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.
I am holding a series of workshops on Momoshima Island this week for a new artwork to be made for the project “100 Ideas on Tomorrow’s Island: What art can do for a better society.” On the first day we will generate ideas of what this island might look like, what kind of plants are growing there and how it might be named. The second day will include walks in the Tomari town neighborhood investigating the local history and stories of boat journeys. On the third day we will take an actual boat trip to search for this unknown island while taking notes, observing sounds and watching for signs of an island that is rumored to have vanished.
For part of my ongoing research into contingent environments I was stimulated to hear a local story on a visit to Momo Island a few months ago. There was a distinctively large stone named “dango” on the tip of the penninsula right behind the small shrine in the town of Tomari. It was a sign post in the local community and part of the seascape that could be seen from most outlooks on the Seto Inland Sea. One day an intensive storm came into town. While everyone was securing their houses and boats to protect from damage the dango stone was swallowed up by the sea. Its soft sandstone base is all that remains now in the view of the sea from the small road on the tip of the town. Changes in the place are expressed in the living memories of the stone in the stories told by the island residents.
The creative energy of four musicians, one artist and an entire community were expressed in this musical event held on November 3, 2013 at Sunset House: Language as the house of Being. A special video has been released to share this event held at the end of the Setouchi International Art Festival with new audiences. Please enjoy at the following link below:
Artist: James Jack
Musicians: Ryu Furusawa, Akira Tanabe, Makoto Noumi, Bruce Huebner
Sponsored by: U.S. Embassy, Tokyo
Co-operation: Kounoura Village, Shodoshima Town, Shigeru Moriguchi, Etsuko Hamawaki, Makio Kuroshima, Yoshiaki Kawata, Mikio Tamura
Videography: Goun Video Graphic
SETOUCHI INTERNATIONAL ART FESTIVAL 2013
Artists Talk Show
James Jack (Sunset House: Language as the house of Being)
Koji Yamamoto (Awashima Saltworks)
Keisuke Yunoki (Island Scene)
MC: Yuki Numamoto (West Japan Broadcasting Television)
December 23, 2013. 14:00-16:00
Kagawa Prefectural Museum 2F Rotunda
Takamatsu, 5-5 Tamamacho
Sponsored by the Agency for Cultural Affairs Japan
HONOLULU- The Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu Museum of Art School Mezzanine Gallery will feature the collaborative work of James Jack and Toshiaki Tomita in the exhibition Solvitur Ambulando. This exhibition has been made possible by collaboration with curator Marion Cadora and features diverse media including water, audio recordings and images that have been collected during walk events held on both sides of the Pacific over the past twelve months. In the intermediary city of Honolulu counterparts from both sides of the Pacific will intersect to form a significant dialogue that cherishes our relationship with the land underneath our feet.
This project Solvitur Ambulando (“solve it by walking”) is composed of stories, questions and dialogues occurring in our time of uncertainty. It is part of a creative search for new relationships to land given the realities of our situation after the 3.11 disaster in Tohoku. If the disaster is not limited to Japan, then folklorist Norio Akasaka’s discussion may be true, 3.11 has pulled a reality from a few decades ahead. If so, it may not be possible to fix this, rather we must stretch and extend our minds to grasp it. Tomita and Jack see these difficult circumstances as the impetus to take imaginative walks that explore new visions of reality.
For the exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art the artists will create a mind map for a future walk event specifically for Hawai‘i. This will be created through various participatory elements such as the changing installation Story Circle as well as Wall of Ocean Currents participatory works that will be composed by visitors during the exhibition. The artists will also exchange a drawing back and forth during the exhibition period to be displayed before the closing. Together with ephemera from past walks these generative elements will compose a metaphorical “walk across the pacific” in real time at the Honolulu Museum of Art School.
