Tokyo edition of I, CULTURE PUZZLE ran in cooperation with the Intermedia Art Department at the Tokyo University of the Arts...
Tokyo, 08.10.2011 -10.10.2011
I, CULTURE PUZZLE Contemporary Craft Workshop is an interactive sewing project animated by Polish artist and fashion designer Monika Jakubiak, carried out by 260 volunteers in 12 capitals (Warsaw, Berlin, Brussels, Kyiv, London, Madrid, Minsk, Moscow, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo and Copenhagen). During the six months from July to December 2011, each capital creates a different segment of the phrase "I, CULTURE", sewn up of colourful pieces of fabric on a black background. In the end, all squares created in this way will make up the final puzzle, an extraordinary patchwork rich with human stories, forming the words "I, CULTURE" - the slogan the International Cultural Programme of the Polish EU Presidency. Each piece is photographed and uploaded to the online puzzle available to view via the website www.culture.pl.
With the contemporary perspective of the 3/11 trauma, the Tokyo edition of I, CULTURE PUZZLE ran in cooperation with a special initiative of I, CULTURE in Japan, established by Prof. Kazue Kobata, head of Intermedia Art Department at the I Tokyo University of the Arts, and her doctorate students.
Similiarly to other cities which take part in the project, the main part of I, CULTURE in Tokyo was a workshop in contemporary crafts, conducted by Monika Jakubiak between the 8th and 10th of October. The last day was open to the public. The event took place at the ART SPACE 1&2 gallery, located at the university campus in the Ueno district of Tokyo.
With activities prior to the workshops with Jakubiak and projects that will also follow after the event, I, CULTURE in Tokyo transcends the initial framework of the project. Prof. Kazue Kobata involved her doctorate students in creating installations which visualised their thoughts and reflections brought up by the I, CULTURE theme. In her meetings with students a wider meaning was given to the relation between "I" and "culture". Currently in Japan, when most people are still struggling with the effects of the tsunami, whether material or psychological, the topic of the disaster is continuously present in every area of life. Faced with such a huge tragedy, yet another lesson on the fragility of man faced with nature, as well as the psychological effects of the tsunami, the artists feel obliged to take a stand in the discussion on the role of an artist during such distress. Other questions pertinent to the discussion include: what kind of help can an artist provide? who should be the audience of the artwork? Is this work of any significance? if yes - what value does it represent?
Prior to the project conducted by Monika Jakubiak, a former student of Prof. Kazue Kobata, Yoshinari Nishio had held a series of workshops between the 17th and 23rd of August. The dream of the
I, CULTURE team in Tokyo is to conduct a part of the project in Sendai, one of the most heavily damaged cities in Japan. This part of the project will take place independently at the beginning of November.
All groups which had taken up the I, CULTURE theme met up on the 10th of October - the final day of workshops ran by Monika Jakubiak, open to the public. Volunteers presented their works, students from the group of Yoshinari Nishio displayed their pieces, and the doctorate students from Prof. Kazue Kobata's group exhibited their installations during the workshop. An example of an installation work were bikes propelled by human muscles, which were used to generate electricity for the sewing machines.
On the 10th of October the groups in Tokyo were also joined by the representatives of groups which had been working outside of Tokyo, in regions heavily affected by the tsunami. Among the participants of the workshops were local craftsmen who have unique skills characteristic of the regions they come from: traditional weaving from strips of old fabrics called saki-ori (from Tōhoku) and the art of hand coloring with lacquer on wooden objects called urushii (from Fukushima).
Tokyo marks the first Asian stop of the I, CULTURE Contemporary Crafts Workshop tour. The project had its previous installments in Warsaw, London, Paris, Madrid, Brussels, Berlin, Kiev, Minsk. After Tokyo, the project will travel to Beijing on the 16th of October. and Moscow
Date: 8th-10th of October, 2011
Venue: ART SPACE 1&2 gallery, Tokyo
Organizers: Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Intermedia Art Department of Tokyo University of the Arts, I, CULTURE in Tokyo Organising Committee
I, CULTURE PUZZLE multidisciplinary artistic workshop is a Flagship Project of the International Cultural Programme of the Polish EU Presidency. For more information on the project, see: I, CULTURE PUZZLE.