31st Century Museum of Contemporary Spirit, Kanazawa Japan

Language : ENGLISH : 日本語 : THAI


At 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa Japan


Spirit2

Introduction

I believe ‘art’ is the process to learn and understand nature. Uniqueness is one of the qualities of ‘good work of art’. We can find this quality in every of ourselves, while all of us have face, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, finger-print or DNA, we have never have the same face, eyes, ears, nose, finger-print or DNA. Even in an identical twin, they will never look like a clone. In the similarity, there are always differences. Human being is the best example of a ‘good work of art’.

Freedom of expression is another one of the quality to be a ‘good work of art’. All of us used to have it while we were young, as a child, we fear or worry for nothing; death, hunger, shame, guilt, be smart, be stupid etc. Unfortunately, education and socialization took that freedom away. The more we learn about social values, ethics, social norms, cultural beliefs, and all disciplines, the less freedom remains.

To take back human being’s creativities and freedom of expression is my ultimate purpose. How to bring back the confidence in our own creativities while being able to pay the respect to others? I strongly believe every single person has his/her own way to express their creativities, and unconsciously display them in their everyday life. Therefore all of us are artists who are part and parcel of creating a future society.

Concept

It does not mean we demand to eliminate the established museums. Although museum demarcates the border, gives us the distinction what is art, and what is not. Museum might be able to standardize so-called ‘the culture’ for a society, nevertheless fells to address individual’s significance. For the 31st Century Museum of Contemporary Spirit, Kanazawa, this project aims to give people back the freedom of expression, evokes them to realize and strengthen their self-confidence in their hidden ability to create creative activities, gives them back the power to evaluate individual’s expression regardless the mainstream’s cultural or aesthetics’ value. Everyone is an artist, a curator, and an owner of a museum.

SNAG-0006

galleryHence every single individual has his/her unique character, and his/her own way of express their creativities unconsciously through their everyday life. From this point, it provokes me to consider the process people creates or even invent the story or specific meaning to the objects they give or be given. I believe some of their objects which have its own story and specific history must carry its own spirit and energy of creation. Sometimes monetary value can not be given. It is not necessary that object is made of costly material. It can simply be an ordinary object for the others, but meaningful to someone’ spirit. For example gifts, wishes, postcards, rings, flowers, or just small things receiving from dear persons. It also can be from people we not even know or just really somebody who gives with good intention, love, mercy, care, sympathy, encouragement or something else. It can also be energy, vibration sending out from that object. I believe we all have these kinds of objects or at least used to touch them. But often times we tend to forget or secretly keep them only for ourselves and have no time to think about its meaning. For this project, therefore, I would like to ask collaboration form everyone to share this meaningful experience with others.

 

31st Century Museum of Contemporary Spirit

Kamin Lertchaiprasert

4 June 2008

121st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa invited me to join the conference on the very challenging topic; ‘Stimulate City by Art’. Apart from the conference, I have got a chance to go around the city, visited many places to seek for a place to work on my project platform exhibition on October.

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One of the places I went is a junior high school called ‘Chuo Elementary School, Kanazawa’. There I met the headmaster who showed me around the school. Then we went to his office, and I saw beautiful handwriting on papers which I don’t know what it is. I asked him about that. He told me they are certifications he is giving to students who will graduate this year.

Surprisingly, the headmaster showed me his handwriting on each student’s certification where he wrote one good quality of that student down. For example, you are very good in swimming; you are very good in music; you are a kind person etc. This surprised me, indeed, and I could not help asking how do you know anyone really have a good quality in them? Don’t you want to ask him the same question? May be not, huh? Why me then?

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Well let tell you a bit about my story, my school time story. I was sent to a boarding school when I was in 5th grade as my parents believed this school will help to improve my behavior. Yes, you can tell what kind of a boy I was; even my parents gave up, and believe that boarding school is their answer. I don’t know if it helped, but I only remember I have got an award on a national children day, they called my name, and I had to go on the stage to receive the award. I should be proud, right? Sure, I acted as it was such a cool thing, I was damn proud of it. Now you are curious what kind of award I received. I had got ‘The Bad Boy Award’, yes, the worst one I was (or am).

The prize for this award was a notebook with a pen for me to write down the bad things I have done, and to remind myself that I will never ever do it again!

