Mayu Maruyama

semester two ANIMAL

week 1

reflection of exhibited project

Last Semester, I was exploring the connection between ecological nature and the human body/mind through the project. It started with the question; how the food I eat everyday affect my mental state. I recorded 30 days of everyday meals with a food diary, and record my mood by drawing.

The media was pre-recorded video from animation video and installation. I ‘chose’ the media for the online show. I did not think about these representation forms when I started the experimentation. I was just eating as normal, recorded and drew. I realised that interdisciplinary practice is different from intermedia art. The media, the video was chosen not because it was best to represent my ‘idea’ or ‘thought’ but it was best to show my ‘practice’.

Looking at the content of the project, I explored food and eating. In my first year, I did experimentation with food with the research about Laila Gohar. Eating and food is something cultural but very natural.

▶︎ references: food and eating

Dali’s cookbook
in ictu oculi (2009) – GRETA ALFARO

A scene from: Spirited Away (2001) – Hayao Miyazaki

a Music video: Kisetsuhatsugitsugishindeiku (2016) – amazarashi
eat art performance: Eat design (2012) – Honey and bunny

Animals eat. How human eat differently from other animals. What gastronomic habitat means to us. Human beings do not eat just for maintaining their lives but for pleasure.

About Me

2nd Year Fine Arts Student

Subscribe to My Blog

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

mimicking an animal

When I was studying in Hong Kong, I used to perform chinese lion dance. A pair of dancers mimic a lion’s movements in the costume. The lion is based on a mythical monster. It performed to bring good luck and fortune. The dance involves elements of martial arts and gymnastic formation. This dance inspired me to focus on movement of feet.

I never focused on or think about feet as much I do for hands. While hands often represent cultural activities of human, feet represent athletic activities; walking, running, dancing, and gymnastics. Hands symbolise creation, soul, sensitivity, and consciousness. Feet show the strength and ability of the life.

gods, beasts, and women


reflections on last semester: I realised that just trying ideas will lead me somewhere, so I have a wide repertoire of possibilities.

reflections on my last project: The animation was too much work for me especially post production part. On the other hand, I enjoyed installation, how it gives a whole different experience in the project room. I experienced using settings/recording equipment.

expectations on myself this semester: I love trying out many ideas, but i’d like to be in more coherent and connected. repetition -> pattern -> project and practice.

investigation this semester so far: It was surprising that the film looks intimate. ‘It is humorous but uncanny, and very intimate and so sensitive.’ It is relate to animal: the beasts don’t have hands that only have feet. They have powerful physical ability.

Activities that requires strong feet: exercising, running, or dancing, they are a little bit more ‘animalistic’. It brought me to think about the relationship between the soul and the body.

A dancer can go beyond the soul. When a dancer dances they don’t think, they just follow what their body remembers. Sometimes the soul can’t follow the movement of the body. The body is free from the soul.

I think human beings are attracted to animalistic movements. However, Miranda suggested that sometimes it’s really uncomfortable for people to see humans behaving as animals because they know it’s far from our usual behaviour. Humans consider animals to be beneath humans, not equal or above.

next step?: living through the consciousness of my feet to understand things more deeply from the perspective of my feet. Take consciousness to my feet. As an example of disconnected perspective: An octopus has 8 brains one in each limb. They have a perception and consciousness of, in and from their different limbs.

week 2


drawing with feet

Putting a paper on the floor and using paint and a thick charcoal stick, I drew with my feet. Through this experimentation, I was exploring the figure prints of my feet, the consciousness of them, the limit of their movement. 

When I was trying to make different kinds of marks with my feet, I felt like I’m dancing. It reminds me of figure skating. The skating blade draw lines on the surface of the ice rink in each steps, turns, spins, moves…  

Dance ≒ action/movement of the body -(power/gravity)-> feet -> surface => drawing

  • mark
  • figure
  • dance
  • concentration
  • consciousness
  • extension
feet drawing (charcoal)

Our consciousness goes beyond our body. It is extensive.

I can ‘feel’ the surface where the paper and the charcoal stick are touching. What is our ‘consciousness’? Is it related to our soul or spirit? How long it can be extended (How far it can go beyond our body)? 

colour version

visual distinction between human and animal











artist research

Anthropometries (1960), Yves Klein

“status moments of the flesh”,“Architectural decoration or integration process and products resulting from the said process”

“That was very interesting for me, that the body and the soul is one in a print.” […] “the most concentrated expression of vital energy imaginable,” (Rotraut) © Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2019

‘Anthropometry, the real—and not symbolic—presence of the model in the flesh. This is her body. Can we doubt it? One need only approach one of her prints and, “nature and spirit,” it awakens. Its origin takes shape once again, for the life lying there is permanent. We are touched by this flesh. (…)’ (Excerpt from the book “Incandescence” by Frédéric Prot, 5 continents editions, Milan, Italy, 2012)

relate to my project: human body, paint, painting after the performance, female, marks, imprints, results, energy, soul, spirit, catch, shape

week 3

workshop 1


I went to the beach just 5 minutes away from where I live in Aber. I was sitting on the sand watching the sea, people walking, and dogs running and playing. I observed and sketched the movement of them.

