Tapping Black Boots
A distilled tale of the artistic journey of a Japanese animation artist and Swedish musician through Slovak folklore.
Production year: 2023
Country: Slovakia, Sweden and Japan
Language: No dialogue
Enchanted by the vibrant Slovak folk culture, Japanese animation artist Kaoru Furuko and Swedish musician Christian Wellbo embarked on an artistic journey into its folklore, folktale, and music, which turned out to be years of exploration. Their shared cultural expedition coalesced as the audiovisual journal, "Tapping Black Boots". Kaoru wove the visual tapestry by collaging her captured inspiration, sketches, animations, journals, and video documentation, which she crafted and accumulated through her journey. Intertwined with this visual narrative, echoes of old Slovak folk songs reimagined in Christian's techno beats.
This is like a musical picture book, a journey of two artists following the alluring invitation by the magic of the land.
In 2014, Japanese animation artist Kaoru Furuko arrived in Kosice, Slovakia, for an art residency. Here, the local folk culture and folklore deeply stirred her imagination, planting the seed for a short film in her mind.
This marked the beginning of her five-year exploration of Slovak culture and folklore—an exploration driven by love and fascination, which continues to this day. Soon, she was joined by Swedish musician Christian Wellbo, who also grew passionate about this endeavour. Guided warmly by local Slovak people and friends, Kaoru and Christian delved into the multifaceted beauty of Slovak culture. Their journey, enriched by these friendly and insightful introductions, allowed them to deeply immerse themselves in Slovakia's rich artistic and cultural tapestry.
Throughout the years, Kaoru's collection from this artistic journey has grown to encompass both the tangible and intangible. She accumulated tangible objects that resonated with her emotions, utilizing them as crucial actors in her art and animations. Simultaneously, she has been capturing moments, visions, and inspirations, translating them into various artistic forms: filming the precious moments in videos, distilling insights into sketches, expressing emotions through paintings, weaving narratives into stories, keeping track of her journey in journals, and crafting handmade animations in diverse formats. Some of these creative endeavors have evolved into standalone art pieces as well.
Meanwhile, echoes of old Slovak folk songs were reimagined and intertwined with Christian's techno rhythms, crafting a bridge between the past and the contemporary with his interpretation.
While Kaoru pursued her short film ideas and various art projects, a unique opportunity presented itself. In the spring of 2023, Kaoru and Christian were invited by the Anifilm Festival in the Czech Republic to speak on the topic of “How Slovak folk culture inspired Kaoru’s art”. This invitation kindled the idea of encapsulating their five-year artistic journey intoaudiovisual sketchbook video material, which they showcased during their talk event. The warm and enthusiastic response from the attendees and the ensuing engaging dialogues fueled their drive to hone this work into a standalone film “Tapping Black Boots”.
One thing led to another. The series of events and creative processes they pursued over these years naturally coalesced as this piece, which they had never even planned or thought of until it took its shape.
This film stands as our tribute and gratitude to the mesmerising allure of Slovak traditions and to the people who warmly opened their hearts, sharing the beauty and the precious moments with us. Our creative journey continues.
Jakub Pisek invented the world's first combined digital Ozembuch/Fujara, an innovative reinterpretation of the traditional Slovak instruments, first introduced in the 2021 “Drozdy in Onsen” project, where four artists from different specialities developed a collaborative multimedia performance which takes us to a trip to Japan and Slovakia, old and new, tradition and innovation, digital and analogue, and somewhere in between.
Slovak music samples
"Uastovička Včas Ráno Šteboce"
Trad. Gemer Region
Performed by FS Urpín
Composed by Ilja Zeljenka
Performed by Slovenský komorný orchester
"Oddam Še Neodam"
Trad. Eastern Slovakia
Performed by Anna Servická
Trad. Eastern Slovakia
Performed by Lúčnica
"Slovak Čardáš no. 25"
Performed by Slovak Orchestra
All copyrights are cleared by SOZA