Why can’t we go outside of Somerset? – People still don’t know the power of cider.
January, 2023, Somerset, UK
Work shop, Label creation, Field study
This research is a collaborative project with other artists and a fieldwork workshop in Taunton in the Somerset region of South West England. We stayed at a private residence and investigated the surrounding area. Somerset is historically an apple cider producing region, and we toured an apple farm and cider factory. At the cider factory, we received a lecture from a local guide about the history of apple cider and the cider production process, and we sampled several ciders. It was an interesting fact that even though the ciders are made from the same apple, they differ in taste and bitterness depending on the production process. It was also noteworthy that compared to other alcoholic drinks such as beer, wine and whisky, it was sold cheaply to youth and the working class and was not widely exported or consumed outside the UK. In any case, since apple cider is always served in pubs, which are part of British culture, apple cider is thought to have had a major influence on British culture.
Based on my research in Taunton, I launched a project to design a fictional cider brand as a work of art. The background and purpose of this practice is not to simply create a new and novel cider brand, but to create this documentary based on an ‘imaginary cider culture’ in which cider is also available at high-end restaurants.
Interestingly, in Japan, which is also one of my home countries, ‘cider’ does not refer to cider, but to carbonated drinks with sugar. These drinks are widely loved by the public (e.g. the fact that Japan’s carbonated drink ‘Ramune’ is also considered a type of cider in Japan) and also has a considerable influence on my creative ideas.
Trace of Leonardo da Vinci - Here is Florence 2023
April, 2023, Milan/Florence, Itary
Narrative, Thought, Drawings
In April 2023, she received the International Prize Leonardo da Vinci at the National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci in Italy and travelled to Milan to attend the award ceremony. Upon her visit to Milan and receiving the International Da Vinci Prize, she began a small study and field trip about Milan and Leonardo da Vinci. She visited the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where she admired a mural of Da Vinci’s The Last Supper. The mural was bigger than she had imagined, and she was able to see it up close. She was more impressed by the fact that when the church was bombed, the walls on the sides were damaged enough to penetrate, but the mural of The Last Supper remained intact.
There are still many mysteries surrounding Da Vinci, but it is generally said that he was a person who excelled in science, anatomy, art, and various other fields of research, and was primarily active and researching in Milan and Florence. He is also said to have spent his later years in the Vatican and France. Due to the historical background of the time, most of his artistic works were religious paintings, but also he generated numerous drawings from scientific perspective. She began a workshop to digital analysis Da Vinci's religious murals and reproduce them as her own works. These scientific analyzes and personal studies became part of her new art works.
After Milan, she visited Florence. Her main purpose was to research and appreciate masterpieces such as Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Their paintings are representative masters of Renaissance art, and most of the works housed in the Uffizi Gallery are well-known, but what she was interested in was the people waiting in line to see the masterpieces. It looked exactly like a popular theme park, and she also noticed the artists who were doing the ‘souvenir business’ such as doing portraits around it.
Tired of the long lines, she ordered gelato and coffee at a downtown cafe and took a break. The city where da Vinci was once active has transformed into a popular theme park with queues everywhere, and the business of selling souvenirs and delicious gelato to ‘customers’ was reflected in the current situation in ‘Florence’ and she felt that the city was not bad at all.
Internet Irony - True Boutiques and False Art Galleries in New York
August, 2023, New York
Digital and Actual Experience, Photographic documentation
As part of the clothing project that she started in 2020, she visited New York to discuss a project with a local boutique shop. The first place she visited was a boutique district in the West Lower Manhattan. After having a meeting there, and being very satisfied with the environment and conditions, she communicated to the project staff that this area was comparable to or better than the photos she had checked of the store from London.
The second visit, after the meeting at the boutique, was to an art gallery with which she had been in regular contact for about three years. In 2020, she participated in the gallery’s online show during the pandemic, and she was very excited about visiting it. The gallery seemed to be located in New York’s huge Chinatown, but then she got close and was confused because the place was cluttered, but she tried to go to the address anyway.
She was shocked when she arrived in front of the gallery. The shutters were closed and there was a sign saying ‘For rent’. When she peeked inside through the gap in the shutter, she saw that there was indeed a space that could be used as a gallery space, but it was in a state of ruin. Furthermore, looking at the surrounding environment, she saw restaurants lined up in disarray, and although she wouldn’t say it was a terrible environment, it looked quite different from the ‘high-end art gallery in New York’ that she had seen in photos on the Internet.
Based on these two experiences, she proposed a work based on the theme of ‘The Trap of the Internet.’ Even if on Google Maps it looks beautiful and looks like a great business, service, or activity, there are cases where nothing actually exists or it is in ruin, and vice versa.
Something like this could also happen in the future when the world of the Metaverse becomes more advanced. For example, even if the Metaverse were to become the mainstream of the community, people would still ‘exist', so some kind of ‘space’ would be needed. However, if the space in the Metaverse is well-visualised, there may be no need to make the actual beautiful ‘space’, and if it were the other way around, a ‘secret garden’ might be born. As the Internet becomes more complete and the world of the Metaverse is established, there may be more incidents like this one where people are confused about the difference between ‘virtual’ and ‘actual’.