In 2000 Shimabuku gave an octopus from Akashi a tour of Tokyo. Far removed from its natural habitat, the octopus experienced a series of encounters that were, quite unquestionably, historical firsts. In his search for new value in the everyday, Shimabuku’s works begin with simple, often surreal, ideas that are meticulously realised and documented. The narratives that occur throughout their production are as central to the final work as the original idea.
Visiting Liverpool the artist discovered Scouse, the dish made of lamb, onions, potatoes and carrots that gives locals their name. Curious as to how its component parts, each from different counties within Great Britain, first came together, he sampled various recipes in eateries throughout the city. Pondering other British dishes he came to the nation’s other great contribution to global cuisine – fish and chips. His film for the Biennial documents the fictional first encounter between the dish’s constituents and sees the artist diving with fish while potatoes mysteriously fall from above. With the octopus, Shimabuku introduced the sea to the land, now it is time for the land to meet the sea. This seemingly absurd encounter ultimately encourages a questioning of the mundane elements of daily life.