“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.

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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.

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http://www.passagesbookshop.com/the-gallery/current-exhibition/

 

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.

“Stack/File” exhibit

Guest Curator: Ana Torok

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

June 13 – July 26, 2015
Curator’s Talk: Saturday, June 13, 4pm
Reception: Saturday, June 13, 5 – 6pm

Exhibitions and events are free and open to the public.

Stack / File is a dual-platformed curatorial experiment designed to re-create the agency inherent to the process of exploring the Kentler Flatfiles. The first platform, Stack, is a traditional selections show using the layered and stacked storage of the Flatfiles as a theoretical catalyst to explore issues relating to superimposition. The second platform, File, is an online, conceptual record of the curatorial process, including the chronology of significant events leading up to the opening and expanded considerations of each artwork in the exhibition.

Special website for the exhibit

Current exhibit Kentler website link

 

 

“Dirt Stage” in Niigata

A new artwork is being made by the World Dirt Association (James Jack, Yoshitaka Nanjo and Shotaro Yoshino) for the Land and Water Art Festival which will open in Niigata Prefecture during July 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

 

”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

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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.