Futon or the Quilt features passages read out loud from Tayama Katai’s semi-autobiographical story 蒲団 (The Quilt). These passages center the ways the middle-aged writer and protagonist portrays his student as a 'modern girl' — an early 20th century media sensation that depicted young Japanese women as emulators of western fashions and ideologies. The protagonist lectures his student on writers such as Turgenev, Ibsen, and Geothe while suggesting that she should learn to act and think like their women characters.
By pointing at these moments where original and copy, referent and language, come together, Futon or the Quilt explores the translation of literary bodies across languages and cultural contexts. There is an emphasis on the body, and on the ways that books become sites where human bodies and textual bodies meet.
Many thanks to Paige Smith.