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Insideout/Tokyo Project

May 4, 2010 / Introduction

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Increasingly in our globalized era, the megalopolis has taken over from the nation, a dense concentration of power, wealth, technology, labour and culture. But as the mega-cities rise they eclipse the diverse environments of the wider region. When the mega-city is a cultural, economic, social melting-pot then we can forget to look beyond this particular representation. Japan and its megalopolis of Tokyo very much demonstrate this notion, with 30% of the population concentrated in the Tokyo district. Arguments of global vs local have raged and tired over the decades, but now many have come to view these supposedly polar opposites as fundamentally part of each other. As cultural analysts, such as Arjun Appadurai, have demonstrated the global and the local can not exist in separation.

Insideout/Tokyo follows this line of thought in attempting to subvert the hierarchy between Tokyo and other local regions of Japan. It aims to shine a torch on the thriving arts scene of these regional cities and raise awareness of unique projects which have a distinctive local flavour, reflecting the individual characteristics of the area through strong community collaboration.

Insideout/Tokyo Project is a project designed to create links between Tokyo and other provinces of Japan. Aiming to reverse the principle of Tokyo-centrism of Japan, the project attempts to create a level relationship between the communities both inside and outside of the capital, building a new form of civil participation while nurturing artistic and cultural awareness. This is a long term network which aims to offer support between the various groups and communities facilitating such projects and hopes to encourage new collaborations and original developments.

The project launched at 3331 Arts Chiyoda in conjunction with the centre's pre-open events, presenting an exhibition of unique art projects from 9 regions around the country which encourage a new engagement towards society, not only introducing their activities but revealing the basic concrete methodology behind these. Accompanying this exhibition was a three day event which brought together artists, organizers and local participants for presentations, discussion, live performances and a chance to sample the original foods of each region.

The members of the network are now engaged in regular meetings sharing their skills and experiences and working towards new forms of cooperation. One of the activities which they will be working towards will be to build an archive at 3331 Arts Chiyoda which will provide an overview of the various creative engagements being held in the different regions of Japan, providing a valuable resource which will be open to the public and provide the opportunity to access materials and documentation relating to regional practices, conveniently collated all in one place.

Introduction to some of the projects participating in Insideout/Tokyo:

SapporoII Project - Sapporo, Hokkaido
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Creating an art network between public facilities in Sapporo city during the winter months, SapporoII Project aims to transform the heavy chore of snow clearing into a new form of snow festival for local communities. With its root in creative collaboration, this is an engagement which can diffuse widely through the activities of local citizens, through forming a network between organizations, institutions and local administration. The festival is designed to create a new awareness in local people towards their surroundings, allowing them to appreciate the beauty in winter life which can activate new cultural production. It aims to transform what is seen as a problem of snow into a perspective which values it as a resource, an engagement which is very much relevant in our current environmental condition.

Himming - Himi, Toyama
corage1最終.jpgHimming is an art project targeted at researching the unique appeal of the local area of Himi, Toyoma and encouraging new creative engagements within this context. Through project series it is attempted to rediscover what is important to Himi and how to build its future. Tokyo Himming is founded on such an engagement and aims to create a new relation between people in the capital and the provinces. This will become an important place for people in the city.
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Birdo Flugas - Shiogama, Miyagi
birdoflugas最終.jpgThis is an art project based around the "Birdo Space" of Shiogama, Miyagi. The project facilitates workshops and events, in addition to exhibitions of both domestic and international artists. It is not concerned with chasing the cutting-edge, but aims to highlight unique artists and art scenes giving rise to a rich exchange. Linking North America and Japan, introducing artists to each other, is just one example of their borderless approach to the arts.
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Kukan Jikken Shitsu - Aomori City, Aomori

aomori.jpgBased in a two storey building filled with memories of the neighbourhood, this project provides a free space with gallery and café facilities. This open space offers the opportunity for dialogue and exchange between many different people, creating a shared experience between communities, residents and proprietors of the local shopping district through workshops, exhibitions and various events.
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Hisho Arts - Maniwa, Okayama
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Hisho Arts was initiated in 2005, based on the site of a Soy Sauce Warehouse, which has over a 100 year old history, and has brought the residents together in unity as a cultural facility for the community. The name Hisho brings with it the meaning of brewing and nurturing culture.
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Yu no Sato Hijiori - Hijiori, Yamagata
ひじおり最終.jpgIn a caldera valley in Yamagata there is a steaming hot spring, there is a small village and there is a school. In March 2009 the 134 year history of this school came to the end as the school faced its closure. "Yu no Sato Hijiori" is a documentary film depicting the final year of this school capturing the thoughts and feelings of the children, teachers and former pupils, their memories and attachments to a place which has played such an important role in the community and which has played a pivotal part in its culture. While depicting the closing scene of this local icon, it reveals a new landscape in the relations between the local people who live there.
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ZERODATE - Odate, Akita
秋田最終.jpgZERODATE is an art project formed spontaneously by artists and local residents from Akita in order to rediscover the appeal of the local area and build its cultural and community strength. Through engaging in creative activity, which overcomes generation and genre, it aims to share the imagination of "Odate".
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Kitamin Lab - Kitamoto, Saitama
北本asagao最終.jpgKitamin Lab was initiated as part of the Kitamoto Arts Camp, held in August 2008. It aims to act as a vitamin for the local area, encouraging a new culture, creating a space to develop creativity and to nurture the relation between art and community. Reinvigorating Kitamoto and facilitating arts activities which engage local communities.
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Konya2023 - Fukuoka City, Fukuoka
紺屋1最終.jpgKonya2023 is facilitated by TRAVEL FRONT and is concerned with revitalizing a disused building in the local area. In the centre of Fukuoka this 45 year old building with 17 rooms provides the communal space for many different activities, generations, nationalities and objectives. Through the compounding and dissociation of these elements, the layering of thought and action, a new value and culture is being constructed. The multi-purpose building includes a gallery, residence space and café, while hosting creative organizations engaged in art, education, design, photography, architecture, fashion and dance.
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