postcards, website, audio recordings |2014/2015|
PARADISE AIR, Artist-in-Residence program in Matsudo, Japan
Through the artist-in-residence program I have been exploring urban legends, myths in the surroundings of Matsudo. Discovering different (utopian and dystopian) visions, scenarios, fantasies, I have been collecting photographies of people and landscapes to expose them as a series of postcards (summary of the project) and an audio guide based on local people’s stories. Through the workshops, think thanks and local trips project related to the temporal and spatial being in a certain space.
Maps are not longer the territory. Their coexist with people telling their stories. Workshops with local community helped me to understand a “sentimental landscape” of the “bedroom” town. I was collecting pictures of storytellers and landscapes shown by them. Everything has been recorded in a form of interview or a conversation. By documenting those moments I have created the final work: a combination of photography and sound: audiovisual memory based on personal souvenirs from Matsudo (postcard pictures present locals and their locations; During the residency some of them were send out to the different countries with greetings from Japan; the rest were given to the local community as a gift so that they can send them out in the world whenever they want to). It was also proposed to the Mayer of Matsudo to become an official souvenir form the city.
Two months in the future.
Everything seems to be covered in vending machines, minimal calendars and singing toilets. Spring starts in February, Fuji mountain is not a mountain. The words are bouncing off my head. The initial sense of disorientation flourished into something I dare to call: a pure curiosity.
Matsudo – that was the destination. A city located eight hours ahead of Wroclaw, my place of birth, and 17 hours ahead of Los Angeles, my last lost habitat. The day happened to be gone already by my arrival, and at that same time, I found myself HERE – in future.
Matsudo city is well known as a bedroom community for nearby Tokyo, but for me, it immediately became a communal living room more than just a bedroom. My in-dwelling presence became a constant socialization process. I had spent a substantial portion of my art in residency time not only interviewing people but also interweaving with them in their surroundings. Together we were combing truth and fictions, underpinning and sustaining things that matter. A pinch of cultural adjustment mixed with sake and discussions beyond the language changed my perception of this place greatly. It was not only a matter of timing and trimming but also a matter of the welcoming Japanese hospitality while listening to all of the stories form World War II, from childhood, from now and then as well as from the future.
Quickly, I have learned that some people visit Disneyland every week, a leek is a symbol for the city, although it may be replaced by the white pumpkin, there’s a female astronaut who took the seeds of this vegetable into outer space. I also have learned that there is a Jurassic park in Matsudo as well as velodrome and a horse racing track. I found Krecik and Thomas Edison living together in a tiny space by the fish market, I heard the ghost of willow in the curry shop, wind symphony in Tojo, the former residence of KOKUGAWA Akitake, brother of the last Shogun. I listened to the Yagiri No Watashi, while watching exotic fishes somewhere by the old Mito Kaido route.
All the desires, dreams, plans and gossip have melted into one experience of mapping the memory of this particular place. I called it MadMaps, or maps of relationships. That’s how the frame of the geo-biographical project has been marked. The plan was to find myself in the gap, an interplay of senses, that usually helps to look at people as the beating heart of the city. I believe that the urban landscape doesn’t exist without the community, which is the force creating history. Every place is being wrapped up in amusing stories, the thing is that sometimes, in order to hear them, you have to enter hazardous areas of “nostalgic landscapes”. And that is how Matsudo stopped being just the territory and become a socio-temporal terrain of exploration.