KALEIDOSCOPE's Spring/Summer 2023 issue launches with a set of six covers. Featuring King Krule, Takashi Miike, Popcaan, Jim Shaw, a report into the merchification of the art world, and a special insert by No Agency and Richard Kern.

Also featured in this issue: American novelist Emma Cline (photography by Caroline Tompkins and interview by Lola Kramer), a new series of drawings by Aurel Schmidt (words by Sophie Kemp), Japanese photographer Hiroh Kikai (words by Jeppe Ugelvig), Italian punk band CCCP (words by Achille Filipponi), and “Five NYC Painters” (paintings by Brook Hsu, Francesca Facciola, Michelle Uckotter, Olivia Van Kuiken, and Justine Neuberger, and words by Reilly Davidson).

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From June 22 to June 24 during Men’s Fashion Week in Paris, KALEIDOSCOPE and GOAT presented the new edition of our annual arts and culture festival, MANIFESTO. Against the unique setting of the French Communist Party building, a modern architectural landmark designed by legendary Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, the festival will bring together visionary creators from different areas of culture across three days of art, fashion and sound.


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In April 2023, a year after the launch of the magazine, Capsule introduced Capsule Plaza, a new initiative that infuses new energy into Milan Design Week by redefining the design showcase format. A hybrid between a fair and a collective exhibition, Capsule Plaza brings together designers and companies from various creative fields, bridging industry and culture with a bold curation that spans interiors and architecture, beauty and technology, ecology and craft.

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In January 2023, KALEIDOSCOPE presented a solo exhibition by Houston-based artist Mark Flood (b. 1957), curated by Alessio Ascari, at Spazio Maiocchi in Milan. In his paintings, Flood deploys the detritus of contemporary culture—slogans, celebrities, logos, and memes—to mock American society and the elitist art world. The exhibition also provided the scenography for the runway presentation of the 1017 ALYX 9SM Fall/Winter 2023 collection.






Often shooting four or five films a year, Takashi Miike has characters that are, like his work rate, at once heroic and frightening. Over a career spanning three decades, he has gained a cult following, both in his homeland of Japan and internationally, as a filmmaker of the extremes of brutality, sex, and gore—a cinematic icon who still retains the ethos of the permanent outsider.

In September 2020, Virgil Abloh staged Louis Vuitton’s SS21 menswear show in Tokyo. The show, hosted among the chaos and restrictions of the COVID pandemic, was broadcast online as it happened, in a video co-directed by Abloh with the legendary Japanese filmmaker, Takashi Miike.
The video opened with work from Miike’s fantastically violent opus, Ichi the Killer, a movie banned around the world, but one that has gone on to define the filmmaker’s career, a film equal parts beautiful, cool, disturbing, ridiculously over the top; the tale of a peroxide haired yakuza enforcer, Kakihara, who blows cigarette smoke through the scar holes in his cheeks, and an assassin called Ichi, who becomes extremely violent when sexually aroused.
Over a career spanning three decades, Miike has gained a cult following outside his homeland for making these kinds of film: a cinema of extremes of brutality, sex and gore. But in Japan he is perceived differently. It’s true he’s made many works of operatic violence featuring yakuza, gangsters and criminals, but he’s also made films of all kinds across the 100 plus works he’s completed; he’s made love stories, mysteries, comedies, kid’s films, period pieces. Often shooting four or five films a year, his work rate is heroic, almost frightening.

“People describe me as prolific, but I was working harder when I was working as an assistant director in my 20s,” Miike says. “An assistant director works for the director, the actors, all the people working on the film and the film itself, but not for themselves. I loved being on set. That was the
place for me. That feeling didn’t change even when I became a director. So even now, rather than creating my own work, I work for the love of being on set. I’m useless unless I’m on set. I have no other place to be.”
If there’s somewhere he could belong though, it might be here, where the pictures in this story were captured, a cabaret club, or Kyabakura, in Kabuchiko, Shinjuku. But despite being readily associated with the area, it’s still not really his hometown. “Shinjuku is a place I associate with the older generation of the film industry, people would gather for drinks in Golden Gai,” Miike explains.
“In the old days, people used to call them “cineastes”, or Eiga-jin, but they were really just company employees. They were highly educated people who passed entrance exams for major film companies and became directors. The people who started making movies in that way were very proud of themselves.”


But it was also a notoriously slow and conservative filmmaking community in Japan when Miike entered the industry, and he was part of a new generation of filmmakers who began working quickly, independently, often releasing their films straight to video. Following the country’s economic collapse in the early 90s, those slow, big budget films began to be seen as financially unviable to risk-averse studios. Directors like Takashi Milke, Hideo Nakata, and Kiyoshi Kurosawa emerged at this time, all like Miike were former assistants and now allowed the freedom to create, often free of the censorship and interference. Studios, newly scared of big expensive movies, preferred these directors to make small budget, creative works that could recoup their money more easily, and thus offering this young generation of directors creative freedom.

