Solar Vestiges


I have just completed an installation piece for the show “Threshold: Sustainable Art.” It is a sand painting that draws a link between cultural, urban and personal roots. Living in Tokyo I am confronted by the rapidly changing landscape of my neighborhood. I am amazed how quickly a building is torn down, the land sold, a new structure is built and then it is occupied. In the midst of these constant changes I wonder what lies below the surface of these buildings? With this in mind karma sent me a surprise one night when I realized the potential of this large wall next to an empty lot.


I learned that the old man who lived in this house had died last year and it took one week before they discovered he was dead. The house was eventually torn down in August and the land is now for sale. The owner of the house next door was very enthusiastic about my idea of painting a circle on his wall to bring the space back to life. We repaired the wall together on a Saturday afternoon talking all about the meaning of life. I told him why I chose to use sand from an area in Utah where my extended relatives live. Slowly I began to realize that the soil in the empty lot was part of my installation just as much as the wall itself.


Getting to know the owner of the building was the beginning of my involvement in the neighborhood. In the process of mixing sand and painting on the wall I heard many stories about the area from neighbors. Standing in the empty lot I also had the opportunity to speak with a diverse range of passers by such as this group from Beijing (below.) The piece is designed to slowly drip off the building as elements such as rain, wind and sunlight affect the surface. Although the exhibition is scheduled to end on November 7th the owner would love to have the piece remain longer. Although the materials I used are ephemeral the social space surrounding it has sparked new community relations that will last far beyond the life of the circle on the wall.


One response to “Solar Vestiges”

  1. Love it! This encompasses everything that I loved about Japanese art – such involving the surrounding space, part of space AND time… You’re making me miss it 😉