What if the world were flat, I could walk across continents to stand beside you. What if it ended and then started again, suddenly, and you and I had to build the city together? What would it look like? What if it were a new island, and we could start from scratch, what would it be? Who would live here? What would they grow: people, animals, plants or buildings?
Next week I am going to Japan. The first 4 days I will be in Osaka, where I hope to meet artists and present the idea of Indefinable City II (IC II)an exhibition due to take place at AirSpace Gallery in 2014. Indefinable City (the first exhibition) took place at AirSpace Gallery (when we were in the old falcon works factory) in 2007. There is a write up of the exhibition and a video here. It seems right that I go to Japan for IC II as much of my thinking for the first show was informed by my time in Japan. The city seems a very different place to me today (compared to 5 years ago) the optimism and (utopian?) vision presented by regen companies operating here back then (which I was suspicious of at the time) have proven to be somewhat false gods: and investments were made often in the wrong places. Glaringly obvious truths seem apparent now that investment in grassroots development were opportunities missed, what if we could go back and do it all again?
Well, we can't so: Indefinable City II aims to look at the good work being done at a grass roots level: and in many ways talks about survival against the odds of grassroots activity. The question is particularly urgent for a country like Japan: where city's are even more precarious with recent natural catastrophe forcing a rethink in terms of energy provision and questions around Nuclear Power.
I am really pleased to have a been invited to Tsukiyo to Syonen (gallery in Osaka) to meet Koh Yoshida to discuss the exhibition, and also what they do and meet some of the artists they work with. One of their projects looks at reforestation: and I am keen to think about ideas relating to forestation in cities (and on a slightly smaller scale urban gardening - something we have been interested in at AirSpace for some time.)
After my days in Osaka I am heading to the mountain forest area in Nara - to Headspace for a 2 week artist residency. Kayamori house is a beautiful artist's retreat, and I am going there to create a 'How To Retreat' kit to be left for future artists' use when retreating at Headspace.
It is only a week until I set off: very exciting. I plan to keep a blog while there, so watch this space.