The World Dirt Association (James Jack, Yoshitaka Nanjo + Shotaro Yoshino) opened “Dirt Stage” to the public this past weekend at the Water and Land Art Festival 2015. Seventy-five samples have been collected from across the world focusing primarily on Japan with more than half of the samples from Niigata Prefecture. There was an enthusiastic response to the activities of WDA for the local connections as well as the global relevance of histories of dirt today.
As can be seen in these preview images, each sample has its own unique color, texture and history. By arranging them in a grid, WDA aims to open the possibility for reconsidering the relationship of one site with another. Furthermore the formal structure of the installation is contrasted with the contingency of each dirt sample and the site where it was collected.
An introduction to the activities of WDA is made in a video work shown at the entrance to the work, followed by the grid of soil samples currently in progress. When the grid has been completed there will be 133 samples indoors and 27 additional samples outdoors. Finally the pathway between the sample which forms the stage continues outdoors to a stunning view of the surrounding field and ocean.
This final view of the earth which is composed of earth will remain a mystery for those who visit the site. The exhibition is open until October 12th with free entrance to all so come visit to see the World Dirt Association’s new artwork in person.
Artists: Tomie Arai, Ernst Benkert, Lucile Bertrand, Hovey Brock, Stephanie Brody-Lederman, Hedwig Brouckaert, Beth Caspar, Phillip Chen, Yvette Cohen, Grace DeGennaro, Karni Dorell, Pauline Galiana, Marietta Hoferer, Toine Horvers, Richard Howe, James Jack, Damon Kowarsky, Michael Kukla, Stephen Maine, Karen Helga Maurstig, Portia Munson, Florence Neal, Claudia Sbrissa, Matthew Thomas, Josette Urso
Artist Lecture by James Jack
Kobe University, Literature Department
June 11, 2015
This artwork is being created through the collection, cataloging and display of 100+ dirt samples from across the world. The main goal of “Dirt Stage: 土の時間を育てる” artwork is to find creative ways of representing the life of dirt.
Please contact us if your are interested in sending a sample of dirt from where you live to become a part of this artwork which engages directly with the land we live on. For more information please see the Water and Land Art Festival website
Sample video clip showing boat and artifact from current exhibition of “Khayalan Island” at Tokyo University of the Arts Museum by James Jack
For more information please see the following website: http://dr-exhibition.geidai.ac.jp/summary/jamesjack/ (Japanese only)
100 Ideas on Tomorrow’s Island: What can art do for a better society?
September 13- October 26, 2014
How can we find Khayalan Island today? This project starts by reviving stories of this island from the past that might otherwise disappear. Searching for clues to rediscover an island lost during the 19th century, a contemplative boat voyage was taken to Kashima. The view from this nearby island where people are extinct allows us to glimpse at the fragile existence of this island where we currently exist. This artwork is part of a multi-site search for material evidence of this lost island from the turbulent past.
Challenges abound in our everyday environment. This attempt to find Khayalan Island may be met with failure. How are we to create an imaginary vessel within the harsh social and ecological realities of today? Fortunately residents have drawn maps of this island with their expansive and creative minds in a workshop held earlier this year. If participants of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles work together to create a shared vision, travel to this imaginary island might become reality.
Boats in the harbor are fading into the seascape. The search for a vessel to ride on has begun. Recycled materials are collected in each village to build a boat capable of traveling to Khayalan Island. The process of building a boat with recycled parts from the community is intentionally exhibited here as parts are assembled one by one. This vessel composed of discarded materials points the way for rich stories from the past to be recomposed into a bright future.
The 40 minute documentary about my artwork “Sunset House: Language as the house of Being” will be screened at the Maebashi Film Festival. This will be an opportunity to reflect on the project at a crucial point in its life. Just recently the garden has been rebuilt to accommodate the new road built above the house and through two years of negotiation the basalt stone wall has been rebuilt in the local technique of slanted crossing stones. The project will continue to be opened to the public in the summer so this screening will open some of the newest layers of this project which engages with the language of the community as a house of existence.
For more details regarding the festival see the following website: link here. “Sunset House: Language as the house of Being” will be screened on June 1st starting at 13:00 at the former Yasuda Securities Bank Building. I will also participate in a discussion held after the screening together with Assistant Professor Tomoko Shimizu of Tsukuba University link here. For those of you who can make the reasonable trip out from Tokyo to Gunma please come out to enjoy this unique opportunity to learn more about my artwork along with other artists and media scholars.