Artist in Residence - Youkobo Art Space, Tokyo, September 2018.
Tokyo Wild exhibition installation.
During residency at Youkobo Art Space Tokyo in 2017, I researched ‘The 10 Year project for Green Tokyo’ (Tokyo Metropolitan Government Project); observing many green spaces of this densely populated metropolis. The residency was an opportunity to experience universal desires for healthy urban lifestyle through the lens of another culture.
Plants observed in the ground – street trees, parks, home gardens - are heavily pruned and structured almost like architecture. In contrast, walking neighbourhood streets revealed personalised pot plant collections, gathered on doorsteps and hanging from window grills. To my eye these organic accumulations of green appeared ‘wild’, yet contained without roots in the ground. The expression of individuality and freedom in these mini environments, cobbled from containers of previous use and recycled materials, intrigued me.
As cities around the world grow, adapt to changing climate and aim to increase canopy cover; plants are used to enhance social cohesion and liveability of built environments. During 5 days of open studio I conversed with visitors and asked them to complete a short questionnaire, describing their garden if they had one, or green space they visit, and values they felt plants contribute in their everyday lives. This cultural exchange of our relationship to environment was poignant and personal in response.
I return to Youkobo Art Space, Tokyo for residency and exhibition in September 2018. ‘Tokyo wild’ will feature works on paper developed from conversations, questionnaire quotes and observations in the city. I will also take with me Australian responses to the same questionnaire as a cultural exchange.