Though as a teenager, I made my friends believe that this is the coolest thing you have ever got, and who cares! But you know, deep down inside, it hurts. How harsh it was for one boy to be blamed like that, to be branded as ‘the worst’.

5That is why I wanted to ask the headmaster that question; how do you know anyone has a good quality in them as I still am haunted by my school –given ‘award’. Plus I asked him if there is the worst one in your school, what you are going to write for him. He said I believe no matter how bad he is, he must at least have one good thing in him, at least one. Somehow that simple remark shades the new light to that boy, the boy who has been, following me, haunting me.

I asked the headmaster to write that boy one certification which is ‘everyone at least has one good thing in oneself’.
This kind of certification might be nothing for the one who has been recognized as a good people for the rest of his/her life, but for the one like me this is irreplaceable. It is unique with its meaning, lift my spirit up, inspired me to share and to stimulate people to go back into their own experience in order to look for something in their lives, some ordinary object with a certain meaning for his/her no matter it sounds stupid, nonsense, priceless or crazy for other people.

7I asked the headmaster to write that boy one certification which is ‘everyone at least has one good thing in oneself’.

This kind of certification might be nothing for the one who has been recognized as a good people for the rest of his/her life, but for the one like me this is irreplaceable. It is unique with its meaning, lift my spirit up, inspired me to share and to stimulate people to go back into their own experience in order to look for something in their lives, some ordinary object with a certain meaning for his/her no matter it sounds stupid, nonsense, priceless or crazy for other people.

This led to the 31st Century Museum of Contemporary Spirit to show whatever object which is meaningful to someone’s spirit.

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Methodology

SNAG-00071. Asking for collaboration from local people from Kanazawa to donate or to lend objects meaningful to their spirit.

2. Asking them to provide reason and source of origin why it is meaningful to them.

3. Exhibiting collected objects in vacant houses or vacant buildings.

4. Exhibiting in the participants’ private space like home or apartment and visitors shall ask for permission prior to their visit, in case the participants consider the objects very valuable and very meaningful to them and they do not wish to exhibit in public space (area no. 3).

5. Asking for permission to publicize the photo of objects, portraits of the owner and related articles together with those of others’ in the project, in case the objects can neither be exhibited in public space (area no. 3)  nor private space (area no. 4).

6. Inviting everyone involved to be in a group’s picture. They will circle around the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, in English alphabets, read as ‘31st Century Museum of Contemporary Spirit’. As collective memory, bird-eye-view photos will be taken.

7. A bird-eye-view photo shall be enlarged. Then all people involved shall sign their signature as collaborative artists. Eventually, this picture shall be printed as a cover for the project catalog.

Project

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Kamin Lertchaiprasert / 31st Century Museum of Contemporary Spirit

Yuki Akimoto

Director / 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

Based in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, Kamin Lertchaiprasert is known as an artist who mostly makes participation- and process-oriented works. “the land” is a long  term project that he co-started with Rirkrit Tiravanija to “create a place open to the public in the independent community.” Though he does not define it as his artistic activity, it is a kind of lifework and very important for him.  Based on Buddhism thought and in pursuit of experimental contemplation and lifestyles, he holds courses of meditation and yoga in addition to carrying out organic farming, architecture, art exhibitions and lectures. Kamin Lertchaiprasert and Rirkrit Tiravanija are totally different in their work styles, but they share the same objective to support the project of “the land.” He has finally reached such a way of thinking while pursuing how sustainable lifestyle or life could be.

A Western journalist said half in anger when he saw a fallen house and poor maintenance in “the land” to the effect that the project plan had fallen through, Kamin responded that if someone wanted to build it, it could be rebuilt. He is not concerned about maintaining what was once made, or giving mythical significance to a project-in-itself. Rather “the land” has the meaning of its existence in showing what he is not interested at all in what he considers meaningless. He does not have either concept of reward or compensation either. Because all is done on one’s own initiative, if one does not see any value, nothing will be done. Having said that I’m afraid you might think it is a closed circle like a new religion. On the contrary, it is connected to another society without denying consumer society and capitalism, or it frequently goes back and forth to both worlds. It is difficult to say definitely which is the superordinate concept, but I’m sure that there is a worldview of de-capitalism rooted in “the land” as a base.

