View the feedback of 2014 resident artists!
Seyit Battal Kurt

After several weeks of official meetings and warm receptions in Moriya and Tokyo that ARCUS had organized for us, I finally settled down and had time to go out and explore the nature, and see the surroundings of the city of Moriya.
One of my aims while I was staying at ARCUS was to do research on farmers in Moriya. For several years, I have been researching on histories and context of local communities through sustainability of agriculture and how farmers are looking at the food system.

Accompanied by constant singing of the crickets (day and night), most of the time I felt like being in a setting of Hayao Mizayaki’s movie. With this mixture of amazement and the longing for discovery, I started to meet people and their relatives who are engaged in farming, agriculture and gardening. In the beginning, packed with camera equipment, I was walking or biking around the streets to meet people working in their gardens and farms, hoping to make some video recordings and interview them. Although I prepared a questionnaire paper which was written in Japanese and English with me, soon enough I realized that visiting them on my own would not work, since I could not communicate with the people in Japanese and most of them could not speak English.
With the profound assistance of the ARCUS staff and some volunteers, I was able to meet some farmers and diverse individuals in their daily living and could have in-depth interviews with them on topics ranging from ecology, farming, sustainability, cultural identity, family structures, and the Second World War experiences to the unique connection between mathematics and farming. Sometimes, I would encounter someone who wished not to talk about farming, but instead wanted to tell me an old fairytale, and I would record those different perspectives spanned from personal memories as well.

Beside my research and work, the most amazing thing was the friendly attitude of people in Moriya and Japan towards me and other residency artists. It was a great pleasure to work with ARCUS staff and everyone who were involved in the program: from the volunteers to people working for the city of Moriya, and every single person I met during my stay in Moriya. It was impossible not to fall in love with the people and the beautiful nature of Japan. I am very glad and thankful to ARCUS for providing me the opportunity to stay in Japan and experience the live here, and to make it possible to accumulate wonderful video portraits of people who are engaged with agriculture and keeping a relationship with the physicality of the earth.
The project is ongoing and I am planning to extend this research to other counties to define how agriculture is changing and how it is reflecting the production and consumption of our everyday food, and how efforts of farmers is understood by different people, communities in various areas in the world.

Seyit's studio:OPEN STUDIOS 02

Florencia Rodríguez Giles

The experience at Arcus Studio was truly interesting and inspiring at several different levels. The research that I conducted, the cultural and natural environment, as well as all the new people I met, constituted rich sources of new experiences that I´m still processing.

I would like to stress that it was the first time that I lived and worked on the outskirts, in a very peaceful place surrounded by nature and subtracted to the overwhelming cultural and entertainment market of the big cities. This situation provided a particular lifestyle that allowed me to be fully concentrated on my project while entertaining at the same time rich relationships with a whole community of people (the staff of Arcus Studio and their contacts, the invited curator, the artists in residency, the local people, etc).

Since my proposal was to explore new kinds of intersubjective and communitarian relations based on the collectivization of the oneiric life, I was completely dependent on the support of the Arcus staff and they responded to my requirements in a highly efficient and enthusiastic manner. Indeed, the coordinators of Arcus Studio were extremely helpful in establishing the required nexus with the local people, contacting persons that I needed to meet regarding different aspects of my project (a Noh Actor, a family of Yamabushis, the owner of a Kimono Textile Factory, etc), fixing the whole schedule, and helping me to apply the protocol rules on which my project was based. They also constantly shared their impressions and ideas and were productively critical regarding my project and the public presentations I made. They provided so much support and interest that I had the feeling that my project was not my project but a goal shared and pursued by all of us.

Furthermore, I would like to mention that I made an open call inviting local people to participate in this project. The fact that the resulting group of people was quite diverse as to their ages, professions and life experiences enriched my work by opening unexpected perspectives. At the same time – in spite of these differences – they were all Japanese, which means that they shared certain patterns in theirs mode of expression (body language, gestuality, temper, etc.) that significantly differed from my previous experiences with Argentineans. It is also worth mentioning that the communication problems that I had at the beginning of the project (since I do not speak Japanese) led me to develop new strategies that enriched my project with new faces.

Florencia's studio : OPEN STUDIOS 02
Florencia's activity “Practice” : OPEN STUDIOS 02

Constantinos Taliotis

The Japanese are crazy about statistics. If you are traveling in Japan, Moriya is the last place you would like your car to break down in. In the unlikely event that you have to spend a day in this small town north of Tokyo you only have two options: either eat the most expensive pizza on earth or spend a whole day in the most humongous Joyful Honda in Asia, a superstore where you can buy anything from fish vaccines to death certificates, or die looking for them. If you also have to spend the night in Moriya, you probably took the wrong turn…in your life.

I spent a hundred days and nights in Moriya and every single one of them was great; thanks to ARCUS. I arrived when the summer humidity was at its highest point and left right in time before winter’s snowfall. I survived four earthquakes and typhoon Vongfong. And yet I wished I could stay longer in Moriya. At ARCUS I found an exciting vista of inspiring, infinite and efficient creativity, an environment that encouraged and facilitated uninterrupted research initiatives with impressive accuracy and a unique mechanism of generating motivation both for the invited artists and the local community. ARCUS is a fascinating and beautiful planet full of the most unexpected surprises. Next time I am traveling through Japan I know where I want my car to break down.

Constantinos' studio : OPEN STUDIOS 02
by arcus4moriya | 2015-02-27 16:16 | AIR | Comments(0)
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