2018.10.08 Monday

Exercises of approximation (mainland/island-island) I: Atami-Hatsushima round trip

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    Monday, 8 October

    I have started documenting my encounter with different pieces of land/soil (mainland-island or island-island), my transfer between them. I have also started documenting the water on which the ship travels. 

    through these exercises of approximation, I experience distances. The time of the approximation depends on the "joining vehicle".

    It could be endless.

     

    2018.10.07 Sunday

    Culinary Welcome Party

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      Sunday, October 7

      Since I arrived in Tokyo, Art Center Ongoing has been a continuous comings and goings, holding cultural events of diverse nature. So it's no surprise that yesterday's evening, the day my welcome party was planned, we also celebrated the closing party of Art Fair Ongoing (10/4-7). The fun, however, didn't end there, since I could also get to know some TERAKKO or TERATOTERA (https://www.artscouncil-tokyo.jp/en/what-we-do/creation/hubs/teratotera/2158/) volunteers. Moreover, we did so and enjoyed the most amazing fish I have eaten since I arrived. Nishioka-san, one of the participants in TERATOTERA Art Project -event which, by the way, is directed by Nozomu-, bought "sea bream" and "yellowtail" from Tsukiji Fish Market.

      A few days ago this historical fish market closed its doors (https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/tokyo-tsukiji-fish-market-toyosu/index.html), so Nishioka-san decided to buy the last fish in the market and prepare it at the party of the art center.

      He wasn't the only one involved in making of this evening a great culinary event, another TERAKKO whose family lives in Hokkaido (Northern part of Japan, that is well known for good seafood), was sent lots of "saury" and decided to share it with us at Art Center Ongoing.

       

      I must confess that at some point in the evening my western way of thinking made me went through a moment of confusion. I was supposed to introduce myself and make a presentation of my work but when and where should that happen? The evening had become rather a culinary event in which diners participated in a nonstop parade of delicious foods and drinks. So I was surprised when at 9 pm, as planned, Nozomu made some free space on the table we were eating from and plugged on the projector. I took my laptop out my bag, connected it and suddenly everyone stopped talking. These people had just shown to me once again how respectful they are. 

       

      They listened carefully and, although I had the feeling everyone could understand my English, Megumi translated everything I said to ensure the best communication. It was my first experience being translated, so it took some time to get used to it and to stop every couple of sentences. 

       

      Among the works I talked about, the performance "Vanishing Office" and the permanent installation "Codex", both a collaboration with some friends of mine from the Art School in Kassel, turned out to be of most interest. Some of them found politically incorrect to destroy so many books. This wouldn't happen in Japan -they said: "books are History, part of our culture". I explained to them the exact nature of the books used for the project but didn't try to change their way of thinking. I am aware the piece may be quite controversial. It was any way interesting for me to hear their opinions. In the end, some of them ended up discussing between them, whether it is ok or not to keep every single "book" or printed issue we have, old or new...

       

       

       

       

      2018.10.06 Saturday

      Entering the treasure cave. Kintsugi workshop at ROKUJIGEN

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        Leaving Ogikubo Station behind and facing the west to the railway track, I pass several fast food restaurants, pachinko locals and a karaoke bar. Some meters further the street becomes narrower and a couple of typical restaurants and a shrine contrast with the neon-flashing lights, which prevail around the station. Next to a ramen shop, a metallic staircase leads to the place I am looking for. There is no street number, no sign. I walk up and down the street several times until I finally find it. It is like a treasure cave, dark and full of precious items and -of course- almost impossible to find... thousands of books are piled up to the ceiling while others serve as bases for a variety of pieces of ceramic tableware. I am excited about this encounter of mine...

        By the time I arrive, there are already around 10 persons sitting inside, each one in front of a free deck area, with a selection of tools prepared to be used and, although I arrive on time, I feel as if I was late.

        No one speaks English except for a woman. Nakamura -the owner and who leads the workshop- frees up a seat next to her. 

        I receive two objects. Each one has a small fracture on the edge. We receive instructions on how to proceed. I don't understand anything, so my helpmate translates the main information. I don't mind not understanding it all. I look at Nakamura's gestures and enjoy the participant's reactions. I hear the trains go by. Sometimes everything vibrates. Just a little. However, everyone keeps focused on their work. It feels like being transported to another time. 

         

         

        I leave the place after having expressed several times my gratitude in English and the few words in Japanese I know. I have lost track of time. It's been three hours. No, almost four. I feel excited, tired and happy all at the same time. I am grateful that I enjoyed this evening. I am grateful to my friend and artist Arisha Kawabe, who told me about this place, and of course to Nakamura, for sharing his knowledge with us.  

         

        (http://www.6jigen.com/index.html)

        2018.10.05 Friday

        Ikema Yuko's Concert at Ongoing

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          Wednesday, 3 October 

          The gallery space of Ongoing is full of folding chairs where silent people wait for the show to start, while the artist smokes her last cigarette downstairs. She looks so young... Almost every one I've met so far looks younger than s/he is. You can hear her laughter. I drink my tea.

          After some minutes of individual reflection, she goes up. She takes place and says something I can't understand -of course- but I barely think I'd understand if I could speak Japanese. She speaks so softly almost too quietly that I'm surprised when everyone reacts laughing.

          Another moment of quietness and she starts singing.

          A beautiful, powerful voice leaves her mouth, her body. She plays the guitar. I am delighted. I don't understand what the song is about but it doesn't matter. It sounds like gentle, playful, sweet, womanly freedom. It could be a lullaby, a tale, a love story... she is magic. 

          I close my eyes to enjoy the sound for some time but I want to look at her. She generates this energy you want to stare at her. the room is filled with enthusiasm. I feel so moved I want to hug her.

          Suddenly something surprises me again. It is Yukie. She gives me a piece of paper. She has written down a translation of the lyrics for me. That's such a gentle gesture! Although I don't need her to do it -I am enjoying it so much without knowing what the songs are about-, until the end of the evening, she gives me another piece of paper everytime a song ends.