Dreaming Tongues
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  • Journeys and observations through a sensitive and tempered landscape

    1_naoshimasento

    直島銭湯「I♥湯」 (Naoshima Sento)Ohtake Shinro / graf, 2009.

    Abstract

    If art, technology and landscape were thought of in the same sentence and the result of this cocktail a relationship between body and landscape, then one by-product would be ‘place’ becoming ‘placeless’. The active agent in all of this would be complexity. Not complexity in a random sense where things come together in a dense and ‘complex’ way but in a coming together or pulling apart that is experienced by a collection of objects and world-views formed from the creation of artwork, architectural intervention and technological convenience.

    Through the following journey from city to island I give a snapshot of the sorts of complex and diverse pieces that work, at times together and at other times apart, to represent a landscape, urban and rural, that continuously reshapes itself through a response to art, commerce, science, politics and much more. The narration is shown in italics throughout.

    Parallel to this is a sequence of work, in its early stages, that pulls together some of these interests and observations where the liquid, the visceral, the actual and the virtual all mediate between two distinct locations – one in England and one in Japan – coming together in a developing photographic sequence.

    At any given moment there are countless thoughts within each and every one of us that intersect, overlap, influence and distort one another. If we think about how we are thinking then we are aware of this process but we are unable to say what is going on and why. Everything that we experience adds to the complexity of our inner sea and to the world that is always in the process of our making. This continuous process of translation, transliteration, transparency and transposition is the energy that compels us to invent and create ‘anew’. Whatever we make shapes our experience of the world which in turn shapes our individual sense and being.’ (Warwicker 2009: 11)

    Introduction

    Sushi, that’s what my ex-wife used to call me … cold fish (Blade Runner, 1982)

    This essay is a preview to a piece of work I am currently making. Its major concern is ecology of art, technology and landscape that are intertwined and interconnected. Told through a trip taken from Tokyo to the southern Japanese island of Naoshima, I begin to describe what this ecology is made up of. I touch on ideas covered by Timothy Morton in Ecology without Nature and The Ecological Thought and retell this journey through an established sequence of viewpoints, some urban and some rural, as I travel from city to sea.

    This visual ecology is framed by my impressions of a place heavily mythologized by such writers as Roland Barthes (Empire of Signs) and film-makers such as Ridley Scott (Blade Runner) not through a direct reference to a familiar culture but by the particular viewpoint cold and at times emotionally sterile. In fact both Barthes and Blade Runner or the novel by Philip K. Dick Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep observe and describe ‘the clinical’ and ‘the sentimental’ through their characters’ view of a world growing in ever-increasing complexity. Barthes describes the culture he dreams of akin to his experience of culinary revelation, a ‘twilight of the raw’. For Blade Runner Rick Deckard, he alludes to the possibility through his own empathic loss that he is not human. As the film slowly reveals, although his origin is conflicted, his emotion is very much a reality.

    These observations are the beginnings of a dematerialized world, a world of ‘cold fish’, of people and objects mixed together and a displaced connection with the world around them. This ecology of art and technology is retold through an industrialized heart of a city – in this case Tokyo – and the mechanisms flowing from within, gradually breaking down and becoming redundant. As places and objects become reoccupied and refashioned they begin to change along with their re-use and abuse as well as their own ‘materialism’.

    I aim to describe this visual ecology as a visual rematerialization framed by impressions of a place and a culture witnessed over a period of ten years, from journeys back and forth, walking through what at times has felt like a film set or a novel of someone else’s making. I see this landscape reframed as animate and inanimate, via the surrealist motif of the doll and the mannequin, the writing of J.G. Ballard, as a result of the industry of the motor car and what I call ‘commuter archaeology’, developed from the photography of American landscapes and Japanese sea and rebuilt and celebrated by bricolage buildings made by Japanese-noise punk artists.

    The photographs of American photographer Todd Hido and the carefully framed coastline of Sugamoto Hiroshi alongside the ‘beached’ works of Ohtake Shinro all borrow from symbols and figures of their own respective local community recasting nets back over native suburban hollow lands, shipyards and seashores.

    At the heart of this is a search to define what I do and why I do it or perhaps more accurately how I respond to such a shifting landscape. As the built landscape is mainly static and unaccommodating my own shifting centre navigates a way through what could be considered the beginning of an ecological framework for transforming the cold and sterile into something altogether hot and reflexive.

