“Dialogica” video installation at Museum of the Sky, Nagano


James Jack + Ruri Watanabe Dialogica 2017 (still frame from 30’49” digital video)

TENKU Art Festival
Museum of the Sky

Tomi City, Nagano, Japan

This collaborative artwork made in the mountains of Kyushu at a unique site where local legends say a Chinese monk who brought the first tea leaves to Japan has been sitting in meditation since the 7th century. Artists Watanabe and Jack walk down a ledge to the tip of the same protruding rock to share a “dialogue” together with the past. Starting in silence, this contemplative work grows in a meditative way along with the plethora of sounds present in the burgeoning summer forest. Near the end, one of the artists slowly returns across the ledge while the other continues to sit indefinitely on the stone of meditation.

“Molokai Window” at Honolulu Museum of Art


Exhibition by James Jack

Honolulu Museum of Art

April 26-September 16, 2018

This installation focuses on land not as a commodity to be bought and sold, but on the visceral relationship between Molokai’s people and land. This three-year process has revealed that while the people of Molokai may have different priorities, they all see the island’s potential tied to love for the land.

—Healoha Johnston

James Jack Molokai Window: Mokio Point 2017 Natural pigments on paper 76 x 56 cm


James Jack Mauka & Makai 2017 Handmade walnut ink on paper (sketchbooks)

James Jack Cycles of Dirt as Life 2017 Natural pigment and graphite on paper (sketchbook)

“WDA: Dirt Restaurant” at Ichihara Art x Mix

Dirt Restaurant 


James Jack
Shotaro Yoshino
Yoshitaka Nanjo

World Dirt Association collected dirt samples along with stories from ten sites. For Ichihara, a “tasting room” as well as a “kitchen” provides two unique experiences. The shape, color, fragrance and taste (based on smell) is linked with stories in the kitchen to create fresh experiences of the land we live on. Why don’t you try a new experience of dirt here in this restaurant?


Ichihara Art x Mix 2017

April 8- May 14, 2017

Chiba, Japan

Article by James Jack about Ichihara Art x Mix 2014
Exhibition information: ichihara-artmix.jp [Japanese]


Dirt Restaurant -土のレストラン-

世界土協会:南条 嘉毅、ジェームズ・ジャック、吉野 祥太郎

2017年4月8日(土)— 5月14日(日)

世界土協会の3名アーティストは、それぞれの拠点から土のサンプルとそこに関わる人のストーリーを集めます。市原で「テースティングルーム」と「キッチン」の2つの空間で体験できます。土にまつわるストーリーを色、かたち、匂いをとおしてテイスティング(匂いを嗅ぐこと)し、 キッチンでは様々な素材を利用して新鮮な感覚で自分と地球を入り交じることもできます。ここで新たな土を体験してみませんか?





“Eight Layers of Dirt” Installation

Eight Layers of Dirt

James Jack

4 channel stereo sound installation

Variable dimensions





Dirt is a part of us. Just as our body is composed of cells, organs and systems—so too is the earth. This fragile earth supports our life, yet we often separate ourselves from it. Art provides one method for healing our fractured relationship with the land we inhabit. It gives us a glimpse into the layers of earth, where the possibility to rediscover ourselves inside the beautiful dirt exists. This work is composed of interviews with eight women, four of whom live in Fukuoka and four who live in Yame. The artist spoke with each of the women about their life stories, focusing on the complicated relationship they each have with the place they live. As these conversations unfold, the spirit of each place gradually comes into view from the ground up. The unique stories collected here provide a glimpse at the current layers of the land seen through the eyes of eight strong women.
Interview Participants:

ASATSUYU: Mari Kanazawa + Haruka Harashima

YAMAKAI: Satsumi Miyazono + Miki Matsunaga

SANMIDORI: Aiko Hara + Sayako Tachi

YABUKITA: Ayako Ohashi + Nami Kurita



October 2016

Organizer: Social Art Lab, Kyushu University

More info (Japanese): http://www.sal.design.kyushu-u.ac.jp/artmanagement.html

Photos by: Akiko Tominaga




4チャネル ステレオサウンド・インスタレーション




“Small Islands with Big Visions,” roundtable at Sunset House

Sunset House, Konoura, Shodo Island, Artwork No. 086

Monday, October 10th, 13:30-15:30 pm
Michelle Lim (Curator and Art Historian, Singapore/U.S.)
Yoshitaka Mouri (Cultural Studies Scholar, Japan)
James Jack (Artist, Japan)


This special event will reflect on art as it engages with society on two small islands: Singapore and Shōdo. What can art do for communities and the social realities of each island? This special event will reflect on the relationship of art activities in the wider social landscape. Current issues will be considered through artistic and scholarly perspectives while searching for alternative visions for today. Together with the opinions of local residents and visitors, creative visions will resound from Sunset House: The House as Language of Being.

For more info: [Japanese only]:

“Stories of Khayaland Island” exhibit

Solo exhibition of walnut ink works on paper by James Jack

Passages Bookshop, Portland, Oregon.

August 5- September 17, 2016.



Pulau Khayalan is an island rumored to have disappeared from the Singapore Harbor at the beginning of the 19th century. Stories of Khayalan is a collective attempt to rediscover the island, based on the stories of islanders in the Riau archipelago. During the search, fragments have come to light: a wood scrap from a fishing vessel, a light bulb covered with barnacles, a flat boat nail. Some appear to be artifacts, others tools, but most remain unidentified. To revive their places in the stories, imaginative methods must be utilized. For the current exhibition, the artist has made a special selection of original works on paper, executed in handmade walnut ink. These drawings are part of an active attempt to amplify multiple voices found within fragments from the past.




Update: Exhibition extended to October 29th!



“Living Dirt” Symposium

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.


“Dirt Stage” WDA exhibit

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.