Field Trip Project at the Echigo Tsumari Triennale

Field Trip Project at the Echigo Tsumari Triennale
The Yuuki Flower (first on the left) and other backpacks from the Field Trip Project at the Echigo Tsumari Triennale, Iwama Satoshi’s area, Japan.

The Field Trip Project was installed in the Echigo-Tsumari Triennial 2012 on 26 August. This is the largest international art exhibition in the world and this year it runs from 29 July to 18 September 2012.

Here are a couple of photos of art with a view!


Landscape of farm fields and forest.
Satoyama landscape of paddy field and cryptomeria and chamaecyparis obtusa forest in Sasayama, Hyōgo. Photo by Akiyoshi’s Room.

The Echigo-Tsumari Triennial is displayed in nature, and the term “satoyama” is peppered in the copy describing the endeavour. Definition of satoyama from Wikipedia:

Satoyama is a Japanese term applied to the border zone or area between mountain foothills and arable flat land.

More recently, satoyama has been defined not only as mixed community forests, but also as entire landscapes that are used for agriculture. According to this definition, satoyama contains a mosaic of mixed forests, rice paddy fields, dry rice fields, grasslands, streams, ponds, and reservoirs for irrigation. Farmers use the grasslands to feed horses and cattle. Streams, ponds, and reservoirs play an important role in adjusting water levels of paddy fields and farming fish as a food source.

Daisuke Takeya and friends stand with artwork under trees with a view of a valley behind them.
Daisuke Takeya and friends holding art from the Field Trip Project on a ridge in the Iwama Satoshi’s area.

seikô udoku; kakô tôdoku
[In summer, cultivate the fields; in winter, cultivate the mind.]

From the triennial website About page:

Echigo-Tsumari is known for heavy snowfall in winter. This motivates cultural exchanges based upon the principle captured by the Japanese expression “seikô udoku; kakô tôdoku”, which can be rendered in English as “In summer, cultivate the fields; in winter, cultivate the mind.” Cultural facilities, created by global artists and run by local people, warmly welcome visitors and travellers. In viewing the artworks, the visitor passes through terraced rice fields and forests of native beech, encountering festivals and traditional customs, thereby experiencing the landscapes and cultures of Echigo-Tsumari through all five senses. Through this experience, we recover the memories of an origin that we had forgotten, and develop new links connecting people to each other and to the land.

Artworks are dotted across approximately 200 villages rather than displayed in a single center, an “absolutely inefficient” approach deliberately at odds with the rationalization and efficiency of modern society. Wandering among artworks which emphasise the beauty and richness of satoyama and reveal the accumulated temporal layers of human inhabitation opens the senses to the wonder of existence and revives the soul.

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