    The more ecological awareness we have, the more we experience the uncanny. Any environmentalism that edits this out is incomplete. If there is an inevitable experiential dimension of ecology, there is an inevitable psychological dimension. The psychological dimension includes weird phenomena that warp our psychic space. There is no smooth, flat, immediate ecological experience. It’s all curved. (Morton 2010a: 55)

    (MAP 1 – map_01.jpg)

    Commuter archaeology:fragmented bodies, technology and the spatial brilliance of images

    …a narrative of love and adventure […] focused on space […] as the true territory of love, adventure, art, politics and, not least, the culture industry. (Diederichsen 2010)

    This journey is a trip made from Tokyo to the small island of Naoshima, nestled between the main island of Shikoku and the mainland region of Chugoku. The island itself is home to a privately funded museum. In fact, most of the islands in the Seto Inland Sea form an art archipelago funded by their benefactor the Benesse Corporation, an educational publisher that has its headquarters on the mainland in Okayama City.

    I arrived on a ferry on an overcast Monday morning in April. It was like descending into some huge sinkhole in the earth the bottom of which was festooned with pocketed islands, like drops of oil in water. I had been up the night before and not slept and so was on the verge of falling asleep, that was until I spotted the huge objectile shaped like a pumpkin that proudly sat on the shoreline of a slowly approaching port. The purpose of the trip was part pilgrimage, part escape and part romance. The very existence of such a place; an island devoted to ideas rendered real described as art suggested to me visions of Dr Moreau and a place bereft of morality, resplendent in transfusions and experiments, dedicated to experimentation where the landscape was the spectator and the island the examining table. These visions were to be more accurate than I had imagined and the hybrid began to form the best way of experiencing the mundane and fantastic within the few short days I stayed within the Seto Inland Sea on the island of Naoshima. The circumscribing ocean surrounding the Seto islands produces the effect of a continuously watching and waiting audience presiding over the evolving ontology of these art islands. The effect is disarming and enough to induce paranoia in the heart of anyone lost in a city’s daily swerve and drive. The sudden expanse opens you to a new experience of constant surveillance not from cameras or control booths but from the disappearing horizon, lost in mist and revealed thereafter.

    (MAP 2 – map_02.jpg)

    1. Cigarette machines in conversation

    The journey from city heading south had been a hop, a skip and a jump in the early hours. From Ikebukero we took the subway to Hamamatsucho station where we boarded the monorail to Haneda Airport. The beginning of the week, overcast and grey, few people dared speak to one another. The language of suspended roads and elevated tracks formed clusters of garden space sitting at the feet of vast apartment blocks, some 20 or 30 floors tall.

    Photo: Rush Hour, 2009.

    The journey navigated its way through city plaza and office buildings, the train lurching from left to right as the train moved from station to station. Apartment block and office complex were gradually replaced by low-rise factories and markets bringing in material and goods, fish and meat by truck from the nearby container port. The activity down below happens in such a way that suggests the same patterns form themselves hour after hour, day after day, people and trucks, cars and goods all moving in familiar trajectories over and over again. The most apparent thing was not a frantic movement but a silence found between speeding objects. Cigarette machines and drinks dispensers would sit quietly on every corner lit from within by faint strip neon. At the low light of the morning these small and illuminated objects silently screamed, waiting for the next flurry of people catching a quick smoke between shifts and a gently warmed can of syrupy Boss coffee. Drinks dispensers and cigarette machines sit on street corners by themselves. Removed from the cognitive world their autonomous existence throwing light onto the surrounding streetscape that echoes their emitted chatter.

    Regardless of the fact these machines of convenience are placed on street corners, their parallel with the surrealist motif of the doll or mannequin emerges. They emote, this emotion disturbed only by their function. When inanimate they begin to suggest and provoke something altogether more surreal than simply their contents gradually dispensed. As with the automata of Bellmer’s La Poupee, drinks dispenser and cigarette machine share an ‘animate/inanimate status’ (Taylor 2001) though without the overtly erotic imagination.

    He once rang me from Tokyo, and I could barely hear him above a background babble of Japanese voices. He explained that he was near a bank of cigarette automats with voice-actuated brand selectors. He shouted above the din: ‘It’s midnight, there’s no one here. The machines break down and start each other talking…’ (Ballard 2008: 221)

    Photo: DeLorean, Venus Fort Car Museum.

