Sunday, 2 August 2015

Indefinable Cities → Japan : Day 18

After a few days hiaitus, space made by the withdrawal through impending paternity leave for Daiki Murakami, we headed to the alpine city of Kofu in Yamanashi Prefecture, and South Patagonia Cafe, host for Ayaka Nishi's exhibition "Measuring Memory" - the fifth and final install of the Japanese touring part of Indefinable

Kofu is a city of over 200,000 people, nestled in a valley surrounded on all sides by alpine mountains. It's a sun trap in the
summer, as temperatures stay a steady 36° with humidity around 100%! Not great for human endeavour, but great for the city's prime production - fruit - Kofu is renowned throughout Japan for its soft fruits, and in particular, peaches and grapes, and is the centre of Japanese wine production.

Talking to the proprietors of South Patagonia Cafe - Hideyuki  and Kisato Saito, Kofu is a city that has emptied out recently - much like Stoke-on-trent and other UK cities, the centres are losing out to out-of-town retail parks, leaving the city centre a bit ghostly, in bodies and atmosphere.

South Patagonia Cafe itself, is foremost, an intimate eating place - but Hideyuki and Kisato regularly host small arts events, and small exhibitions. With its display cases, ledges, shelves and tables, it
proved to be an ideal location for Ayaka's quiet archaeological treasures, which once installed, filled almost every available space.

 And so after nearly 3 weeks, 5 cities and many conversations, Indefinable Cities → Japan is fully installed and will run now for another couple of weeks. It's been an interesting, dynamic, and rewarding odyssey - with many new contacts made - and lots to reflect on over the next few weeks. Koh is keen to continue the talking, and looking to expand his learning from the project in to a regular artists' residency and exchange programme, which is a great legacy for the project, as he seeks to continue to broaden the contemporary cultural horizons here in Japan. The only downside for me has been that I haven't had long enough in each site to effectively gauge first-hand audience reaction, but hopefully that will be forthcoming from the venues.

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