Jack and Tomita have created open structures through the practice of walking and talking. In her introduction to the exhibition curator Marion Cadora writes, “Is the wider Pacific Ocean a boundless space—inviting anyone to navigate it freely, its definition open to negotiation? Or is it a fragmented entity; isolated by its own terrain, privatized bodies of water, and imagined territories? It is unknown until we make the journey ourselves.” Based on walks that have occurred in Tokyo Bay as well as for the Open Engagement conference held in Portland, Oregon the artists have continued walking at a distance, feeling the links between one island and another. This exhibit will also include special developments that occur during this exhibition to facilitate the creative foundations for a walk to be held in Honolulu.
Artists Jack and Tomita are engaged with conversation as their medium and have received numerous awards and acclaim for their artworks and publications. The two artists have been collaborating on projects since 2010 such as Living in Story and Storied Landscape and began their current project in 2012.
James Jack explores the social composition of land in through layers that compose his artworks. This year his work has been featured at the Setouchi International Triennial in Japan, Institute of Contemporary Arts in Singapore and the Busan Biennale Sea Art Festival in Korea. He is currently pursuing research and teaching in the painting department at Tokyo University of the Arts.
Toshiaki Tomita creates artworks that are a story about the process of becoming intimate with images. His work has been exhibited at the Seoul Arts Center in Korea, Yokohama Triennial in Japan and the Odense City Museum in Denmark. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at Hokkaido University of Education.
Marion Cadora has worked at the De Young Museum and the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco as well as the John Charlot Collection and the Intersections Visiting Artist Program at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She is currently Assistant Curator at the John Young Museum of Art in Honolulu.
Solvitur Ambulando Exhibition
Honolulu Museum of Art School Mezzanine Gallery
A special musical event held during the last weekend of the Setouchi Triennial exhibition at Sunset House: Language as the house of Being featuring Ryu Furusawa, Akira Tanabe, Makoto Noumi and Bruce Huebner. This event was a celebration of all those who have supported the exhibition over the past six months as well as signal of what is to come in the future for this art project.
Sound artist Ryu Furusawa recording the sound of two basalt stones clicking against each other in preparation for his live performance “silent scene” at Sunset House. His sound piece included sounds of the Setouchi ocean as well as other local recordings made on Shodoshima specially for this event.
(From left) Akira Tanabe, Makoto Noumi and Bruce Huebner perform the song “Haru no umi” at the conclusion of the musical gathering to an audience that overflowed into the entrance, garden and surrounding environment of Sunset House.
An article on the background context for this art project by Darryl Jingwen Wee was published on artinfo (link HERE) as well as a slideshow posted (link HERE) today. The existence of this house of being has blossomed into a wider community than ever with the unique energy of this musical event generously sponsored by the American Embassy in Tokyo.
Four selected works on paper from the series “Philosophies of Dirt” as well as one pigment installation are included in the group show “Unknown Histories: Eternal” opening today at Waseda Scott Hall Gallery. This is the fourth in a series of exhibitions curated by artist and archivist Chika Kato which investigates the multiplicity of history since March 11th. The exhibition is dynamic and each artist addresses history in their own poetic way, some focusing directly on the disaster of 2011 and others addressing issues of memory.
I have been reflecting on these works while considering which ones are most appropriate for this exhibit and discovered the places where the dirt was collected have changed significantly this year. My father’s house is now sold and this faint dirt drawing is one of the only traces I have of the ground where my family spent so much time. Also the story of the fight to save La‘au Point on Molokai‘i Island has recently been published.
I will speak about these drawings and the philosophy of dirt during a TALK EVENT together with guest Michio Hayashi (Art Critic, Sophia University) on Saturday, August 24th at 4pm. There will be an opening reception afterwards commencing at 6pm. The exhibition is open until September 4th for more information and directions to the venue at Waseda please see this link HERE.
Also I am pleased to announce that the second edition of the catalog “James Jack: Philosophies of Dirt” has just been published. The first edition sold out early this year and it is a pleasure to have completed this edition just before Satoshi Koyama Gallery prepares to move to Singapore in September. The content is 99% the same as the first edition with just one new artwork featured and some slight adjustments to the Japanese text font by Brandon Shimoda. This is a wonderful way to appreciate the artworks in the intimate book format. For orders outside Japan please send an email on the contact section of this website HERE or for orders in Japan please order directly from the gallery HERE.