With the start of Future Sound + Future Vision happening last Friday, I spent the latter part of last week gathering materials that I wanted to use for the exhibition. Over the last six years, I have accumulated a surplus of materials that resulted from my anxiety about running out of necessary materials at the last minute in preparation for an exhibition or project. There is nothing worse than running out of a specific type of hook at 2 am on Sunday morning when the installation takes place at 9 am. With almost no storage space left in my studio, I was happy to begin the treasure hunt for materials to bring to Launch Pad Gallery and I was not disappointed!
There are balsa wood blocks from the 2013 Setouchi Triennale, paper, string, and glue from the Tokyo Art Book Fair, and cotton fabric from the Nakanojo Biennale as well as some of my current favourite materials.
Arriving at Ishikawacho in the sweltering 35˚C summer heat, I headed over to Launch Pad Gallery along the canal with the expressway overhead buzzing with cars and trucks. I arrived at the gallery to a largely empty space except for one painting leaning against the wall on the ground. There were stools lined along the walls with a listening station as well as various recording devices on the table. Two speakers were pointed into the gallery space with sounds being played from a mixing station on a large table at the back of the gallery. Two visitors/artists were sitting in the middle of the space talking with one of the gallery directors.
As I cooled off, I sat down on the floor against the wall and on the side of the air conditioner and began to unpack all my materials. I knew that I wanted to work with the balsa wood blocks as a starting point so I unpacked those first along with my brush pens. In the background, various sound works were being played through the speakers. These sound works are field recordings that are either processed or unprocessed and resulting from sound walks in which artists capture sounds from the natural and urban environments in a practice known as phonography. Marcos Fernandes is well known phonographer and organiser for Future Sound + Future Vision. During the gallery hours, sound works are being played through the speakers as inspiration, source material, or background sound for the artists to make work in response to. Sometimes the response is conscious, while at other times the response is unconscious.
As I walked with the visitors, I began to fuss with the wood blocks getting a feel for them again. I grabbed one of my brush pens and started to draw on cube block to get going.
The contrast between the dark wood flooring and the balsa wood blocks made the floor a natural working surface. I began to play around with the blocks, piling them on top of each other in a Jenga / house of cards manner. The lightness of the balsa wood allowed the individual blocks to vibrate due to the air conditioner. As I built up piles of blocks, they would repeatedly tumble from the cool air blowing from the air conditioner.
This pile of wood blocks became the starting point of the first "sketch" I made.
Working around this pile, I began laying down various shapes of wood blocks and over the next hour or so, it began to take the shape of one of my Daily Drawings with the result being this.
In the spirit of experimentation, I took some images of the sketch and then sent the pile blocks tumbling and cleared my floor space. From there, I began to make some more drawings on the wood blocks with my brush pens and noted the difference in the way the ink flowed on different faces of the blocks depending on the cut of the wood grain. StudioDeanna and another gallery visitor were in the gallery while I was making these drawings and I invited them to draw on a block or two.
Here are the results from my second sketch after drawing on numerous wood blocks and playing Jenga / House of Cards with them.
After sending this tower of blocks tumbling, I noticed the strong late afternoon sunlight pouring in from the windows of the gallery and started arranging the blocks to create a pattern of shadows.
As I worked on the arrangement, I quickly realised that it was a race against time as I could see the shadows disappearing from the left side as the sun lowered in the sky. A time lapse video would have been an interesting way to document this third sketch.
I decided to attempt one more sketch before taking a break and began building up a structure with the wood blocks including the ones with the drawings. As I was on the tail end of finishing up this sketch, Kanako Iriguchi came to the gallery. She is an artist that works with wood, modularity, and geometry. I had see Iriguchi's work at the Artcomplex Center of Tokyo and then her solo exhibition at Jinen Gallery, but had not yet met her in real life though we are connected through social media. She introduced herself and we chatted a bit as my hands continued to play with the wood blocks. Knowing her work, I invited her to play around with the wood blocks and add to my piece or create something separately and happily, she accepted the invitation. After about half an hour or so, this was the result of this collaboration.
Happy with the results of the afternoon, I took a break and got some food and drink. Upon returning to the gallery, I took again took down this fourth sketch and began to start a new. This time, the starting was a bit more difficult since I was quite happy with the results of the collaboration.
I pressed on by making more drawings and playing Jenga / House of Cards with all the drawn upon wood blocks.
From there I decided to continue trying things that I normally would not try and grabbed the wood glue and string and ended the first day with this sixth and final sketch.
This piece is the only piece that remains from my first day at Future Sound + Future Vision and it sits on the ledge of the gallery window. I made prints of all the other sketches and have installed them in the gallery space as documentation of the first day. I left the gallery that evening satisfied with what had transpired and looked forward to day two.