Installation view of the exhibition "My body is my laboratory. Or I call it Earth Coincidence Control Office."
21 Jan - 4 Mar 2017
Kodama Gallery TENNOZ
Courtesy of the artist and Kodama Gallery​​​​​​​

Kubo seeks to bring himself closer to the undeniable feeling that the world and its history are steered by something beyond human intelligence, by making his own body a laboratory which connects with humanity. First, he finds his ancestors’ tomb and peers inside it by recreating the interior with computer graphics. He proceeds to look for the intersection of his DNA chain sequence and the collective memory of humanity by donning a horseshoe crab mask which houses the memory of his ancestors, then snorts salt through his nose as if it were a hallucinogen and gulps a drink of water. By doing so, he brings the ocean into his body and mind, and he sinks further into the inner ocean led by the horseshoe crab, which is said to be a living fossil.
Kubo's work focuses on theories and phenomena regarded as 'occult' in various ideologies, ranging from social science, psychoanalysis and philosophy to physics and the supernatural. The artist's work is based on his own reflections on the aftermath of historical changes and upheavals caused by the discovery of new theories, and on the disputed and monstrous theories that were suppressed in the aftermath. For example, as the scientific revolutions of the 17th century (such as those of Copernicus and Newton) clearly show, revolutionary new theories can in reality rewrite conventional 'correctness' and completely change social conventions. It is probably significant to bear in mind the fragility of this situation, as it is impossible to know when and how common sense will collapse in contemporary society. When dealing with this point as art, there is a danger of moving too far into the political or adhering to a particular ideology, and the more sincerely you deal with it, the more you run the risk of going too far at the same time. If Kubo's work were merely a blind alarm bell, it would not be worthy of attention. However, Kubo's work is a case study of a major paradigm shift on a societal scale, which he condenses down to the level of the individual without changing its essence, and even though the subject matter is not material but conceptual in many cases, the mechanism by which these essentially invisible events are somehow amplified into a great energy that can revolutionise even social common sense is a very important factor in his work. The work is unrivalled in its uniqueness in terms of visualising and experiencing the mechanism by which these essentially invisible events are amplified into a great energy that can revolutionise even social norms. The way in which Kubo materialises intangible 'occultism' one after another, as if he himself were a mad scientist, with his bizarre logic and oddly shaped forms, gives the impression of overwhelming dynamics, both as dramaturgy and entertainment. On this basis, the understanding and perversion of disciplines and theories are combined into a whole that barely retains its figurative form. Above all, it gives those who watch and experience it the opportunity to reflect on its subject, the occult, not only with their minds but also with their bodies.
The term 'occult' as used by Kubo must also be seen in close relation to the concept of 'madness'. The word 'occult' itself is derived from the Latin word Occulta ('hidden'), and has come to refer to religious heresy, mysticism and pedantry in general because of the nuance of concealment it conveys. However, it is a reciprocal relationship that is only possible when there is a counter-concept of 'orthodoxy'. In Michel Foucault's theory, which Kubo often uses as a reference point, he states that 'madness' is something that society draws a line between. In other words, the basis and criteria for distinguishing between 'normal' and 'insanity', which can be considered normal or pathological, vary according to the social common sense and cultural context of the time. The same idea can naturally be applied to the 'occult', which is any idea or act based on 'madness'. In other words, some of the ideas that we in modern society do not take seriously as 'occult' might, in a different world, have created a very different present, had they been accepted in the past, or had a new theory been accepted that proved them right. Even a Nobel Prize-winning discovery, or a Booker Prize-winning rhetorical flourish, could be reduced to the status of a Golden Raspberry if the times and the authorities change.
 This time, Kubo continues the research project based on his own roots, which was carried out on the occasion of his solo exhibition "Research & Destroy" at ICC (NTT Intercommunity Centre), and in the process, he has found connections between himself and the sea (salt), horseshoe crabs, dolphins, John C. The exhibition is composed of several related installations, using these keywords as a mind map to develop a chain of thoughts.
The exhibition Research & Destroy interpreted the reincarnation of the warship and his great-grandfather by overlaying the historical fact that the warship on which his great-grandfather, a naval officer, had served, was rebuilt after the war as a self-defence vessel. Kubo's interest in the subject continued to grow, and in the course of his search for objects related to his great-grandfather, he found a stuffed horseshoe crab that his great-grandfather and father had picked up and made on their way home from visiting the graves, which led him back through the family register to the site of the old Kubo family graveyard. In doing so, he learnt that his great-grandfather's home had been a salt-producing area since ancient times, and came to the conclusion that his ancestors must have been involved in the salt fields. Kubo says that the stuffed horseshoe crab was an opportunity to connect her roots with salt, and that she was also driven to recall even deeper, more ancient memories than her roots by the horseshoe crab's term as a living fossil. From there, a cascade of memories and thoughts led him to the conclusion that his father had experienced a hallucination of a distinctive spotted pattern in London in the past, caused by drugs, and that he later saw a strange resemblance to the spots on the body of a certain species of dolphin, and that the spotted pattern was a common symbol inscribed in the genes of humans and dolphins since prehistoric times. I remember talking about how the spotted pattern might be a common symbol inscribed in the genes of humans and dolphins since time immemorial. Eventually, Kubo's chain of thought led him to the work of American neuroscientist Dr John C. Lilly (1915-2001) as the link between dolphins, drugs and the spiritual world. Dr Lilly is so well-known that he has been the subject of many films, such as The State of Denatured Consciousness and Transcendental Communication, which focused on the large volume ratio of the dolphin's brain. However, he also embodies the gradient between cutting-edge academic research and 'madness', introducing drugs such as LSD and ketamine into his research process, and eventually starting to advocate for an out-of-the-ordinary entity called the 'Earth Coincidence Control Office'.
Isolation tanks (sensory deprivation devices), which Dr Lilly used in his research on separating the human body and mind, have been developed to provide a highly meditative state by floating the body in a highly concentrated magnesium sulphate solution in a sealed capsule, thereby blocking all stimuli from the outside world. Kubo actually experienced this himself at a salon offering the service of entering an isolation tank. The body is supported and levitated by a solution of the same temperature as the body, and in the absence of sound and light, you get the feeling that you have forgotten your physical existence and that you are only a conscious being. Whether or not one sees this state of altered consciousness as a clue to expanding/connecting the brain to the outside world, as Dr Lily says, for Kubo this exhibition was a chance to explore the truth within himself, his DNA and history as a blood relative inherited from his great-grandfather, the experiences and thoughts passed down from parent to child, and the way these are connected to the world of the horseshoe crab and dolphin. The exhibition attempts to embody a sense of the multifaceted branching and connection of these things, with horseshoe crabs and dolphins as keywords. Dr Lily's attitude, in which he abandoned the common sense of others and pursued only the truth within himself and left behind the symbolic phrase "my body is my laboratory", seems to overlap with Kubo's own. Kubo's work is a reflection of the fact that, whether it is called delusion or the 'occult', if she finds a truth that only she knows in something hidden, she confronts it head-on and transforms it into a concrete phenomenon. After this exhibition, Kubo will move to France, her motherland, with a grant from the Pola Art Foundation. Kubo's geographical approach in her previous research projects suggests that her close engagement with the place and cultural environment of her other roots will lead her to a more intense 'occult' experience, and the artist herself is trying to find clues in this exhibition in anticipation of this. The artist himself is trying to find clues in anticipation of this in this exhibition. We would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to read this letter and look forward to seeing you at the exhibition.
Ken Kobayashi
From the press release of Kodama Gallery