Yuka Fujii: Like Planets [unreel]


(cine-photo – approx..35min. /osmosis uk 2019)

Photography and cine-photo by Yuka Fujii
Music composed and performed by Mark Wastell

"Like Planets [unreel]" is a short film of still images and text taken from the book of the same name. It also features a specially commissioned soundtrack by musician and label owner, Mark Wastell. The film will be premiered at Punkt festival 2019.

"I’ve frequently created film based around still images, slowly dissolving from one image to the next. I’ve always found this simple technique very moving and engaging especially when accompanied by the appropriate soundtrack. Punkt finally gave me the opportunity to explore this approach more fully as did Mark Wastell who has created a specially commission composition for the piece. The book stands alone as a work in itself for the individual to explore in their own time. The film works on another level. A shared experience which takes place within a given time frame hopefully drawing the audience into the world created by both sound and vision.”

Like Planets, the book, is a photographic essay by Yuka Fujii. Consisting of 5 chapters, spread over 170 pages, the book documents a seemingly quiet, intimate, existence in the company of her then partner, the artist, David Sylvian. Far from the world of popular music, the book reads like a visual poem of the time shared together. Sylvian is depicted in hotel rooms, small villages, graveyards, landscapes rural, exotic, and forbidding, before finally reaching a point of change, of grace, in the darkened rooms of Konya and Istanbul. Interspersed with poems and quotations, this is a tantalising and evocative glimpse of an intensely private life at a pivotal point in its evolution.


The book Like Planets documents a period in time, between the early to late 1980s, in which David changed, rather rapidly, from well documented glamorous pop star to retiring spiritual aspirant.  He no longer wished to be in the distorting existential glare of the spotlight and consequently set out on a personal journey of the interior, in search of what he believed to be the source of creative life; being the light derived from within. He’d often refer to it as the inexhaustible well of inspiration. You could quite reasonably argue that this was the first break he’d been afforded in adult life, an opportunity to reflect on where he’d come from and what truly mattered to him most, freely questioning his own moral and ethical dilemmas without the many external pressures to which he’d previously been subjected.
As I accompanied him on this journey, which was driven by both intellect and emotion, we also travelled long distances together. I always carry my camera with me so I was able to document in photographs, much to his reluctance and sometimes to his irritation, his mainly isolated longings, frustrations, and insights.
This volume primarily contains portraits of David in one form or another and these are coupled with seemingly simple images, sometimes symbolic, often impressionistic, that evoke a stillness of time and place. The frequent pauses made, the long drawn out emptiness of days that, in retrospect, reflect the seeming timelessness of the journey.
He and I were frequently like planets revolving around one another and, in some sense, this gravitational pull continues to this day.

Yuka Fujii