“So, even after the economic bubble burst, and the film industry went into decline and production budgets became limited, the older generation insisted that they could not make good films on such a small budget,” Miike explains. “The Eigajin tried to protect their pride by saying, ’Movies should be like this’ or ’Directors should be like this’, but in the end they disappeared and my generation took their place. So partly because I witnessed the changing times with my own eyes, I don’t have anything like the pride of that older generation of filmmakers. I don’t want to be the same as them. I don’t have anything like the pride. I’ll do anything.”
Fans who worship the cult filmmaker around the world for his bloody and violent works may be disappointed, but the essence of Takashi Miike as a person is found in such humble remarks, often delivered alongside a gentle laugh and a soft smile. Rather than posing as a brilliant auteur, he says that he devotes his talent to living on set as a member of the team, without ego. And yet, he has undoubtedly crafted a style, not just one of explosive violence, but the highly stylised way of shooting, dramatic camera movement, often shot from a character’s POV on handheld cameras. His films feature outsiders fighting against society, underdogs against the odds, surviving among the chaos of society. These films are overflowing with eccentric characters, absurd comedy, grotesque, taboo breaking imagery. They are though, often beautiful, artfully composed, full of humanity.


“Doing anything means that, rather than creating for yourself, you become an assistant for the script or for making the work itself come to life,” he says, unpacking his statement. “In other words, I am an assistant for the character in the script, I release their souls.” He also liberates the violence from the censorship-dodging vagueness of the language on page to the balletic grandeur of cinema. “In the script it might just say “he is beaten and knocked down”. But then, in my imagination, he gets up after being hit, so you have to hit him with a chair.
And then he might get up again, so I have no choice but to stab him with a knife. Things escalate so easily.” “Because I think it’s my role to release the characters who are still quiet in the script in order to get the project through like that. The same goes for Ichi The Killer. When I liberated the souls of characters that could not be drawn in the manga due to various restrictions, it turned out like that. I don’t have a writer’s ego. If the director’s offer comes, and if there are no problems with the schedule, I will say ‘I’ll do it’ regardless of the content. I never said that I couldn’t do it with that theme, or that I couldn’t do it with that budget. Rather, when I meet someone who asks me to direct a love story about a pop idol, I only consider, “What is this person thinking?” It’s this ethos that has led to Miike making over 100 films during his career. A huge number even for a director in the notoriously productive Japanese film industry, known for its tight schedules. It’s this too, that has led to such diversity in his output. “I will do anything not only in terms of content, but also in terms of budget. We shot Visitor Q in five days, using student volunteers, and that film is still highly regarded. So, rather than making what I want to make, when I receive an offer for something I wouldn’t normally do, I start to discover my potential, things I didn’t realise about myself. I try not to have any common sense as a film director.”


It’s this impetus and ethos that led to the creation of such era defining works as Ichi The Killer and Audition, and which led to the aforementioned Louis Vuitton show collaboration, as well as collaborations with Supreme and Miike’s reputation as a representative of certain aspect of Japanese pop culture to the West, although refracted now through the slight nostalgic of the recent past, the continued dredging up of the styles of Y2K.
“I know that they think I’ve been making movies for a long time, and that I don’t make movies that they need to see anymore. After all, works such as “Ichi The Killer”, “Visitor Q”, and “Audition” are still highly rated overseas, and I hear they are still shown in movie theaters abroad, but they were all works made about 20 years ago,” he explains. “But you can also think about it the other way around, Japanese pop culture 20 years ago was on the cutting edge of the world, and you could say that it naturally came together for me. I just accepted those films as vessels that happened to come to me. I enjoyed making them and I guess I enjoyed watching the characters go on a rampage on their own and destroy the movie. Someday again I will shoot works that will please overseas fans, but it will happen naturally.”

“Even now, I feel that the work is “alive”. But, from my point of view, it’s bad to think, "Well, if you make a work like Ichi The Killer, the world will like it." That’s the wrong thing to do. Two years ago, Supreme offered me to work together on some items featuring Ichi the Killer as a motif, and of course, I find offers like that delightful. The Louis Vuitton show, too. But I’ve never thought about disseminating my work overseas, not commercially or critically.”
Miike is now a member of the old generation, analogous to the one he replaced. Like them he’s now seen technology change the cinema, from digi­tal cameras to streaming films on the internet. He has remained resolute in his approach though.
“So far, I don’t feel that, for example, the cost and time required for production can be reduced due to the development of technology. More than that, in a movie, physical presence is always the decisive factor. I think people might start to see the beauty of shooting with old style lighting or cameras again, soon. However, I think the streaming industry, though there are more alternative options as well as the mainstream ones, tend to use the latest film tech­ niques, perhaps because they are too keen to defeat the existing film industry? That can sometimes feel a little limiting to me. But I believe that stream­ ing service is now in a transitional state. Maybe in a while, when it catches up with the existing film industry, the variety of works will widen dramati­ cally. On the other hand, I do think that the techniques and knowledge of my generation will be quite useless for the younger generations,” he says with a laugh. “Maybe suddenly, some kids from somewhere will start to make films in ways that we could have never even imagined. That is what I hope anyway.”

Takashi Miike (Osaka, b. 1960) is a Japanese film director, film producer, and screenwriter internationally acclaimed for his extremely prolific filmography based on extreme violence and sexual taboos. His latest project Connect was a TV series released in 2022.
Tetsuya Suzuki is a Japanese writer. Over the course of the 90s and the 00s, he worked at magazines like DICE, Smart, and Honyee.com as an editor. In 2022, Suzuki published his essay collection 2D Double Decade of Tokyo Pop Life.