I tried playing with the sand first. I made marks, dug a hole, felt each piece of sand and small stones. My feet started to hurt at this point by wet sand and stones. I was a bit jealous of dogs for their strength. They were truly enjoying playing on the beach. I was suffering from cold air and pain on my feet. Even if it’s during the summer, I will be suffered from the hotness of the sand…

I put my foot into the wave. I felt the movement of the sea. The energy of them. I was scared of them or getting wet.

In the end, I decided to go back to my place with my barefoot. Even just walking was tough action at this point. Each step is a pain. My foot was catching every sharp edge of every sand. Walking on the asphalt road was easier than on the beach. I loved walking on the wet soft grass. It covered the gaps in my fingers.

week 4

workshop 2

imagined animal

Prionailurus bengalensis yaeyamensis

My imagined animal is based on real endangered subspieces by Prionailurus bengalensis iriomotensis (Iriomote Cat). I imagined how Iriomote cat can evolute to survive with the climate change (water shortage) and threats of invasive species.



In the beginning of the workshop we listened the soundtrack ‘Glastonbury Ocean Soundscape’ by Chris Watson. I was listening it putting my hand in the water. The felt the vibration of the water traveled by the sound.

animal and classic music

my playlist “animal”:

These are beautiful playlists on IDAGIO:

“Wild Things”

“Bird Songs”


I had been kicking yarn while walking and moving around in the house. The action remains me of cats playing with yarn. Kicking them as walking. it became like yarn is guiding my way; the action of my feet came before the move of my whole body.

The wool strings show the memory of my move. When my housemate saw the condition of the house, she said, “It’s strange that I can feel you, your presence without seeing you there.” It is a kind of marking to identify its own territory as some animals do.

artist research

Thinker (2016), Maya Dunietz, Centre Pompidou

‘On the first floor, the viewer immerses in a cloud made of thousands of headphones. A look from above unveils the cloud origin, on an upper-level balcony. The thicket floods the space with humming white particles. The sounds coming out of the headphones, as well as the sounds emerging from the balcony of the gallery are an invitation to investigate the space, exposing a unique acoustic phenomena that comes to life as the audience moves around the room. while this Thicket is singing its song other sounds are heard in the space, sounds that we can hear but not yet see, low mumbles and groans and birds echoing from the second floor.’

‘Nature is a temple in which living columns sometimes emit confused words. Man approaches it through forests of symbols, which observe him with familiar glances,’ (Baudelaire, ‘Correspondences’, 1857)

relate to my project: tingled, string, white, installation, space,

relate to group proposed project: sound, multiple, installing, digital devices, multiple, listing, ingestion, medium, harmony, space, 


What next:

  • Practice on the outside (maybe start on the beach or the park?)
  • Long string drawing on the beach
  • Night time string feet drawing
  • (Night time charcoal feet street drawing)
  • Lay down on the street and feet drawing/moving only feet
  • 20 x 30 second film on just feet (something like week1)
  • Moving the camera around feet took by an assistant
  • looking closer to the skin


John Copland

Self-Portrait (Hands Spread on Knees) 1985
Self-Portrait (Back with Arms Above)  1984

Douglas Gordon

Play Dead (2003)

Francis Alys

Reel – Unreel (2011)

The Green Line (2004)

The Leak (2002)

Sometimes Making nothing leads to Something (1997)

Fairly Tales (1992)

Miranda Whall

0.0018926244284047371% (2016)

proposal for group project

week 5

workshop 3

  • Map
  • Line
  • Drawing
  • Identity
  • Emotion
  • Walking
  • Performance
  • Cell division
  • Changing
  • Assembling
  • Cell biology
  • Cellular structure
  • Nucleus
  • Specimen/Sample

semester one NATURE


My Body, Small Nature

When people talk about ‘nature’, we usually address them as ecological elements and phenomena like weather, air, land, sea, and sky. I got overwhelmed by thinking about working with tho they’re too broad, too large, too powerful… What if I look smaller nature like the human body and mind?

I decided to start working on my hair. It’s part of my body and one of the parts where I feel easy to deal with. I touch my hair every day; brushing, styling, and washing them. Sometimes, I go to the salon to cut or dye my hair. Nevertheless, my hair continues growing and falling off from my scalp. This is the ‘nature’ I want to start looking at.

