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Takamatsu, a city of art facing a jewel of the world: the Seto


Art Setouchi in Megijima 2

2010.08.16 by Cathy Hirano
Art Site Logistics and Info
If you want to see all the art sites on Megijima, it will take about half a day, allowing time for resting and eating. Seven of the sites are within 1 to 5 minutes walk from the port. Two are at the top of the hill by the cave (10-minute bus ride up, 45 minutes at the top, 10-minute bus ride back). I went on the 10:00 ferry and returned on the 13:00 but had to go very slowly due to the heat ? 35oC. Thank goodness the video art exhibits in Fukutake House are air-conditioned! At that pace, I only managed to see 5 out of 9 sites. During August and September, which can be very hot, it's probably wiser to take the 8:00 AM ferry and do most of your wandering before it heats up. Then have a picnic under the pines along the beach or eat at a restaurant (see previous post). Alternatively, you could either take the 15:10 ferry from Takamatsu or go to Ogijima first and stop by Megijima in the late afternoon to visit the sites that close at 17:00 and then check out those sites that remain open until 20:30. There are photos and brief explanations of each work at the art festival's official site:
http://setouchi-artfest.jp/en/artworks/island/venue-megijima/. Below I've added some extra information concerning 3 sites.

Site #38 Leandro Erlich (Argentina)
The Presence of Absence

Erlich renovated an old 2-story building to create two installations, the Twofold Teahouse and a Zen-like rock garden called Invisible. Both play interesting tricks with perception. The works were inspired by the building itself, in which the artist felt the presence and history of the many generations that once lived there. Hence the overall title, The Presence of Absence. The building also houses a small library space and a restaurant/cafe (IARA). It was not air conditioned when I went. Though it does have some breeze, in summer it's nicer to view the two artworks before the restaurant opens (at 11:00) and then stay on for lunch or refreshment before it heats up. After that, visit the nearby Fukutake House, which houses solo exhibits by a variety of artists and has several airconditioned exhibits that provide a refuge from the heat. Or go jump in the sea!
Hours: 9:00-20:30 (Restaurant: 11:00-20:30)

The Presence of Absence

Site #39 Harumi Yukutake (Japan)

I visited this site while it was under construction and it really was painstaking work. The artist spent about 4 months on the island, hand-shaping over 10,000 rectangular strips of mirrored glass and stringing them from the ceiling of a 2-story storehouse to make a glass tube. You can walk right in and enjoy the reflections and the light shimmering in the breeze (there's a fan in the ceiling). Entering through a second door you can also view the work from behind and above. The building was in a state of partial decay and Yukutake chose to display the craftsmanship of the original builders by reinforcing the exposed beams and latticework with transparent material. I'd like to try viewing it at different times of day because the effect will change with the light.
Hours: 9:00-20:30

Site #36 MEGI HOUSE by Art Project Team, Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music
This is another site I visited while it was still in process and I was very impressed with the result this time around. The team of university students and professors has successfully transformed a traditional old house and high stonewall into a stage, reusing secondhand materials such as copper plates, discarded beams and even what looks like the top of a rice winnower to make a window slit. They started in April 2009 and plan to continue working on this site and presenting art and concerts here for the next 10 years. Concerts and workshops will be held frequently during Art Setouchi (see below).
Hours: 9:00 ? 20:30

MEGI HOUSE Events: Details are posted on http://setouchi-artfest.jp/en/events/ (scroll down to Art Project Team). To this, I've added extra info below from the project's Japanese website. Tickets can be bought at the Takamatsu Port General Information Center or at the Megijima ferry terminal building ? Oni no Yakata.

Oni no Yakata

Mini-obon concert: Aug. 13 (Fri.). Featuring the islanders and university students with a local musician who graduated from this university. Looks like it's free but only open to non-participants if there is extra room. The Takamatsu Summer Festival Fireworks display starts after the concert. According to a Megijima resident, it's worth going on this day just to see the fireworks anyway. The last ferry leaves at 21:00 after the display.

The Sound of Tactics: Aug. 22 (Sun.) A collaborative workshop with students of music and art from the graduate program. Time not decided yet. No fee listed.

Yorokobi no Shima (Island of Joy): Aug. 28 (Sat.) Pianist and associate professor Jun Kitazumi performs Debussy, Hayashi Hikaru, and Bartok. Capacity: 40. Doors open 18:00, Starts 18:30. Ends about 20:00. Admission: JPY 1,500; with art passport only JPY 1,000.

Percussive Earth: Sept. 23 (Thurs.) Percussion performance. Capacity: 70. Doors open 16:45. Starts 17:15. Ends about 18:45. Admission: JPY 2,000; with art passport JPY 1,500.

MatsuRHYTHM: Sept. 26 (Sun.) Participatory percussion performance using instruments made from bamboo from Megijima. Performers, including islanders and visitors, will perform as they walk through the streets. Instrument making workshop and practice on Sept. 25. No fee listed. Will be changed to Oct. 2 and 3 in event of rain.

MEGI (Music and Electrically Generated Information): Oct. 10 (Sun.) Computer generated music and digital art, live performance. Doors open 18:00. Starts 18:30. Ends about 20:00. In case of rain, will be held the following day. Admission: JPY 2,000; with art passport JPY 1,500.

Umi no Fanfare (Sea Fanfare): Oct. 31 (Sun.) Brass band concerts in several outdoor locations, including Megijima port. Special fanfare composed for the event. Starts 13:00 (Ending time undecided). Will be held in Megijima school gymnasium in event of rain (capacity 200). No fee listed.

This blog's writer

Cathy Hirano

I've lived in Japan since 1978. After graduating from a Japanese university with a BA in cultural anthropology in 1983, I worked as a translator in a Japanese consulting engineering firm in Tokyo for several years. My Japanese husband and I moved to Takamatsu in 1987 to raise our two children in a slower-paced environment away from the big city pressures. We've never regretted it. I work as a freelance translator and interpreter and am involved in a lot of community work, including volunteering for Second Hand, a local NGO that supports educational and vocational training initiatives in Cambodia, and for the Takamatsu International Association. I love living in Takamatsu.

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