Kinza | Naoshima

Kinza is the former name of the abandoned house turned Art House Project on Naoshima Island where it now houses the artwork Being given by Japanese artist Rei NAITO. This was perhaps the standout work for me of the experiences I had on Naoshima. Visitors to the artwork must make a prior booking as the experience is scheduled, one person at a time. The Kinza building, like many of the Art Houses in the Benesse Art Sites, seems unassuming from the outside, a normal village house. Inside however, the space has been returned to the earth, the floor reconnecting with the soil beneath the house. The only light entering the space is from the under the outside walls and from the interior, it gives the whole structure a feeling of levitation. Within lies a large round ring, also raised from the ground. The whole space gradually reveals small details laid out in some form of geomantic logic. Small transparent spheres and rings, a staff rigidly perpendicular to the ground, tiny details whose presence is highlighted by the bleeding light outside, and only revealed through time, through contemplation. Above, between two of the wooden beams supporting the ceiling, a large glass cylinder floats — mystically like depictions of The Ascension. The space is at once meditative in solitude and wonder, and also with connection to the outside world through light and sound, the street noise bleeds in as does the light, in a subdued way that is part of the space, part of what is being given.

There are rarely moments with an artwork that remain with you, that remain connected, somehow unresolved yet mystical and reaffirming. Kinza has tunneled a place of nostalgia in my memory, its ambiguity and comfort make it an unforgettable moment.

Rei Naito"Being given", 2001 Art House Project "Kinza"

Rei Naito"Being given”, 2001 Art House Project “Kinza” 

Podcast | Invisibilia

A podcast series on the immaterial forces affecting people.

The first installment is challenging and a heavy trigger warning for those sensitive to discussions of violent acts. The episode discusses two case studies on the theme of thoughts and their significance. The first looks at OCD thought behaviours and recurring violent images that began for one man. The second involves the story of Martin Pistorius who, at the age of 12 was diagnosed with an unknown degenerative illness leaving him conscious but immobile and unable to communicate. Under care for many years and silent to those around him, Martin began to slowly communicate that he was indeed awake to the world.

NPR: Invisibilia Podcast

Invisibilia (Latin for all the invisible things) is about the invisible forces that control human behavior – ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions. Co-hosted by Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel, Invisibilia interweaves narrative storytelling with scientific research that will ultimately make you see your own life differently.

via NPR: Invisibilia Podcast : NPR Podcasts.

Air Samples | Consecrated Spaces

Part of my research in Japan has been to capture and map space, namely conceptualising air. Air as a material but also as a metaphor for something immaterial; energy or spirit. Japanese Shinto conceptualises many forms of the ‘unseen’ through Kami (神). I read Kami as an energetic and immaterial force and it seems broad enough to incorporate ancestor worship, nature spirits, animism and even aspects of Buddhism. Ritual processes often materialise concepts of the invisible by connecting them to our bodies and senses.

Air Renders | 3D Mapping

Progressing towards more experimentation with mapping air, I have been testing the 3D scanner on some of these inflated and suspended objects. Ideally the object to be scanned should not be highly reflective or translucent. The golden ‘space blanket’ fails on both counts but the results were still useable. The initial scanning results, with a bit of mesh patching, can be seen below. The 3D model below is of the pictured object. The image is work in progress of an installation for an Open Studio to the public. The installation included a projection of the rendered 3D model taken from the interior golden object. The video can be seen below.


The video below is a rendering of the above scanned object. Referencing the ‘dry landscape’ gardens (karesansui 枯山水) found in many zen Buddhist temples throughout Japan. This was projected onto the windows of my second story studio space, and best viewed from the building’s exterior.
At the time this work was being produced, the spaceprobe Rosetta was making a rendezvous with the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P) and along with its lander module Philae, was producing mapped images of the surface of the comet. These images of the comet, along with the stone garden at Ryōan-ji, Kyoto, work as inspiration for the work.

An Evening of Noh and Kyogen | The Japan Foundation

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.

via The Japan Foundation – An Evening of Noh and Kyogen.




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>