The hair on my pillow, hairbrush, or on the bathroom floor is usually annoying and it took so much effort to clean them up. Instead of cleaning them I collect them and use as materials for my experiment. My hair naturally curly but for a long time, I straightened it. So I did the same care for hair (which my body decided it not necessary any more) which I collected. I washed, dried, straighten with hair iron, put hair oil, used hair wax and braid.


In the next step, I wanted to be more closer to nature but not from my body. When I was drinking espresso in the cafe, I found flower bouquet on the table. As a painter, I started to sketch them. As I drawing I discovered the complex structure and thumbnailed nature in it. Leaves and flowers fall when the season changes as does human hair.

When I decided to work with flowers and leaves I went to the supermarket to get some bouquet. I choose white roses because of its colour and its cultural context. Both hair and flower have quite a lot of cultural, historical references especially in the field of fashion and beauty.

Using a string made by my falling hair, I combine a rose and the string. comparing them, I found that flowers die faster but hair last longer, so I decided to observe how the work I made will change as time goes by.

References for roses

In modern society, the roses are often used as a symbol of romantic relationships. Here, I looked at the symbolism of roses in culture and literature contexts.

Beauty and the Beast, fairytale

Beauty had desired a rose. In some versions, there is an enchanted rose.

 ‘Roses Are Red’, classic English rhyming poem

Roses are red,

Violet are blue,

Sugar is sweet,

And so are you.

classic English rhyming poem

Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose

Gertrude Stein, Sacred Emily

it’s often used to imply that things are what they are.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

it’s used to imply that the names do not affect what they truly are.

Portrait of Marie-Antoinette

Portrait de Marie-Antoinette 1783
Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun
Oil Painting

Painting of iconic fashion leader in history with a rose.

Female Nude with Roses

J.A. 1969
Peter Blake
screenprint on paper

References of (woman) Hair

Hair (Long Hair) often symbolises the youth, health, and beauty. Hairdressers or barbers have a long history as an occupation. Nowadays, there are so many hair-care products on the beauty market. Also, it related beauty struggles that especially women have.

Talking about my own experience, I had used to get a straight perm to my hair since when I was ten. Growing up in Japan, people whom most of them have straight hair didn’t stop commenting about my curly hair because it wasn’t ‘normal’ for them.



Let down your hair

That I may climb thy golden stair!’

Rapunzel, fairytale

Coat spring/summer 2009, Maison Margiela

Coat spring/summer 2009
Maison Margiela
polyester, acrylic, silk
The Metropolitan Museum

The Artisanal concept is central to the philosophy of the house: one-of-a kind, handmade objects made from repurposed or cheap textiles and found objects, show that luxury resides not so much in the preciosity or opulence of the materials, but that the artisanship, time and effort which went into the garment are what makes it haute couture. 


Berlin Exercises: Dreaming under Water 1974-5, Rebecca Horn

Berlin Exercises: Dreaming under Water 1974-5
Rebecca Horn
Film, 16mm, shown as video, colour and sound

‘Cutting one’s hair with two pairs of scissors simultaneously’ begins with a man describing the ‘combat dances’ and mating rituals of certain snakes (in German, with English subtitles). The artist appears during the narration in a close up, holding a pair of scissors in each hand and crudely cutting her hair shorter and shorter. In the final sequence, one of the windows appears to open by itself. The film ends with a brief textual epilogue superimposed on the image of the empty room with one open widow. It translates as: ‘When a woman and her lover lie on one side looking at each other, / and she twines her legs around the man’s legs / with the window wide open, it is the oasis’.


Two pairs of scissors she uses might represent snakes that the man described. At the same time, they can be a metaphor for men. The way she cuts her hair is so violent that she keeps continuing cutting even it’s quite close to her eyes, and she slipped them on her face. However, her facial expression shows sadness, anger, and horror, so it looks like she was forced to do the act. If pairs of scissors represent men, the hair represents women. The fact she is cutting her hair by herself displays that in a patriarchal society, men control women or made the one who doesn’t obey them as “crazy woman”.



manufactured enhances nature

creation comes from destruction

terror is beauty


bring into nature/bring nature into


Started with a flower, I moved to look at other plants, fruits. Some flowers become fruits. Using my own body, I explore the symbolism of fruits and how does it relate with the human figure.

Artist Research: Collecting fruits

Natural Selection 1981, Anthony Gormley

Natural Selection 1981
Antony Gormley
Metal, wood, glass, plastic and food

‘Natural Selection’ consists of twenty-four objects. Half are man-made and half are natural in origin. They are arranged in a canon of ascending size in which manufactured objects alternate with natural ones.


