The last dirt samples have been added to “Dirt Stage” today on the last day of the Water and Land Art Triennial in Niigata. After adding the last twelve samples to the grid, a symposium was held to discuss the meaning of this work and its process. It was an incredibly meaningful yet emotional day as we faced the last day of the three-month exhibition in Niigata. Many questions about the work emerged in the symposium together with guest Meruro Washida and artists James Jack, Yoshitaka Nanjo and Shotaro Yoshino at Base Camp.
The symposium titled “Living Dirt: Memory and Rebirth in This Place” was focused on questions that have arisen based on the activities of World Dirt Association. Core issues arose on the topic of the balance between collecting, moving and exhibiting dirt as well as the balance between earth and information. Specifically the focus of this discussion was on the background for this work, the collaboration which ensued as well as the methods for reconsidering our relationship to dirt. The problems of working with living materials was addressed while thinking about the distinctions between interior and exterior spaces.
Together with numerous volunteers in all stages of this project, we found new layers of dirt which lies beneath us. The life of dirt as a medium for other microorganisms, insects and plants was reflected on in the context of art as something that needs to be protected from ageing. This work deals directly with time, specifically mapping the passage of time with the addition of dirt samples into the grid. In a symmetrical structure the spontaneity of dirt samples sent from 115 sites over the past three months has brought together this artwork.
The World Dirt Association has released a promotion video. It includes our 9 founding principles and presently occurring activities. Currently it is on display on the entrance wall before our main installation in Base Camp at the Water and Land Art Festival in Niigata. Now it is also available online! Please see it
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.