japanesesong

Setouchi Triennale 2013

2回目の瀬戸内トリエンナーレ、直島と豊島へ。
今回は、岡山から本州と四国を結ぶ電車・マリンライナーに乗り、高松へ。マリンライナーと聞いた時、海底の中を走っていくのかも思ったら、地上を走る電車だった。新幹線との乗継ぎが考慮されているせいか、岡山駅でそんなに待つことなく、電車がくる。
所要時間は約1時間ほど。指定席ではないので、座れないとちょっと辛いかも。でも、橋から眺める瀬戸内海は幻想的。
高松駅に着くと、フェリポートまでは歩いて行ける距離にあるので、とても便利。
船が直島に近づくと、大きな赤いカボチャ・草間弥生の作品が出迎えてくれる。直島のフェリポートはとても小綺麗で現代的、僕の中にある、島=古いとう価値観を良い意味でこわしてくれた。芸術を島に持ち込んだことによって、以前とは比べ物にならない程の人がここ、直島に来ているんだろうなと思うと、それは、日本だとここ周辺の島々だけなのかもしれない。
カボチャを後にし、レンタサイクルをして、ぶらり島観光。春の暖かい時期で、自転車をこいでいても気持ちがいい。昼過ぎに島に到着したので、見たい展示をある程度しぼり、まずは前回行った時にはなかった、安藤忠雄ミュージアムへ。一軒家を改造したような、こじんまりとした雰囲気で地下に行くと、地上からの光りが入り込むような作りになっていた。ちょっとした資料館といった感じだろうか、特に長く滞在するほどの見応えのあるものではなかったので、間もなくミュージアムを後にした。

付近の展示を見た後、自転車で地中海美術館のある浜辺の海へ移動。海が見えると、再び、今度は色と形が違うカボチャが見えてくる。ここから地中海美術館は近そうに思えて、坂道などがあるので、シャトルバスで行くのがおすすめ。名の通り、地中に埋まった美術館は圧巻。館内は全体的に薄暗いけど、その薄暗さが地中にいることを体感させてくれる。カフェテリアからは、瀬戸内海が一望できる。お腹が空いていたので、飲み物とケーキをテラスで食べる。ちょうど日が暮れてきた頃で、夕日と瀬戸内海の島々がきれいだった。閉館後、特別なイベントがあるので、次回は行ってみたい。

翌日、直島から東側に位置する島・豊島へ。
豊島にも新しく美術館がオープンした。美術館というより、建物から展示を含め、トータルで一つの作品のような感じだった。大きな空間に、水が分離、結合する姿がとてもきれいだった。周辺から聞こえる自然の音も島ならではの自然の音が聞こえてくる。他にも、瀬戸内芸術祭の期間中は、島のあちらこちらで展示がされている。
瀬戸内海にはこの2つの島以外にも様々な島があり、それぞれの異なる特徴を持っているので、また行ってみたい。

I met an old fisherman who sat opposite us as we journeyed towards the sea by train. We communicated in smiles and nods. Soon he opened his cooler box and carefully pulled out a glass with a plastic lid. He gave it to me and opened one for himself. The liquid inside was a warm yellow colour and bit murky. I wasn’t sure what he had offered me. When I pulled back the plastic lid it smelled like beer. I turned to Koichi for some reassurance or support, but his nose was to the train window and despite me whispering his name a couple of times, he remained fixated on the passing scenery outside. Koichi always tells me that I shouldn’t smile at everyone and encourage people (like the old man with a box full of fishing bait and homemade beer). But that’s just the way I am. Anyway, he smiled at me first! I drank the old man’s beer and it was crazy strong. I drank one glass and he drank two. Ten minutes later, the old man spotted an apple tree from the train window. He started singing a song about the apple tree to me and the people sitting near us. He stopped his serenade when we passed a mountain resembling Fuji. He told two young Japanese women sitting near us to look out the window and see the beauty of Mount Fuji in the distance (even though we were roughly 600km from the famous mountain).

This was our second trip to Naoshima, but the first time Koichi and I were visiting together. We travelled there to see the Setouchi Triennale – a large art event happening on Naoshima and other surrounding islands in the Seto Inland Sea. I had heard there was a permanently installed piece by French artist Christian Boltanski on one of the islands. It was a place where he was recording heartbeats and storing them in an archive. Boltanski’s Le Archive du Coeur is indeed a place where people can go to record their heartbeat and a place where you can also listen to thousands of recorded and documented heartbeats. When we arrived, I was greeted by a staff member wearing a white lab coat. She took me to a recording room and explained how to make the recording. She soon left me alone in the small soundproof room. I held the microphone against the centre of my chest, pushing hard against my sternum. At that moment, I thought about my body and what it’s been through. I thought about the people I love. Japan. South Africa. I thought about the first heartbeat recorded for this project. Apparently, a man in Stockholm loved his dog so much that he asked if he could put the sound of the animal’s heart in the library. I thought about that dog. I thought about apple trees and Mount Fuji.

When I finished, I signed my name in a book, a date was stamped and I was given a number. The lady in the white lab coat told me that I could listen to my recording in the exhibition room.

I pulled Koichi through a series of soundproof rooms and suddenly we were in this dark, humid space. The sound of my heartbeat. The sound was amplified to an ear-pounding level that reverberated through my entire body. There was a single light bulb hanging at the back of the room, synchronized to the beating, it flickered on and off. It was a weak and fragile light source that could’ve stopped at any moment.

That preserved part of me was a powerful reminder that I exist – and in the future – that I once existed.

We returned outside. The sun was so incredibly bright and I could hear nothing but the sound of the ocean and the wind.

Naoshima
Naoshima
Naoshima Teshima

Trip information

Comments

  • Your love for traveling, photography and words is very inspiring. :) If you guys don’t mind, I’ll be checking back for updates, haha!
    シンガポールから応援します~

  • This as well as your other entries are so beautifully written (with compelling photographs to boot). Thanks for sharing these snippets of your life in Japan. My boyfriend and I may not be able to make it to the places described, but this is the kind of spirit of exploration and storytelling that I’d like to infuse into our own updates and travels. :)

    • Amy Tran: It’s so lovely to hear from you, and thank you so much for looking!! We know that you two are going to have a magical time traveling around Japan. We’re looking forward to the updates on instagram! xx

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