    As the train whistled further on Tennozu Isle approached, home to two further examples of animate/inanimate experiences: MEGAWEB Toyota City Showcase and Venus Fort. Both caught on the periphery of shipping dockyards, science museums and an Immigration holding facility, the land formed like a massive car park, echoed by the shape of off-duty taxis, chauffeur-less limousines, the countless containers waiting to depart for destinations far and wide. Both Toyota City and Venus Fort exist on a physical edge staring out to sea, with each place echoing the other both looking out to countries like Britain, Germany or America searching for their own twin in the form of another city, a potential automotive paradise of equal measure.

    (MAP 3 – map_03.jpg)

    2. The dream of Venus Fort

    …the excitement of an endlessly self-renewing technology lay at the centre of the Japanese dream. (Ballard 2008: 221)

    MEGAWEB Toyota City Showcase is technically a car showroom, albeit a very large one. At its centre is a circuit for test-driving a vehicle of your choice albeit under the supervision of a diligent computer. For many years my father worked for British Leyland, one of the largest automotive company at that time in the Britain and the UK. He was born in Coventry, a prosperous post-war city propelled towards an inescapable future of automotive excellence. If Coventry was Tokyo, MEGAWEB would have been its very own automotive cathedral, driving in and out of itself on the edge of the city staring out to sea. Although an exaggerated showroom, the place felt alien and detached, looking for something to give it reason beyond being simply a shopping centre or funfair. Is it any wonder that George A. Romero chose a desolate and isolated shopping mall as the place of refuge for the band of refugees fleeing the ensuing zombie onslaught in his film Dawn of the Dead?

    (MAP 4 – map_04.jpg)

    We trickle through an engineered landscape. Shopping arcades and convenience machines romantically quiver as they talk to one another. Venus Fortconcludes its various floors of shopping mall full of sensory deprivation and overloaded sensation with a car museum at the very top, a DeLorean parked centre stage, gull-wing doors firmly extended, sitting in front of an enormous poster of Back to the Future. John Delorean, inventor of the Delorean car, was born in Detroit, Michigan and once lived in the US steel town of Gary, Indiana. He is perhaps an ideal inhabitant of this fluidic landscape.

    A ‘drifting back and forth’ as Araki calls it is maybe the best way to describe this repeated episodic ecology. The ‘dream’ as with Salvador Dali’s 1939 World’s Fair pavilion ‘The Dream of Venus’ describes a spectacle as much as a haunting edifice and erotic emporium of burlesque divers dressed as sea urchins. This ‘spook house’ (Patience 2010) literally brought his painting of the same name to life and used an American nightmare, not dream, to shock and seduce, the irony of which was not lost on the Fair’s corporate sponsorship. The pavilion caused such protest, mostly from other exhibitors, that Dali left the project in disgust; the pavilion was eventually renamed ‘20,000 Legs Under the Sea’.

    …that’s where I learned about life and death and how they’re mixed together. That concept has been burned into me ever since. That’s the core of my Tokyo. A place where life and death exist side by side. You walk down a busy street filled with noise and full of life but then you turn a corner and find a quiet back alley as still as death. That mixture of life and death exists everywhere in Tokyo. I feel drawn to it […] that’s why I don’t ever want to leave Tokyo. It’s the way I live my life. I’ll enter the world of monochrome and experience death […] and then I enter the world of colour and experience life. I drift back and forth between the two. (Arakimentari, 2004.)

    These places – MEGAWEB, Venus Fort – they change, transmogrify. Both placeless. Mall ceilings painted in radiant blue, a sky that would set every half hour. Fitting perhaps then that they both exist on Tennozu Isle, an echo on the edge of containers and shipyards in the Shinagawa district of Tokyo, forever looking outward, towards the ever-expanding horizon, asking themselves what are they and where did they come from.

    It was as the monorail train slowed on approach to Haneda Airport that another famous son of Gary, Indiana began singing over the muffled public address system. As Michael Jackson broke into chorus bidding us farewell, the train doors opened and commuters dispersed as I too left to board my own express flight to nowhere.

    (MAP 5 – map_05.jpg)

    3. Photographs from the edge

    Photo: View from Naoshima towards the main island of Shikoku and the Seto Ohashi Bridge that connects the island with the mainland.

