Email News for English Readers_Feb.18,2021


Hi there,
This is Chinatsu Igarashi from the Tenjinyama office. With this newsletter, I’d love to share with you the latest of what Tenjinyama has been up to. It’s summarized short but is as fun as you can expect it to be. Enjoy yourself! 

How busy is too busy? And who’s the busiest person on this planet? As for the latter, I found some interesting “answers” on Reddit, the community of our beloved and curious (and wandering) minds. Joyful ideas and different perspectives. Confident you can keep yourself away from typing yours? From the writer’s perspective, the answer must go pretty boring, yet given that my brain can’t save my fingers from hopping on the keyboard, forgive me to share it anyways. I want to believe that it’s too busy when you can’t even remember you’re busy, and that you are the busiest person on earth if you can think of nothing further than how busy you are. Because at that point, you are so confused by the business itself that the altruism and objective analysis are nowhere to be found. “The world” becomes so small to those are in such condition that they come to believe they are the only, thus the busiest, human occupying the space. In that way, like in previous winters, Tenjinyama Art Studio at this moment might be just a leap behind from becoming the busiest place on earth. Yet we claim we are not entirely so because -- while we are constantly forgetting how busy we are, our minds are not occupied by the business itself. Instead, everyday we are taken away by the beautiful, astonishingly creative moments of the artists in the house.
Why so busy? It should be because we’ve been running seven different residency programs simultaneously. For different programs, total of ten international, confounding artists are joining us. Not too hard to guess, most of them are staying at the facility “virtually”. Our team has expanded -- Zoom has been one of the newest faces. She’s fresh, yet already irreplaceable, and probably is the most reliable one in the room. Or, well, oftentimes she is the room itself. Especially regarding international programs, she is the function never dismissed. Meetings with artists Choi Heejung (South Korea), Aaron McLaughlin (Ireland / Netherlands), Daisuke Nagaoka + Chikara Matsumoto (from Yamagata / Tokyo), as well as with Eugene Jun and Ban Jaeha (both from South Korea), are now only possible online. The community of people their projects seek for, also, is often more accessible via Zoom. In the era of tele-communication technologies, we believe we are gradually making ourselves adapted to new techs. But it’s also true we have a long way to go! Every online meeting is the challenge we take to develop our skills and experience in supporting artists even from miles and oceans away.

Contrastingly, at the facility, artists Miyuki Oka and Masayoshi Masago have just finished a two-person show and artist talks on February 14th, 2021. The two were selected in the early January 2021 for Tenjinyama’s first-ever local residency programme ‘みせたこともなく、みたこともない’ (meaning “neither yet exposed nor witnessed”). The show was to close off their month-long residency experience on the hill. Both having lived and worked in the city of Sapporo for most of their lifetime, their insights reveal the city’s alternative aspects and dimensions that are often invisible or overlooked despite their vibrance. 
With his new project ‘Photosensitive Inversion’, Masago explores the social vulnerability immanent in individuals of the city. Under private agreements, the artist and voluntary citizens exchange delicate confessions about themselves and engage in a planned performance. The exhibition included the photography as the recordings of the performance. Through the direct title of each photographic piece, the supposedly private, individual exchange exposes a part of itself to the beholder. The experience of being a beholder of this work was ultimately thrilling yet unbelievably quiet. Masago’s idea has been greatly inspired and enhanced by the precedence of Socially Engaged Art, as he named the structure in his new work “Personally Engaged Art”. 
Oka’s ‘to handle (A)’ dives deep into the relationship between physical environment and digital information. There, the artist examines the method of unveiling two substantial facts; the connection between the foregoing elements and what makes us believe they have a connection. The beholder witnesses the process of the handwritten letter A (あ in Japanese) getting delivered to the digital space, along with A (あ) as a digital input falling into the physical environment. The exhibition included maps of three different geographical areas (Tenjinyama, Tokyo, India) portrayed through the existing arrays of submarine cables. The selected areas and techniques were translated into an artwork from the artist’s academic research in environmental biochemistry. While the primary concern of Oka’s work was not the city of Sapporo, the maps and the communication structure together invited me, a beholder, to reassess the perception of the city both physically and conceptually, by uniquely portraying the city via the invisible body of system usually hidden under the city environment.
Ishu Han, another invited artist, is also joining us in a week. It will be his second collaboration with Tenjinyama after five years of the career-defining creative exploration, and we cannot be more excited. Under the title ‘go to home’, Han is planning a public workshop at Moerenuma Park at the end of this month. Re-inviting Han, one of our aims is to examine the qualitative impact of the long-term support for an artist by a residency. But all the strategic thinking aside, after all, we find ourselves in a profound relief of learning that the artist we admire is in a good health, still and all fueled to challenge his own creativity. A collective sigh of relief. Happy heaving. And we are finally ready to revisit the history and speculate where the further collaboration could possibly take us to.

Now that you saw the glimpse of Tenjinyama’s residency lineup 2020-2021, you are probably wondering “No room for the dinner-party-serendipity anymore?”. Well, the Wednesday Sharing, a weekly zoom dinner meeting, is the very society where all the invited artists can get together for casual interactions. There, artists learn about each other, both professionally and personally, and get to see all the other humans of Tenjinyama who’re happy to accompany their creative journeys. The gathering brings a lot to our now online based community – critical exchanges, unexpected developments of ideas, and probably most importantly, small talks and easy laughs. It is open to anyone interested, so if you feel like, you are very welcomed to bother us. You are just a message away from the party!

Thank you for your attention. Hope you enjoyed the update. We also are planning to have other two events which are the result of online based residency programs, in three weeks. International Open-Call program and Exchange program with Barim from South Korea. If you want to know further about our residency programs, especially about seven major ones happening this winter, please hit us at info@tenjinyamastudio.jp .

See you soon!
Sapporo Tenjinyama Art Studio