Here's what artist Shigeaki Iwai, the creator of "The Field of Nusa," is thinking now.
You can see past columns in the archive.
2006/12/11 ｜ 2007/3/21 ｜ 2007/10/31 ｜ 2008/7/12
“Field of Nusa” Installation and Opening
“Field of Nusa” began its showing. I visited the Tokachi Millennium Forest at the end of June and installed about 7,000 pieces of pure while earthenware objects along with volunteers. More than 5,000 participants created the pieces over two years of time. As informed, the installation is just the first step and the workshops are to be continued. However, reaching the opening period made not only me but also the staff involved feel a sense of accomplishment. I remembered faces of people who have helped me. There were few that were damaged in the process of transportation, but we managed to fix them as much as possible. I’d like to inform you with all the gratitude that we were able to set every piece of objects created as of February this year with a special care. Thank you indeed for your participation. I have been talking about making process and the meaning of the workshop. Now that the “Field of Nusa” has realized, I’d like to talk about visual aspect of the work from the site.
Encompassing the Effect of Mother Nature
*Tokachi Millennium Forest” has several walking routes for visitors. My recommendation is to go through the forest called “Forest Garden.” If you walk toward the west while enjoying the woods, you can hear the lovely sound of the stream that guides you to an open area. If you pass the forest following the guiding posts, you find a grass field sandwiched by two streams. Soon, you will discover a beautifully elevated ground rose by 20 square meters. The gently sloping hill is similar to Ziggrat ruins that transformed the shape over a long period of time. It illustrates how a building, which symbolizes people’s will, becomes debris by the Mother Nature in a positive way. In other words, this work departs away from the idea of artificial vs. natural by its birth and shows how it actively encompasses the effect of Mother Nature. This was the presupposition from the time of project planning. This is why I chose natural materials for all parts of my work, including earthenware, ground and a tree. For example, we put dark grey stone pieces as a base to place earthenware objects on the top of the hill. I deliberately chose not to use synthetic fiber sheets used to cover grass at a construction site. I also made stairways using logs on east and west side of the hill. Though they may stand out at the scene at the moment, they would be covered by greenery and turn to natural steps in a few years.
Coexistence of Microcosm and Macrocosm
If you climb over the slope of the hill, you find a squared horizontal area. I planted a young tree of Quercus crispula. It is a kind of Japanese beech trees. The broad-leaf deciduous tree is essential in the ecosystem of the area. With a long-life span, some of them become quite large. In Tokachi area, you can find about 500-600 year old trees that Japanese may find as worth worshipping. The young tree is expected to become a landmark in this field in the future. We placed the white earthenware objects in circle with the tree being the center. There were about 80 cardboard boxes sent from all over Japan filled with over 7,000 objects including finger-size ones. Because I waned to make a dense circle, I could only cover 30 percent of the prepared field. Yet it is more than what’s shown, considering the fact it brings expectations for the future. You would experience a mesmerizing gap between macrocosm of open space and microcosm of tiny pieces at the site by enjoying the great nature of Hidaka Mountains and meeting the thoughts of individuals curved in the objects.
Oparts=out of place artifacts
The shapes of earthenware are made by participants who responded on my only request at the workshop-“something you would want to leave in 1000 years from now.” There are things that reflect the time such as trendy characters, games, PCs, popular foods, cell phones. There are also burial mound figurines, baskets, tobacco pipes, classic record players, biplanes, dial-type black phones, and the first-type of Walkman (!)-things that may look out of time. With a tricky intention, these objects will appear as a collection of Oparts (out of place artifacts) to the future visitors. At the same time, the scene is also the product of our time where our thoughts are formed visually by ubiquitous media images instead of actual experience. Indeed the thoughts of creators put in each earthenware provide great appeal that overwhelms such superficial appearance.In any case, you can see various kinds of relationships we have between the modern society and our lives…Perhaps, I should stop here. Above are a part of intentions and the concepts of the creators that supported the production. It’s not to limit the free imagination of the visitors. If you have a chance to visit Hokkaido, please also plan to visit Tokachi to enjoy extremely delicious dishes and the Field of Nusa. I can’t be happier if you feel something that comes up between you and the pieces and have a time to think of it thoroughly. I hope that many people would have a chance to participate in the earthenware production workshops that are to be continued. (2008/7/12)