Tokyo Green Spaceと平行して、私が関わっている仕事を紹介させてください。デザイン人類学者として、コンサルティングをしています。会社名は、SOCIAL MODELS「ソーシャル・モデルズ」。クライアントの多くが企業・大学・芸術機関です。最新のホームページを立ち上げました。東京とヨーロッパで活躍するデザイナー、ルイス・メンドにデザインしてもらいました。ホームページには、リサーチの視点が写真と一緒に紹介されています。是非、寄ってください！
As many of you know, my “day job” is as a design anthropologist working with corporations, universities, and arts organizations. Recently, I re-formed my thirteen year consulting company as Social Models. Thanks to the amazing designer, Tokyo resident Luis Mendo, the new site’s images combine my love of photography and offbeat urban stories to show how design research rests on close observation and makes new opportunities visible. I can’t thank Luis enough for his skills at helping me communicate my passion for research and design in Tokyo and San Francisco.
I was very flattered that one of Australia’s top geography textbooks, published by Wiley, included my photograph of Ginza Farm in their “Japan and Korea” page. My father in law was confused by the idea of the two countries together. I’d like to think it’s a hopeful gesture. Of course, since it’s an Australian textbook, the atlas is clearly centered on Australia and its immediate neighbors.
東京の路地に小さな庭のスペースを作る方は、一般のルールに従わないところが素敵です。このブログの写真を使って、友達のショウさんがBell Street Filmsと一緒に３０秒のビデオを作ってくれました。去年、ショウさんはベランダの庭にデザイン人類学校と東京グリーンスペースについてビデオを作りました。
This 30 second clip features my photographs of flowerpot gardens and stories about their makers, who explain to me how they break the law in order to create safer streets. Last year, my friend Sho’s Bell Street Films made a short video about Tokyo Green Space and design anthropology, shot mostly in my balcony garden.
This is the start of my summer balcony details series. A close look at some of the flowers, foliage and edibles of summer. First, a pot of micro-sunflowers, grown from Hiyoko’s seeds from Europe. The leaves looks so fresh.
最初のフィルムに、一番好きな中野と新宿の庭の写真をとりました。飯島さんの花の壁はとても素敵です。Plant Journal という雑誌の記事に、インタビューをしました。訪ねたときに、飯島さんは、「今、何も咲いていません」と言っていました。フィルムなので、イメージが古く見えますね。
For my first roll of film, I took photos of my favorite gardens in Nakano and Shinjuku, plus my own balcony garden. In the foreground above is Iijima-san’s flower wall house. He has 500 hundred potted plants, mostly flowers, rising from the street to the roof. I interviewed Iijima-san for the Plant Journal article I wrote recently.
His first sentence in greeting us was, “There’s nothing blooming now.”
It’s funny how using a film camera makes the image itself look older. The texture and colors in this image seem so different than the bright and flat images I am now accustomed to seeing with digital images. In the next days, I’ll put up more images from this first roll.
Lotus Editorial kindly sent me a copy of Lotus 149, titled Lotus in the Field, which explores the relations with the countryside. Lotus is a beautifully designed, Italian-English bilingual architecture quarterly from Milan.
Lotus 149 includes two of my urban agriculture photographs: one of Pasona’s corporate lobby rice field, the other an outdoor, temporary rice field in Ginza that took advantage of an empty lot between demolition and new construction.
I was happy to see that my Pasona photograph extends into a second page, and I like how the image shows a more ambivalent side of the project than the text and photos provided by the architects and corporation. Especially with the post-3.11 energy shortages after the nuke plants have been suspended, creating a show garden with grow lights looks less than utopian.
On the first anniversary of the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters, I spent the afternoon at a memorial in Hibiya Park, and then joined tens of thousands forming a human chain around Japan’s national assembly, the Diet. I snapped a lot of photos, along with @sub_fauna, who took some great photos.
