The Shapes of the Sky creates a collective space for sharing stories of past traditions alongside contemporary enquires of how we can navigate with the sea as a centre. Islanders’ oral histories focus on the abundance of natural resources, methods of a sharing economy and wisdom obtained from ancestral knowledge.
“Social practice artist James Jack has been working closely with diverse community partners to gather stories pertaining to ‘āina (land) on Moloka‘i. This installation focuses on land not as a commodity to be bought and sold, but on the visceral relationship between Molokaʻi’s people and land. This long process has revealed that while the people of Molokaʻi may have different priorities, they all see the island’s potential tied to the land.”
This artwork is built together with the community from a former community center on the island of Shodo. During artistic production, words have been integrated into the structure of the walls and stone garden.
This participatory exhibit fills the gallery with stones that change each day of the exhibit according to different patterns of “flow” derived from Yame and Fukuoka. The unique time and space of each place determined the pathways in this historical art space which has seen diverse utility over the past century. The metaphor of “from stone to sand” opens a new perspective on time that is informed by the layers which support our everyday life in between one place and another.
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.
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 a window of earth, where the possibility to rediscover ourselves inside the beautiful dirt exists.
“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.”
What would the earth say if we took a moment to listen? Attempts to hear the earth open the possibility for local residents in two cities, Busan and Tokyo, to remember that which has been removed, hidden or covered in the layers of the ground.