Interview with Norkio Okaku

We asked Noriko about animation and her film, Allegory of Mrs. Triangle.


How did Allegory of Mrs. Triangle come about – and what themes is it exploring?

The film deals with the complexity of one persona and the many different aspects of personality. I tried to represent six different aspects of Mrs. Triangle’s character within one film. I originally wanted to make this idea into a multi-channel installation piece but as I didn’t have any immediate plans for an exhibition, I decided to make it into a film first and seek opportunities to show it as an installation in the future.

You use a range of styles and motifs, and the film feels very carefully composed and structured. How did you set about ‘writing’ it? Did you storyboard?

I had a strong concept and a rough overall vision of the films progression when I started working on it, so I didn’t do a precise storyboard. I just followed my instinct, and let the work evolve organically. But towards the end of the film, I had to plan much more carefully what was going to happen before shooting scenes, because I had to make each Mrs. Triangle come across at some point.

The soundtrack really lends itself to the piece. Did you work closely with the composer?

Yes, first of all, I told the composer about my concept – to show six different aspects of one character – and that the sound should follow the same theme. He understood my idea really well and developed very fitting sonic interpretations of it. It was a great collaboration.

Have you always worked with animation?

I have always worked exclusively with animation, yes. But recently I developed and interest in expanding my work outside of the screen. Just last year, I started making jewellery-like objects out of my animation materials, which I have started exhibiting alongside my films. I have an exhibition coming up at Hakobaka Gallery in Kyoto this November, where, for the first time, I will be showing object works on their own, without any animation accompaniment.

Do you prefer to work digitally or to craft with your hands?

I love working with my hands because I find it easy to control. I use digital technology, but in a very low-tech, unsophisticated way. In my live performance work, I use a graphics tablet, because it gives me the most hand-made movement. But if I see someone who works with very advanced digital techniques, I find it frustrating and I get a little jealous. I wish I could do both and choose which technique I want to use every time I work on a new project, so that I don’t limit myself.

Who are your influences or heroes/heroines – films, art, people?

I like Dada and Surrealism - especially, collage works by Max Ernst.