It was great to see so many people coming together to ask for fundamental change to energy and politics. Striking were the number of seniors, the odd costumes including several Pokemon, the mix of the mournful and colorful. A few Japanese friends asked me what a “human chain” was, as if it were a complicated imported notion. It was very touching to see people holding hands around the center of government.
I was also impressed with how organized the entire demonstration and policing were. The long cross-walk in front of the Diet was occupied only while the light was red. The police remained very calm, and their main tools were rolls of neon police tape, megaphones, and fabric traffic barriers with rings for lines of police to easily hold.
When it snows, it seems as if Tokyo is a city of black and white. Recently I posted a photo of this plum tree at night. Just as the blossoms are peaking, thick gobs of snow magnify the tree’s shape.
Leap Day, 2012.
手作りの植木鉢に入れたミニ・サンフラワーの写真を撮りました。友達の @cpalmieriの高度なカメラを借りて、最後のブログはLumix GF2を使いました。東京グリーン・スペースのプロジェクトのおかげで、写真への興味が深まりました。
I took some night and day shots of this mini sunflower inside a hand-made flowerpot in order to try out a more advanced camera. Plenty of close-ups had poor focus, light balance, and other problems of my making. Frankly the sophisticated camera’s Japanese language menu was overwhelming, but I like how these two images turned out.
Two weeks ago my friend @cpalmieri lent me his Panasonic Lumix GF-2, one of the smallest DSLR cameras. Usually I use a Canon S90, and when I’ve forgotten it, sometimes my iPhone. The S90 has great low light sensitivity, it’s small, and I am not too concerned about dinging it.
But this project is making me more and more interested in photography, so perhaps a DSLR is in the future. It was fun to pose a plant and to experiment with different types of lighting; I think the most successful was bouncing the LED desk light off the white wall.
A few friends asked if I grew the sunflower. No, I purchased it for 150 yen (2$ US) from a big box garden store. It last one week, and now it’s going to seed.
I just received my copy of Travel Guide to Aid Japan, a stylish book with 40 artists, writers, fashion designers, and other cultural figures recommending their favorite places to visit in Japan. The WAttention editor had asked me recently for permission to use my Nonbei Yokocho photo, and it’s amazing how fast the book went to print. The foreward is by Alex Kerr and participants include Tokyo’s Jean Snow. I was glad to participate in this book.
I was fortunate to attend a photography workshop last week with the theme of Cities and Xerox. The event gathered about twenty Japanese creatives– including a sound engineer, high school art teacher, students, guidebook writer, book editor, lawyer, and salaryman– and together we created giant photographs layered together.
The workshop process was simple yet very fun. We were asked to take photographs on our way to the workshop. Then we each chose our best photographs for three topics: breakfast, landscapes, and people. The photographs were sent to FedEx Kinko to be blown up into various sizes. And then we worked together to layer them and staple them to a wood board, which would allow art center visitors to browse the images. While we waited for the photographs to be printed and biked back to the workshop, we also silkscreened t-shirts with the word “XEROXed.”
It’s great to see other people’s photographs and see how they view Tokyo. I was particularly struck by the breakfast images: everything from a traditional Japanese breakfast (many courses, including fish, rice, miso soup, pickles, etc) to a Denny’s, coffee, and those odd, squeezable jelly drinks in foil that are popular in Japan yet seem more suited to outer space. I was the only foreigner, but felt very welcomed by the organizers and participants.
The workshop was led by accomplished photographer Hirano Taro, who became famous for taking photographs of empty pools in California used by skateboarders. The workshop took place at Vacant art space in Harajuku as part of a series of Romantic Geography events created by Too Much Magazine’s Tsujimura Yoshi.
You can see our photographs through May 22 at Vacant. There are also coffee and beeswax events coming up. I had a fantastic time, and was very impressed with how accessible, fun and collaborative this event was.
Yesterday, Tokyo was covered in snow briefly. Large, fluffy flakes everywhere. These photos are from my neighborhood before heading to work and school.
[March 7, 2011, in Nakano].