She also has six years of theoretical university studies in Humanities. Her work often analyzes underlying social structures and norms, and shapes research material in the form of installations, video essays, photography, text and performance.

The exhibition at Gallery 54 is open between September 5-27 2020.

THANKS TO: performance artist Hiroko Tsuchimoto (research, interpreter), Yuta Sakane (translation), Jon Utterström (translation), Megumi & Kengo Shimizu (for friendship, help and housing in Tokyo). And the interviewees: Masayuki Okahara (Professor of Emotional Sociology at Keio University), Ryuichi Ichinokawa, Head of Sakura / Rent Family Company Hagemashi-tai) (Masaki Kimura (Head of Rental Boyfriend Company Tokyo Talent), Anju Yajima (pseudonym ) (rental-girlfriend), Seiko Kitayama (hostess and performance artist), Megumi Kawata (hostess and former sakura), Hiromi Kawada (sakura / rental-mother), Linn Eriksson (cosplay legend), Yoshimune Kawada (former host and owner of the friend-bar Gray), Toko Tanaka (Ph.D. and researcher in popular culture at Otsuma University).