    The plane landed at Takamatsu Airport a little over an hour later, the flurry of new arrivals frantically rushing to get the next available taxi, the next available bus into Takamatsu itself. The journey from airport to island involved a ferry ride and yet more waiting. The weather had cleared but only slightly. Our flight nearly never made it and the threat of an aborted flight was a constant concern as announcement after announcement was made potentially returning us to Tokyo. In the end the bad weather subsided. The next three hours was full of wet weather. Was this the greeting we could expect at our journey’s end? 

    The ferry ride was slow and silent. We drifted from port to sea, gliding over smooth water. The passenger lounge was virtually empty. A single plasma screen at the front played local television. Faint edges of land appeared out from under the fog and mist only to disappear again and then the pitch of the engine changed as if to almost stall and the ferry slowly turned and Naoshima presented itself. As we got closer, the port gestured, with a yellow pumpkin sitting at the port’s tip like some kind of throbbing lighthouse steering us to shore.

    The end of the journey was only really referred to the next morning. We arrived that late afternoon/early evening. The next morning the fog and mist had cleared giving us uninterrupted views of the sea and the other islands that surrounded ours. The previous day had been something of a Todd Hido photograph, the outline of buildings only hinted at by the faint light flickering within.

    This got me thinking; everything I noticed was somehow embroiled in a type of placelessness. Was this simply a case of talking about things with no content or discernible centre or was it more waiting to discover the content through the act of looking and not the act of acting? Bellmer’s dolls were lifeless, hung over doors and from tree trunks yet seemingly full of life. It is fair to say there is more to simply seeing his automata as being either inert or excited. Hido’s photographs are visual spaces of unravelling where things are expected to happen but very rarely do. Bellmer’s dolls are part of this larger stage set, a recombination of the familiar, the body, or perhaps Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending Staircase perhaps. As Timothy Morton puts it, they are truly strange strangers.

    There is indeed an environment, yet when we examine it, we find it is made of strange strangers. Our awareness of them isn’t always euphoric or charming or benevolent. Environmental awareness might have something intrinsically uncanny about it, as if we were seeing something we shouldn’t be seeing, as if we realised we were caught in something. (Morton 2010: 57-58)

    The lack of place is not a comment on a lack of complexity but for me the very opposite. Morton describes how all things are seemingly interconnected and ‘massively complex’, a collective of phenomena: climate, things that transcend our own time scale and a lack of location. Hido’s photographs may begin to suggest these three phenomena through their ‘interconnectedness’ a term Morton uses to collect these phenomena that if applied to Hido, maps a world-view through places, their reflexivity to time and inhabitation and their eventual spectral observation.

    Hido’s photography makes me think the way you see something can be as incredibly constructed, as it can be natural or common in place. The senses are broken down to nothing more than moot points in a conversation. He builds a photobook, for example, around one photo. This sets a framework. He is waiting for things to unravel that never do, being on the outside looking in. Being on Naoshima now feels like looking in a Todd Hido photograph, incessantly watching the water whilst trying to understand how deep the cloud that hovers overhead is.

    (MAP 6 – map_06.jpg)

    4. Shipyards and automats

    Walking from my room towards the beach looking out to sea the flotsam and jetsam of a distant ship washed ashore. Driftwood and odd containers; an old drawer and a balloon bounced over the breaking waves and past me towards the dunes and then who-knows-where. 

    The continuous shoreline broke as the outline of an upturned hull draws into the sand and sea grass. These pieces by artist Ohtake Shinro – Shipyard Works 1990 – appeared in fuller form the closer I got. Fragmented into scattered sections they appeared washed up and abandoned. The boat’s hull inverted and cut into by hundreds of holes presenting the boat more like a totem to the sky or more specifically the stars. Each piece of boat strewn across the beach had become one of Ballard’s ‘automats’ each silently whispering to one another as the tide lapped the fibreglass half-buried in the sand.

    Another work, Dreaming Tongue/Bokkon Nozoki or Haisha, reminds me of Anselm Keifer’s boat paintings – inspired in part by futurist poet Velimir Chlebnikov – a boat hung from the wall of one room surrounded by photos encapsulated in resin on the surrounding floor. An external downpipe fashioned into a periscope protrudes from another painting to spy an image of a tree caught within the framed architecture of a neighbouring house. Concave spaces formed from space-black boat hulls recessed into the outer wall appear disturbed and hysterical at the same time. A ‘Statue of Liberty’ stands at the rear of the house, not outside but contained within, her torch lit red and pointing out to sea maybe as some sort of mythical beacon.

