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月別アーカイブ: 1月 2010

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Happy New Year? Niigata

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What’s public sphere for Japanese?

What a coincidence.Two foreigners I’ve recently met at a cafe (one, a gentleman from Pittsburg, another, a lady from Brussels) told me their first impressions on Japan, which was almost similar.

The man told me that Japanese rarely speak to strangers in public. The lady told me that Japanese neither pry nor get too much involved in other’s business (at least) in public. They both feel easy in the atmosphere and see these characteristics as one of the best virtues of Japanese society.

 

However, their viewpoint split eventually, which was interesting to me. The Belgian lady also told me that people tend to separate public and private so separately that they are too independent of each other. While the American man told me that strangers tend to be often too talkative to him, which made him uneasy when he was in the US.

I guess what they mean “public sphere” in their context is different from those in the Western sense. However, the question remains what is public spheres for Japanese, now that I am unaware of these as virtues in my daily life. I see people separate their public and private selves]. Do we try so hard not to shame anyone in public so that we keep good ties in the community we belong to? Otherwise are we only reluctant to be isolated from our community?

 

I would like to return to this sort of comparison from time to time. This is indeed too big a question to discuss in this short blog, but too important to stop thinking in depth.

An International Curator, Yuko Hasegawa

Yuko Hasegawa, known as one of the most creative and international curator in Japan, visited Kyoto University as an almuna to hold an open lecture for the public.
 
Here is a brief summary of her lecture:
 
Hasegawa graduated from the Faculty of Law, Kyoto University, while she kept deep interest in art. She earned her MA in Geidai, Tokyo. As a curator, she acts as "a critic for art and society in practice." Her basic concept seems to integrate art and life; historically, traditional fine arts have been placed as something superior to people’s daily life and restored in dark, quiet rooms, while she displays them as open to public and familiar to the audience. She strictly turns down the arrogance of enlightement.
 
She should be famous for launching and producing the 21st Century Art Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa.
 
The City Hall asked her to revitalize the center of Kanazawa city which faced donuts phenomena and urban sprawl and to stimulate the creativity of traditional craftpeople, Professionals of the working group were astonished at her idea, but she eventually outperformed the city’s expectation and succeeded in reviving the city. Here people can just pass through the public space as if it was a park. Actually people generously pay for
the exhibition and hope for unexpected encounter, since they never get fed up with the pieces but just run into something new every time.
 
# Concerning the first concept of contemporary art display, you may refer to:
 
Hasegawa currently serves as the chief curator of MoT (Museum of comtemporary art, Tokyo) since 2006.
 
Her lecture implies a lot to performing art as well as fine art: in terms of display, artists should take seriously how to get the audience engaged in their performance; participation, workshop, or things like that.
 
 
Next to 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art lies Ken-roku-en, one of the most established traditional Japanese gardens in Japan.
 
(September 2002 in Kanazawa)