Moving allows us the possibility of re-discovering what you thought you had lost. I wrote this back in 2000 whilst on my first working year in Japan as a 20 year old, sadly enough, yet hopeful, I still find it relevant today.
Mid-April, during one of my visits to Bunkamura, I randomly picked up a handful of flyers, after leafing through them at home, I spotted a gallery situated in the eclectic shopping capital of Tokyo, Harajuku. After checking details out on the web, I discovered an oasis in the desert. Design Festa gallery is a non-profit based center that offers artists of every age, ability and medium, (except digital, but that`s soon to be changed due to the opening of the Web Gallery on the 25th of June) to exhibit their work from 500 yen (three pounds). to 20,000 yen (one hundred and fourteen pounds) for a week during the national holiday period. Fantastic, I feel a bubble of excitement develop in my stomach and plan to check this place out on the next day off.
Sunday arrives, after much searching through the crowded streets of Meji-dori, I spot a colourful building covered with graffiti works of visiting artists. Looking around, my eyes are greeted with some purely banal and amateur works, mainly photographs, others acutely accurate and perceptive, but still in their embryonic stages. Keen to find out more, I step into the office, where one of the office staff, Shortaro, who expresses desire to go to London to attend St. Martins college of Art, after discovering my Nationality, introduces me to the up and coming Design Festa Exhibition Vol. 14, on the 25th May.
So a month later, I find myself wondering around Tokyo Big Site in Odiba, the purpose built Urban pleasure zone, feasting my eyes on an explosion of art available in so many different mediums. So much so, I had to keep taking breaks to sit outside, the energy was exhausting, but as I idyly noted, in no way draining.
Sat on a polished stone bench watching people filter through the entrance, in a landscape that would not look out of place on the cover of an Arthur C. Clark book, listening to the sounds of distorted rock in the distance, I pondered the extreme contrast of this expressionistic world and that of GEOS. Design Festa which feeds itself, putting any capital made back into the hands of the creator, to improve facilities for the next exhibition and of course for the exhibitors, bares a sharp contrast with the cruel world that GEOS provides, where any profit made goes eventually back into the hands of the president, who treats himself to houses in both England and Switzerland, shifting all his profits overseas, this avoiding tax, whilst his workers sweat away in the heat of Japanese Summer. Recently, at Chuo-Rinkan, our filter has been removed from the water tap in our 'joke-of-a-kitchen' because our school 'cannot afford' the expense. Instead the money spent on expensive flowers for the lobby, is to give the impression of professionalism. This act is done so that it will increase the chances of current students to renew and prospective students to willingly sign-up. The flowers bought for my room are beginning to wilt and die, instead of asking the manager to buy new ones, I have place them on the edge of my desk for all to see.