    (MAP 7 – map_07.jpg)

    The journey ended at the foot of Ohtake’s Haisha, his dreaming tongue. Ohtake reminds himself of the dream he recalls of remnants of tastes and aromas, his tongue the creative detective piecing together these fragments not for the sake of truth within but for the collaged scrapbook they generate both within his mouth and the built structure. The building, once a dentist’s home and office has become de-plagued and filled, the shadow of its past occupant now licking the floors and walls drenched in ceramic, timber, steel and neon.

    Haisha shares an affinity with feelings of immediacy and a sense of scale. Uncompromising in its content, it sits proud of its accomplishment of nestling silently and violently into the landscape. Its curiosity with other surrounding buildings and their curiosity with it subside, similar and alien both at the same time.

    Like much I noticed as I left the landscape seemed to truly reject an architectural objectivity in favour of speculative viewpoints and total subjectivity. Any ‘architecture as reportage’ (factual and true, where vernacular dictates and classical ways of looking back onto a landscape, fetishized and industrial) was made redundant by a simple expression of form and function, incapable of responding to the mode of the inert and inanimate spaces seen from the monorail in Shinagawa and beyond.

    Perhaps Haisha just like Dali’s The Dream of Venus or even Venus Fort uses a brand of nightmare neither nostalgic nor futuristic but immediate. Much of my relationship with the built environment has been with its representation, either as photograph or as sculpture. The stories of industries that shape both my own country but also the landscape Ballard occupies, that of the motor car merged with soft technology such as the body, have in their own part been responsible not only for shaping the land’s character but also forming in it’s wake a characterless landscape; a void. It is maybe fitting that as Ballard dreamed across phone lines with friends in Tokyo, the featureless space created by the maudlin Mecca such of MEGAWEB Toyota City Showcase and Venus Fort becomes a new character-rich place, afforded the opportunities of dreams and un-classical views afresh, unframed by the classical technology and explicit vantage points of the Zen Buddhist garden or geometries of the modern equivalent embedded within a Le Corbusian Unité for living.

    Some sort of psychological repression dominates this individual – whose face is as ugly as his conceptions of the world – such that he wants to squash people under ignoble masses of reinforced concrete, a noble material that should rather be used to enable an aerial articulation of space that could surpass the flamboyant Gothic style. His cretinizing influence is immense. A Le Corbusier model is the only image that arouses in me the idea of immediate suicide. He is destroying the last remnants of joy. And of love, passion, freedom. (Chtcheglov 1953)

    My trip back the way I came was quicker as if everything I had seen was now familiar but I knew that I would drift back and forth between the smells, the tastes and aromas of a continuous narrative; fetishized and metallic (Tennozu Isle), nomadic and cerebral (Shipyard Works), psychological yet alluring (Haisha), redundant yet romantic (Megaweb Toyota City Showcase and Venus Fort).

    Summit (Process), 2008.

    The re-eroticized landscape: nether regions, dreaming tongues and sensitive space

    We see everything in this world as nothing but a dream. (Minamoto no Sanetomo, Japan, 1192–1219)

    As with Foucault’s ‘Regime of Truth’ the island observes its place amongst the other islands in the Seto Inland Sea with photographic precision and employs the image to full effect, negotiating carefully with the reality of the surrounding landscape. The introduction of geometry through photography surrounds the island quite literally with photographs by Sugamoto Hiroshi placed at strategic points along cliff edges, their ‘Cartesian perspective’ (Jay 1988) purposely at odds with other fragments scattered throughout Naoshima and neighbouring islands. This view of a visual reality supplied by landmarked photography of the very sea they live within is the desensitized space of automata. The photographically precise landscape is now de-eroticized and stripped of suggestion while other elements work to re-eroticize the island. Ohtake’s Haisha imports discarded and found objects, frames random images from neighbouring hills and wraps a story of local economy and culture within four walls. It is this wavering or drifting gaze as opposed to the static precision of the photograph and even the shy concrete of Ito Toyo’s Benesse House or Chi-Chu Museum that gives a language to such abstract form.

