What kind of place do you think the Land of Underpants would be? Let’s all travel to the Land of Underpants!
I can still hear her wee voice.
“This is ghosts… underpants… and stars…”
Six words you don’t usually expect to hear in combination, especially from a softly-spoken Japanese woman in her mid-forties on a Thursday afternoon. As we are handed our tickets I’m hit with the sudden urge to ask her to say it again. Say it again, damn it!
Billed as an exhibition where “children can be children”, Ghosts, Underpants & Stars is the MOT’s unique take on a haunted house for yongsters: a place where curiosity is encouraged and kids can run about like the unruly assholes they were designed to be.
This is a summer holiday exhibition aimed mainly at infants and primary school childen. The normal, staid rules of the museum, such as ‘Don’t Run’, ‘Don’t Touch’ or ‘Keep Quiet’ will be relaxed and we will provide a place where children are free to touch and have fun. Based around three words that symbolise children: ‘Ghosts’ (imagination), ‘Underpants’ (children’s growth) and ‘Stars’ (wishes), the exhibition will consists not only of works that are just to be appreciated for what they are, but will also include participation works or programmes.
As you enter the exhibition you are thrown into the Transformation Corner where you are supposed to, um, transform yourself: put on a beard or a strange object and turn yourself into somebody slightly different to view the different rooms. With a black hood draped over my head I looked like a cross between an S&M Dungeon Master and a chicken. I’m not sure this was the transformation that was intended.
The following rooms take you on a journey through your own imagination: there’s a dark haunted house that allows you to distort your face and become one with the paintings. In stark contrast, the ‘underpants’ area is a visual assault of floor-to-ceiling neon with a huge fluffy blob in the middle of the room.
“Can we jump on that?”
“I don’t know.”
“No seriously, can we jump on that?”
This is what makes this place so fun. You can jump on it while wearing a mini cape that allows you to fly. You can do whatever the hell you want.
So what about underpants? Where do they fit into it all? Well…
Hadaka-chan is always naked at home. At school she is just a wimpy girl, but when she is at home she is full of beans! She likes to dream and loves underpants. What Hadaka-chan wants to become is, believe it or not, ‘underpants’. In her dreams, she and “Pants-chan”, who she made herself, travel together to the Land of Underpants. What kind of place do you think the ‘Land of Underpants’ would be? Let’s all travel to Land of Underpants!
If that doesn’t sell you on an exhibition, you have no soul!