I am hugely grateful to Asialink for awarding me the inaugural residency to the Kyoto Art Center in Kyoto, Japan. I am also very grateful to the funding support provided by Arts ACT and The Japan Foundation. I will be spending 3 months in Japan from October 2014 researching Japanese aesthetics of immateriality and Shinto and Buddhist practices. I will update progress of the residency and research through the Asialink tag here: http://litmus.jaykochel.com/tag/asialink/
Day One: Studio 4 | Kyoto Art Center
Asialink and the Kyoto Art Center are hosting me here in Kyoto with a wonderful light filled studio in the old Meirn Elementary School [http://www.kac.or.jp/eng/meirin/]. Here is the studio, uninterrupted. I like that there is an optional shoe wearing discretion. In many places in Japan, shoe wearing is definitely not invited.
North Wing 2F
It is used for the orientation of volunteers and meetings of the artists. Here is the detail of Artist in Studios.
■size：51㎡ ■flooring (material)：Oil wax coated timber
■note：entering with one’s shoes is available
The first few weeks of my residency have seen me absurdly tossing space blankets around the studio capturing video. The idea of capturing some memory of the air in time and space often puts my body in relation to these spectral golden forms.
Japanese artist Motohiko ODANI will be exhibiting his solo exhibition Terminal Moment at the Kyoto Art Center duirng the period of my residency. Very excited to be seeing his work first hand.
Motohiko ODANI Solo Exhibition “Terminal Moment”
November 11, 2014 [tue.] – December 14, 2014 [sun.]
Kyoto Art Center Gallery South & North
UPDATE: Here is a wonderful review of the exhibition in english
An adaptation of a Japanese Tea Ceremony held in the Tea Room at the Kyoto Art Center. Artist Zon Ito uses water gathered from the natural springs surrounding Kyoto. The water was presented to share by those attending the ceremony, each member taking turns to serve the others in their group. The Japanese have a talent for sitting for long periods on their haunches, a talent I sorely lacked, and felt noticeably foreign whilst shifting uncomfortably trying to remain composed during this delicate ritual. The sound of the boiling kettle was amplified subtly for the duration of the ceremony, acting as the soundtrack for the event. After the water had been consumed, we were all presented with a sweet made from local chestnuts. Both the water and chestnuts were laid out at the head of the room, under a tapestry of the circle below. Before entering the ceremony, guests waited in one of the old school rooms, presented with a projected animation inside a golden gourd and another video of running river water. I enjoyed the whole experience immensely and look forward to seeing more of Ito san’s work.
The theme is “WATER of Tea Ceremony” Zon Ito will serve you the water that he collects in Kyoto City.
Date / Term November 22, 2014 [Sat.] 10：30／11：30／13：00／14：00
Venue Kyoto Art Center Japanese style-room “Meirin”
Host Zon Ito(artist)
I was lucky enough to see this wonderful ceremony involving the burning of Buddhist Rosary beads (juzu) at the Sekizanzen-in temple. After the crowd amassed, there was chanting and stoking of the fire by the temple monks. The amount of beads presented seemed endless as the monks continued to top up the pile with fresh handfuls from new bags. Kneeling in front of the fire, a prayer was first said before beads were then cast into the fire and another prayer of thanks given. First the monks, in order of seniority, presented their beads and prayers to the fire, followed by identically suited men, and finally members of the public gave their own prayers.
Week 5 in the studio. I am laying out my golden bower. Most of it will be packed or discarded in preparation for my installation in the space in 3 weeks. I have felt like nothing has been achieved, so this gives me a sense of volume at the very least. Work on the spacesuit in the foreground marches on but I am not optimistic it will be finished for the open studio. I have been waiting for Yodobashi to deliver my 200 metres of hemp rope in preparation for my installation.
A beautiful exhibition installed in the Japanese style Meirin room at the Kyoto Art Center by artist Sachiko Kawakami. An installation using acrylic sheets to create a sense of depth to a network of pigment lines. In the side room, a table displays similar hand drawn work on paper. Kawakami san also included a light installation in the Salon room of the art center, where a series of grids were created outlining the tatami mats on the floor with glow-in-the-dark tape.
Date and time
[Salon] November 26 (water) -30 (Sunday)
[Japanese-style “Meirin”] November 26 (water) -12 May 7 (Sunday)
* both venue with the last day until 17:00
Venue Kyoto Art Center hall, Japanese-style “Meirin”Artist Talk Sachiko Kawakami is exhibiting artists of this exhibition, will talk about the work and exhibitions.
[Date] November 29 (Sat) 16:00
[venue] Japanese-style “Meirin”
[Moderator] Sato one decimal (Kyoto Seika University Lecturer)
[fee] Free (Pre-registration required)
Another treat. This performance, put on by the Japan Foundation in Kyoto, was of Noh and Kyogen theatre. Normally accompanying each other in what I have been told can be marathon performances. This particular performance was a modest 1 1/2 hours. Specifically aimed at non-Japanese speakers, the performance is accompanied by a full english translation in the theatre notes. The sounds of the Noh musicians and accompanists is certainly like a sound I have never heard. And the Kyogen is almost slapstick in its amplification of some Japanese protocols and hierarchies.
The Japan Foundation Kyoto Office will organize “An Evening of Noh and Kyogen” to provide foreigners such as students and researchers from around the world with an opportunity to experience Japanese traditional culture.
Following a dream which the retired Emperor Ichijo has had, an envoy is sent to the swordsmith Kokaji Munechika to order him to make a blade for the Emperor. As Munechika has no skilled assistant to help him in this, he goes to his shrine and prays there to the god Inari. A child then comes to him and gives an account of famous swords in China and Japan. Though refusing to tell Munechika who he is, he promises him all the help he needs to make a sword worthy of the Emperor, and then vanishes from sight. The swordsmith then prepares for the ceremonial forging of the blade, and after he has offered up prayers, the god Inari himself descends and helps him in the work. The sword thus miraculously made is presented to the envoy and the god returns to his shrine.
<From A GUIDE TO NŌ 5th ed. by P. G. O’neill, Hinoki Shoten,1954>
Kyogen: BUNZO (The Tricky Memory Trick)
Taro Kaja took off work for a few days without his Master’s permission and went to the capital. …… When the Master hears where Taro Kaja has been and that while there he visited the Master’s uncle, he says he will forgive Taro Kaja if he tells him about the trip and especially about what the uncle gave him to eat, since the uncle is famous for serving very delicious and unusual foods. Taro Kaja says he did indeed eat something that was very unusual and very delicious, but he can’t recall what it was called. …… The Master names all the foods he can think of …… , but nothing rings any bells with Taro Kaja.
Taro Kaja always has a hard time remembering things, so the Master had instructed him to use the memory trick of relating things. Taro Kaja says that he remembers that the name of the food is in the chanted narrative (katari) the Master likes to recite about the battle at Ishibashi Mountain. The Master agrees to recite it ……. Taro Kaja finally stops him …… when he hears the word Bunzo, the name of a warrior. The Master …… suddenly realizes that Taro Kaja has even used a mistaken memory trick. The Master asks him if it was unzo gayu (a lukewarm tasteless soup eaten by Zen priests for breakfast) and Taro Kaja exclaims, Yes, that’s it.”The Master scolds him for putting him to so much trouble to recall something so disagreeable.
<From A GUIDE TO KYOGEN by Don Kenny, Hinoki Shoten, 1968>