Photographer and critic, born in 1960. Professor at Tama Art University, Department of Information Design, and member of the Institute for Art Anthropology. A specialist in visual anthropology, his activities connect various types of media, including photography, text, and video installation. Has worked with, published on and curated themes such as memory, movement, and the masses, and directed international exhibitions in both Japan and elsewhere. Served as the commissioner of the Japanese pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2007 and as Artistic Director of the Aichi Triennale2016.
Developing the city
“We collect photos of Tokyo.”
That straightforward call to action comes from the “Genzou” project, run by Tamaki Hosobuchi and Kio Griffith. Its goal is to edit the fourth issue of the project’s eponymous booklet using photos contributed by the public. Uniquely, they’ve made the entire editing process public, exhibiting the photos collected at TOKAS throughout. “Photopia/scotopia”, the title of the project, refers to day and night vision – our ways of seeing in light and dark places respectively – and is explained as follows:
“The will of the city, in which bright prospects and dark secrets are intertwined, goes beyond changing blocks and buildings; it unconsciously affects the people passing through the city, down to the cellular level.”
Visiting the exhibition surprised me. Photos printed on copy paper are not only plastered on walls, but also suspended from wires throughout the space – like photos developed in a darkroom back in the day and put up to dry with clothespins. The installation is sure to revive memories of darkrooms in quite a few participants. As photos for the project can be uploaded via Twitter and Instagram, I was expecting the works to be mainly of the “Instagram-friendly” type. Instead I was faced with a cavalcade of impressive shots, proving my expectations wrong. Look closely at the prints and you’ll notice that the title and name of the artist are hand-written on them in small characters.
Photos by the likes of Daido Moriyama and Ryudai Takano are displayed alongside those of amateurs, with no distinctions made. At the gallery talk, current Bridgestone Museum of Art vice-director Michiko Kasahara called this a “cruel way of exhibition”. Sure, it might feel cruel toward the professionals, but likely also reveals the intentions of public editing. How will Tokyo respond to the call from “Genzou”? That response is devoid of professionals and amateurs – everyone is edited equally, in public. This method turns the locationless space of the internet into a darkroom, which develops images, unseen on social media, that reveal both the consciousness and unconsciousness of the city.
It struck me how interesting it would be to transplant this process to London and see what products of the unconscious would emerge. Expanding the horizons of modern photography, this is an innovative project that merits continued attention.
Translation: Ili Saarinen
GENZOU (Kio GRIFFITH + HOSOBUCHI Tamaki)｜Photopia/scotopia - Tokyo GENZOU Vol.4OPEN SITE 2018-2019 Open Call Program【Exhibition】
Tokyo Arts and Space Hongo
2018.11.24 - 2018.12.24