Pareidolia’s narrative is based on the events surrounding the creation of Eugen Herrigel’s book Zen in the Art of Archery. The German author’s interpretation of Zen archery pivots on an incident he observed while living in Japan in the 1930s; the shooting of two arrows – one bisecting the other – by his eccentric archery master, Awa Kenzo, in a darkened hall. “It, the Divine, has shot!” the master allegedly exclaimed, although the presence of a translator has since been disputed, raising questions of subjectivity, interpretation and belief.
Pareidolia is told from the point of view of a fictional translator between the master and his German apprentice, and the translator’s alter ego, a bird. The title points to the need for caution in storytelling: Pareidolia refers to the tendency of human perception to discover meaning in random structures. The film’s visuals are shot inside model sets of a university lecture theatre, an archery hall and various traditional Japanese interiors that fold into themselves, alternated with animatronic birds drinking from dripping plants. The soundtrack is composed by Daniel Pemberton.
Igawa, Togo (Speaker) and Pemberton, Daniel (Composer)