”Khayalan Island” exhibition in Tokyo

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)

“Boat to Khayalan Island” exhibit

100 Ideas on Tomorrow’s Island: What can art do for a better society?

Momoshima Art Base

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.


Maebashi Film Festival

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.

Searching for an Island

IMG_8162 copyI 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.

Sunset House Video Release

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

Sunset House Musical Gathering video link

“Solvitur Ambulando” exhibit


November 7- December 7, 2013

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

Website info HERE

Musical Gathering at Sunset House

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.

sunset_0018Sound 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.

Unknown History: Eternal

arches_utah_waseda_unknownFour 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.

Echo: The Poetics of Translation


Storied Landscape, Project in Tomakomai, Hokkaido, 2011.

I am participating in a symposium that will investigate the topic of “environment” from the perspectives of four artists. Please come join this opportunity to discuss nature up to and including our urban environment. My presentation will include the memory of dirt in historical layers that are crucial to the series “Philosophies of Dirt”. There will also be a newly created installation of four dirt pigments created specifically for this event along with the work on paper from this series.

TIEAF2013 – Tokyo International Environmental Art Forum –


会場 駐日韓国大使館 韓国文化院 ギャラリーMI 〒160-0004 東京都新宿区四谷4-4-10

< Location > The gallery MI at Korean cultural center of  the Embassy of Korea

4-4-10, Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan 160-0004

イベント Event

*シンポジウム 8月6日(火)16:30〜    モデレーター: 椿玲子(森美術館アソシエイトキュレーター)Symposium: August 6  16:30-    Moderator : Reiko Tsubaki

参加アーティストによるシンポジウムを開催。環境アートについて各国のアーティストが意見をかわします。*オープニングレセプション 8月6日(火)18:00- Opening reception: August 6


James Jack / ジェームス ジャック (USA)
Chul Ho Lee /  チョルホ イ
Chanil Hong / チャンイル ホン
Sang Chul Jun /  サンチョル ユン
Hoseob  Yoon /  ホソッブ ユン
Kwang Woo Kim /  グァンウ キム
Sung Ra  Kim /  サンラ キム
Shotaro Yoshino / 吉野祥太郎
Shoko Miki / 三木祥子
Yoshitaka Nanjo /  南条嘉毅
Hitomi Iwano / 岩野仁美
Ushio Sakusabe /  サクサベウシオ
Kouseki Ono /  小野耕石
Eva Högberg / エヴァ ホグベリ (Sweden)
Bill Wolff  /  ビル ウォルフ (USA)
Frédéric Houvert / フレデリック ウーヴェル (France)
Billy Styles /  ビリー スタイルズ (UK)
Christophe Charles +Kazue Kaku / クリストフ シャルル+郭一恵 (France + Korea)

Artist site visit to Palau Ubin Island including former granite quarries, Singapore, July 27, 2013.

I am also creating a new artwork in Singapore as part of the project “ECHO: The Poetics of Translation” a theme conceptualized by Charles Merewether for Tropical Lab 7. This experimental work I am developing is based on the social landscape of Singapore and will open on the same day August 6th at LASALLE University. For more information see this LINK and for current updates on the project see HERE.

After an intensive week of workshops, seminars, research trips and other related activities, Tropical Lab culminates in an an exhibition of works by the participating artists. The 2013 exhibition will be curated by Milenko Prvacki, Senior Fellow at LASALLE College of the Arts. The Tropical Lab Exhibition will be open for public viewing from 7 to 14 August 2013, from 10am to 6pm, Tuesday to Sunday (except 12pm to 1pm) at ICA Gallery 2, PRAXIS Space, Project Space, Earl Lu Gallery and Brother Joseph McNally Gallery at LASALLE College of The Arts, 1 McNally Street.

Video document HERE

TROPICAL LAB 7 – ECHO : The Poetics of Translation
Opening: Tuesday, 6 August 2013
Guest of Honour: Prof. Steve Dixon, President, LASALLE College of the Arts
Venue: ICA Gallery 2, PRAXIS Space, Project Space, Earl Lu Gallery and Brother Joseph McNally Gallery LASALLE College of the Arts, 1 McNally Street, Singapore
Exhibition Period: Wed 7 – Wed 14 Aug 2013
Gallery Hours: 10am – 6pm (closed on Mondays and public holidays)
Admission: Free

Participating Artists:

James Jack- Tokyo University of the Arts, Japan
Lisa Frankland – RMIT, Australia
Danny Liu – RMIT, Hong Kong
Wahyu Utami Wati – Indonesia Institute of the Arts, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Ahmad Nursalim – Bandung Institute Of Technology, Indonesia
Chika Takagi & Koharu Kimata – Nagoya University of Arts and Sciences, Japan
Kayla Ward – Massey University, New Zealand
Bridget Tay & Pheng Guan – LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore
Helena Hernández Tapia & Lucas Guidetti Perez – Lucerne School of Art and Design, Switzerland
Lucile Dupraz &Kyung Min Roh Bannwart – Ecole d’art de Lausanne, Switzerland
Rattana Salee – Silpakorn University, Thailand
Zeynep Ozel – Sabanci University, Turkey
Isaac Whitcombe & Guy Blundel – Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, UK
Joshua David Y’Barbo – Chelsea College of Art, UK
Gabriel Stones – Royal Academy, UK
Jim Edward Threapleton – Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London, UK
Damien O’Connell – Central St. Martins, University of the Arts London, UK
Karen Pearson – University of Plymouth, UK
Kambui Olujimi & Alexandra Van – Columbia University, USA
Bridget Batch & Leander Schwazer – California Institute of the Arts, USA