McDonald’s Radio University is a project that transforms branches of McDonald’s restaurants across a city into lecture spaces, creating a citywide university. The professors are immigrants or refugees who have had to leave their home countries, and the students are people who walk into a McDonald’s and order a lecture along with a burger and a coke.
The McDonald’s Radio University offers a three-week series of live-lectures by “professors” from Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Eritrea, and Iran. The live-lectures take place at specific times and at seven different McDonald’s restaurants in the city. They are only available via radio. The course syllabus with all offered lectures is listed at this website. Please follow the instructions below to enroll in the program.
“The Complete Manual of Evacuation” was first devised for Festival/Tokyo 2010 and was then recreated on a large scale by Künstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt. It connected seven cities in the Frankfurt Rhine-Main region through theatrical layers. Audiences first went to the project website. They answered certain questions and then downloaded maps guiding them to 40 “evacuation” points. The sites were categorized into four “tours” and were created by Port B in collaboration with another 15 artists and artist groups. It was up to the audience to choose which evacuation points to visit and in which order. The audience became “evacuees”, transferring their bodies as performers in a theatre of places connected by detours. Selected by leading German-language theatre review website Nachtkritik as one of the best 10 theatre works performed in German-speaking countries in 2014.
A theatrical journey of encounters with Another Tokyo
Participants received a guidebook and portable transistor radio, and then were free to visit, in whichever order they wished, 13 locations that revealed the Asia that exists inside Tokyo. After arriving at a site, they tuned their radio to the designated frequency to hear a story about the location, written by four poets and novelists. The narratives were created based on research by the Port Tourism Research Center. For the most part they were read by people whose native language was not Japanese. The locations included religious facilities, monuments, the site of a former refugee center, and ethnic restaurants. The journey around Tokyo invited participants on a tour of alien cultures within the familiar city landscape.
“Tokyo Heterotopia” will become a smartphone app, continuing to expand ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “Heterotopia” series projects are also planned for other cities in Japan and elsewhere.
A tour performance exploring the distance between Fukushima and Tokyo
This was a staging of the “epilogue” text to Kein Licht, Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek’s text that deals with the Fukushima accident, performed as a “tour” of the Shinbashi area in central Tokyo. The Shimbashi area has played an important role in the history of Japanese nuclear power policy. The district is the location of the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Company, while the start point for the tour, the New Shimbashi Building, opened in the same year as the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
Participants were given 12 postcards and a small radio at the New Shimbashi Building. On the front of the postcards were press photographs taken in the Fukushima evacuation zone, while on the back of the postcard were maps and directions guiding participants to a series of locations in the Shinbashi district.
Following the navigation, the participants encountered a series of spaces, including empty offices and rooms, a plaza in front of the Tokyo Electric Power Company headquarters, a vacant lot, a derelict site, and a rooftop. At each of the locations was a three-dimensional reconstruction of the press photograph on the respective postcard. At the sites the participants were also instructed to tune the radio to certain frequencies, where they could hear excerpts from Jelinek’s text. The voices were female school students from a drama club at a high school in Iwaki, Fukushima. Listening to these incongruous voices in the Shinbashi area, the participants were transformed into tourists and photojournalists, comparing the reality of Fukushima on the postcard with the makeshift “Fukushima” recreated in Tokyo. By visiting the strangely mismatched 12 Fukushima-in-Tokyo locations, the geographical distance between Fukushima and Tokyo was disarranged and investigated.
Kein Licht – Epilog?” was re-created for the Wiener Festwochen in 2013, including a tour to the so-called “world’s safest nuclear power plant”, the decommissioned Zwentendorf Nuclear Power Plant which was prevented from starting by a referendum.