Soul City (Pyramid of Oranges) 1967, Roelof Louw

Soul City (Pyramid of Oranges) 1967
Roelof Louw
Oranges, wood, plastic

Viewers are invited to take one orange each, gradually consuming the work. Even if no one takes them, the work will still eventually rot and disintegrate.


Week 3

Workshop 1

Ocean breathes

The area of the World Ocean covers about 70% of Earth’s surface.

Roughly 45-75% of the human body is water.

The flow of the ocean waves is approximately 18 times per minutes.

A person breathes at least 12 to 20 times per minutes.

Exhale as the waves come.

Inhale when the waves are gone.

Feel water in and out of the body.

Feel the waves; waves of the ocean, air, and solar.

Week 4

Connecting Memories

The Process

  • Write, draw, and paste on papers
  • Roll them and roll over again and again until it gets the size of tree stump. (eg. the circumference of an oak tree: around 10 inches)



Human invented paper and printing system for the purpose of documentation. We write notes, diary, stories, poetries, letters…. Those ‘papers’ sometimes bring our ‘lost memories’ back when we read them.

The shape reminds me the handscroll, the form of documentation before people designed books.

The final outcome

  • Could be exhibited.

Even when you think you forget the things, there is a time you suddenly remember them when you do, see, touch, smell, and hear something. It’s like, you lost a part of your memories but something, someone, or your own body remember it, and you found it or not find it. We can’t read what we write on papers we used, but surely it exists there.

  • When it fall apart, we can look for own papers

It refers to my experience in workshop 1. The gesture of looking for acorns reminds me of my childhood. ‘Nature’ was keeping our memories and we found them.

Artist Research

Installation view of the exhibition at Wollaman Hall, New School, 2017

Nobutaka Aozaki, Postings, 2015-, 2017

‘Collection of street advertisement tabs and photographs

‘A skyline of the city made from the collection of found street advertisements’

He has been collecting the tear-off tabs of street advertisement, making note of the date and location encountered, and photographing them.

It reflect the local economy and community/ society.

analog communication

How it connect to the project: paper/ collective in one way/ landscape/ information

A Rose and Hair String…

Artist Research

Pierre Huyghe’s, (Untitled) Human Mask, 2014

‘This film was inspired by a real situation. It opens with a pan of a deserted streetscape near Fukushima, Japan, which was devastated by natural and man-made disasters in 2011. Amid the ruin, the camera enters an abandoned restaurant and finds what appears to be the only survivor: a monkey adorned with a mask and costume of a young girl. This attire is similar to that in which her owners dress her to work in their sake house. […] evokes many such themes: the monotony of work and the repetition of ritualistic behaviors, the possibility of a catastrophic future, and the power that living creatures hold over us as ciphers of ourselves.’ (The MET)

– There was actual restaurant where monkeys working in clothes, kayabuki, Tochigi.


reference of masks: ancient Greek Theatre represent role and expression/ Japanese Noh mask represent roles/ Moretta Mask in 17c Venezia/ Surgical Face Mask

role/ system/ man/ wig/

Week 5

Workshop 3

Things Which Are Controllable and Uncontrollable

To explore the nature of hair, I was planning to bleach hair collected my hairbrush, but I got interested in bleaching the part of my hair since I haven’t tried it before.

It took me almost 60min to get the pigment out from my hair, yet the colour is not even yellow because pigment (melanin) in my natural hair colour is quite dark (strong).

When I was putting bleaching cream on my scalp, it started hurting a bit. After I washed it off and dried my hair, it gets more dry and frizzy than before.

It was not an easy process to change my hair colour. Is it because bleaching is not natural? There are some more ‘natural’ ways to bleaching hair, such as spend a long time in the sea water or ageing…

I also found changing my body parts quite fun. It is a great feeling when you get control over something strong or difficult. I can move; control my own body easily and unconsciously, but the shape of my body. A few years ago, I was obsessed with getting ear piercing. I wanted to ‘customise’ my body quickly and easily as I’m using my fingers to type this.

Week 6

Food, Body, Mind, Pebble, Charcoal

When I eat proper meals, I feel like I have a better mood. When I only eat snacks on a day, I feel like I’m in a bad mood. I want to explore the relationship between the food I eat and my body and mind in my way.

I started to record what I eat on each day like people on diets have a food diary to check nutrition and calories.

To make a contrast between my unstable mood, I needed something stable, hard, and still. I found a pebble from the beach and decided to draw them after I ate last food on the day.

I choose charcoal as a tool for drawing. It was my favourite tool in my drawing class because I feel more connected to the paper and the object to depict.  

01 Nov Sunday

aubergine sauté, miso soup with okura

a twix