    Moving from mainland to island serves as a way of describing the drift through ‘ecological thinking’ (Morton 2010a) not to define something but merely outline it and there is a very distinct difference between the two. The way John Warwicker describes his ‘method’ in The Floating World or the particular means by which Ohtake Shinro encapsulates and freezes matter – cardboard, photos, the hull of a boat, for example – both work to define not the thing or collection of things but outline the world they are sensitive to. This outline is really their language that defines the world around them. The surrealists were active agents of this. Salvador Dali conceived his paranoid critical method as a way of destroying preconceived notions both of object and objectification. Dali attempted the same architecturally, and this goes without saying, he would have succeeded if it were not for the fragile sanity of his paymasters and attentive patrons that saw his pavilion in New York as mere folly.

    33 (Process), 2009.

    (Description) – Summit and 33.

    These photographs, in the early stages of development, are looking for parallels with one another. A series entitled Summit and another entitled 33 group together two distinct and disparate places, Tokyo in Japan and the Cumbrian Lake District in England.

    They are not the same, not even similar. Through photography they start to overlap. The urban and rural are shared and the emptiness of one is replaced with the cacophony of the other. At the moment, they are black and white but when colour is introduced the challenge will be how the madness of downtown metropolis migrates to cover the rolling hills of an English countryside. A psychological landform ensues and neither urban nor rural is manifest.

    (MAP 9 – map_09.jpg)

    The sensitive space is a layer that covers all latent pieces scattered across urban and rural landscapes alike. As‘machines break down and start each other talking’ (Ballard 2008: 221) the language of sensitive space develops, informing those machines of their place within a pretty abstract world that is increasingly frustrating. The use of image, photography, film all start to make more sense not only as simple tools for communicating but as the very space they desperately desire to represent.

    This journey from city to sea, land to island, exposed ways of viewing and experiencing the world physically, visually and graphically that exhibit polar opposites in their intention. One fixed and god-like, the other flippant and carefree, a language of sensitivity is described, a dreaming tongue licking between experiences. Spatially, architecturally, visually this drift, this ecology, ultimately exposes a mixture of mediated concerns, some technological, some philosophical, some artistic, spiritual and some nearly always political – a dream language afforded by literature and image but also the physical and social realm of architecture itself.

    In many ways this essay has been about me coming to terms with the way I work, the way I make things and the world to which they relate. This particular journey really describes a view of industrial processes. From the urban manufactured – mechanisms of rail and air travel – distributed and deposited on the Seto islands. Collectively they create a very reflexive archipelago through their mixture of industry and culture transforming through a brilliance of imagery. Traditionally a fishing economy, Naoshima is also home to heavy industry, being a base for one of Japan’s primary material mining research and smelting plants. The smelting of copper and lead and the subsequent material generated has been a major source of export for both the local and wider Japanese economy ever since 1917.

    To me this is amazing, supporting an idea that a commuter archaeology and erotic landscape are equal forms of by-product as much as the raw lead and copper sulphate mined and processed on Naoshima. Though not really by-products of any industrial process, both artwork and intervention are something unlike anything native to the island. Be it image, architecture or sculpture, they constantly refer back to the mainland, back to the city just as the city and its by-products of an uncanny and curved variety – Tennozu Ilse – seek to migrate. There is nothing natural here on Naoshima or anything we should call nature. Rather we should consider the collection of flightless built space and sensitive architectural discourse as purely ecological.

    33 (Process), 2009.

    (MAP 10 – map_10.jpg)

    The island as a speculative proposal for spatial brilliance moves back and forth between heavy industry and idealism and this drift is at times subtle and at other times not. This negotiation is at the heart of what becomes a sensitive intervention between purely urban and purely rural. It is this move between the two that for me suggests an approach to designing anything physical or visual, practical or visceral.

    The speculative gaze of this essay does not make for a very productive act smoothed and split between disparate places urban and rural, cityscape and countryside, simultaneously attracting and repelling.