As for the project in Kanazawa, he does not work an expressionist himself in it, but he asks the meaning of art through collaborations of many participants. For the project, each participant brings their treasures or unforgettable objects to display them at a place likened to an art museum on the 4th floor of NTT Korinbo Building in Hirosaka Shopping area. This is the project that the building is turned to practical use. Kamin thought of this idea when he met with a certain person in Kanazawa. Kamin arranged human letters forming “31st Century Museum of Contemporary Spirit” in the open space in 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa. This event has its origin when Kamin talked with the principal of an elementary school in the city, which he stopped by during his stay in Kanazawa. As it was the graduation time of the year, the principal was writing words in handwriting on large square cards for every child graduating from the school. When Kamin asked the principal what he was writing for them, he said that he was referring to each child’s good point so that he/she could remember that. When Kamin asked him a more searching question, “What would you do if a child is no good at all?”, the principal responded, “There is no need to worry. Every child has good points.” Then Kamin said, “Please write for me too. I was a bad child though.” The principal gave him a card written in his own handwriting. Then Kamin came up with the idea of “31st Century Museum of Contemporary Spirit.” To the request of “Please bring your unforgettable objects with notes about the episodes,” more than 200 unforgettable objects were brought in from the city. They are all personal things that are considered worth keeping only in the relationship between a person who presented it and a person who received it. Apart from that, there is no objective value. Kamin has presented them as what should be valued in the 31st century. The idea appears to be an imaginary fabrication, but taking into consideration of the change in human relations and speedy changing process of families and communities in today’s society, I don’t think that altogether unrealistic. What messages will more than 200 unforgettable objects be sent to us?

31st Century Museum of Contemporary Spirit

Kamin Lertchaiprasert

[PROJECT]

Director:

Yuji Akimoto

Curator:

Hiromi Kurosawa

Management Staff:

Takeshi Hirota, Toshiaki Kobayashi, Masayuki Aoyama, Hiroko Tsukamoto, Shino Sato, Misato Sawai, Yukie Ishimura

Project Staff:

Keitetsu Somchay Murai, Nobuhiro Sombat Kuzuya, Emiko Monden, Yuki Murakami

Promotion Staff:

Hiroaki Ochiai, Yuko Kuroda, Aya Okada

Support Staff:

Hideaki Watanabe, Takuya Matsumoto, Mayumi Arashi, Yuiko Kurosaki

Documentary Staff:

Mina Demura, Takahiro Niimi, Yuki Koike, Yuta Imamura, Yutaka Saito, Emiko Monden, Makiko Minamoto

Video Editor:

Taiki Michinishi

Support:

Royal Thai Embassy

Exhibition Space:

4th floor, NTT Korinbo Building

Exhibition Period:

October 4 – December 7, 2008

[CATALOGUE]

Text Writers:

Kamin Lertchaiprasert, Yuji Akimoto

Editorial Staff:

Hiromi Kurosawa, Yumiko Tatematsu, Ayumi Iwamoto

Editorial Assistants:

Yuki Murakami, Nobuhiro Sombat Kuzuya

Translators:

Miki Nishizawa, Maki Hashizume, Yumiko Tatematsu, Chiaki Sakaguchi, Kiri Takahashi, Chiho Shimizu, Sakiko Nishihara, Chisato Yamashita

Designer:

Takae Ooka (ricebowldesign)

Printing Company:

Noto Printing Co., Ltd.

Published by 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

Published on October 3, 2008

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the following organizations

and individuals for their warmest support in making this project possible.

21 st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

the land foundation

Art-U room

Ikemitsu Enterprises Co., Ltd.

Toranomojutakuhanbai Co., Ltd.

Hirosaka-shinkoukai

Katamachi-shotengai-shinko-kumiai

Korinbo-shotengai-shinko-kumiai

Tatemachi-shotengai-shinko-kumiai

Sasiwimon Wongjarin (Aom)

Surachet Kusumolnan (Dew)

Duangporn Injan (Aof)

Tomoko Abe

Kazuko Uzawa

Mieko Umeda

Ayano Ooka

Kiyotaka Okuda

Megumi Karube

Satoshi Kitamura

Sumigo Takagi

Nobuyoshi Takagi

Yukiko Nishina

Nobuyuki Nomura

Tomoko Hayashi

Yasuyo Maduka

Kazuko Matsumoto

Kazuya Yamaguchi

Aiko Yamamoto

Takami Yamamoto

Hiroshi Yoshida

Satomi Watanabe

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