    …there are no fields. Only fields of operation and observation, only fields of electromagnetic attraction and repulsion, only fields of hatred and coercion. Only Force Fields. (Amis 1989: 134)

    If I were to make a proposal for a new type of intervention be it spatial or flat it would need to be constantly moving and changing, split in two by the way it lives differently in different places. If I am to intervene through making something then I will inevitably be caught between both pragmatism and imagination. A tentative approach to an intervention would only be successful if it made sense to both local and disparate communities. This negotiation between the disparate relies solely on degrees of sensitivity, very different to that of Rick Deckard’s wife viewing her husband as emotionless and cold to the will of the world (Blade Runner, 1982). Split sites and smooth aesthetics, as Neil Spiller states in his article of the same name, go hand in hand, the charm and charisma of one place governed by the look and appearance of the other with a touch of chance and creative opportunity elusively producing uniqueness in place of banality. Such technology would gather fragmented bodies by working with the human and the romantic while negotiating the stationary and inert. If Martin Amis is right and urban experience is a series of unforgiving force fields then the attraction and repulsion of places such as Naoshima and Tokyo are inevitably in constant flux. As people, politics, regimes and truth all evolve so do their respective sensing and sensual environment.

    33 (Process), 2009.

    References

    Amis, Martin (1989), London Fields, London: Jonathan Cape Ltd.

    Ballard, J.G. (2008), Miracles of Life, London: Harper Perennial.

    Barthes, Roland (2005), Empire of Signs, New York: Anchor Books.

    Chtcheglov, Ivan (1953), ‘Formulary for a New Urbanism’ (Translated), http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/Chtcheglov.htm. Accessed April 2006.

    Dezeuze, Anna (2004), ‘Unpacking Cornell: Consumption and Play in the Work of Rauschenberg, Warhol and George Brecht’, Papers of Surrealism, 2 (Summer), http://www.surrealismcentre.ac.uk/papersofsurrealism/journal2/. Accessed September 2010.

    Diederichsen, Diedrich (2009), ‘Polyphilo’s Dream’, Frieze Magazine, 122 (April),
    http://www.frieze.com/issue/article/polyphilos_dream/. Accessed 10 November 2010.

    Jay, Martin (1988), ‘Scopic Regimes of Modernity’, in Hal Foster (ed.), Vision and Visuality, Seattle: Bay Press, pp. 3–23.

    Klose, Travis (dir.) (2004), Arakimentari [Motion picture], USA: Troopers Films.

    Morton, Timothy (2010a), The Ecological Thought, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    ____ (2010b), ‘Materialism Expanded and Remixed’, http://newmaterialismconference.blogspot.com/2010/01/materialism-expanded-and-remixed.html. Accessed January 2010.

    Noe, Gaspard (dir.) (2009), Enter the Void [Motion picture], France/Germany/Italy: Fidélité Films.

    Patience, Stephen (2010), ‘Salvador Dali’s Dream of Venus’,
    http://www.stephenpatience.co.uk/Essays/Salvador_Dalis_Dream_of_Venus.html. Accessed 10 November 2010.

    Romero, Georgo A. (dir.) (1978), Dawn of the Dead [Motion picture], Italy/USA: Laurel Group.

    Scott, Ridley (dir.) (1982), Blade Runner [Motion picture], USA/Hong Kong: Warner Brothers.

    Taylor, Sue (2001),‘Hans Bellmer in The Art Institute of Chicago: The Wandering Libido and the Hysterical Body’,
    http://www.artic.edu/reynolds/essays/taylor.php. Accessed 10 November 2010.

    Warwicker, John (2009), The Floating World: Ukiyo-e, London: Steidl Mack.

    Artworks

    Dreaming Tongue (Bokkon Nozoki/Haisha), Ohtake Shinro, 2009.

    直島銭湯「I♥湯」 (Naoshima Sento), Ohtake Shinro/graf, 2009.

    Time Exposed, Sugimoto Hiroshi, 1980–97.

    Pumpkin, Kusama Yayoi, 2009.

    Websites

    http://www.mmc.co.jp/corporate/en/corporate/message.html. Accessed 22 September 2009.

    http://www.mmc.co.jp/sren/Naoshima.htm. Accessed 22 September 2009.

    Photographs

    1. Photo of ‘直島銭湯「I♥湯」 (Naoshima Sento)’ Stuart Munro, 2009.

    2. Rush Hour, Stuart Munro, 2009.

    3. DeLorean, Venus Fort Car Museum, Stuart Munro, 2009.

    4. Seto Inland Sea, Stuart Munro, 2009.

    5. Summit (Process), Stuart Munro, 2008.

    6. & 7. 33 (Process), Stuart Munro, 2008.

    8. Summit (Process), Stuart Munro, 2008.

    Originally published on February 1, 2011