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Uncharted Territory

自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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きっかけは何でも

 


ダボス会議のアメリカ版みたいなAspen Ideas Festivalが開かれる夏が今年もやってきたようですね。YoutubeのタイトルにJapanese ConnectionとあったことからTheaster Gatesという芸術家が目にとまりました。リスニングに自信がある方はこの動画で何を語っているのか理解してみてください。正直、彼が話したことをしっかりと理解するにはこれから紹介する記事を読まなければいけませんでした。。。

今年の4月にはPBS Newshourでも取り上げられていたのですね。



昨年にはTEDでもスピーカーを務めていました。



彼が話していたのは自身のプロジェクトについてでした。自分が作った陶芸をヤマグチという陶芸家が日本から米国に移住して、その息子が所蔵品を引き継いだというかたちで展示したようです。そんなアートがあるとは思いもよらなかったので何度見ても彼の言っていることがピンとこなかったんですよね。

Theaster Gates, the artist whose latest project is regenerating Chicago
Gates made his name by staging soul food dinners in honour of a fictional Japanese potter. Now he is recycling the fabric of Chicago’s past, including its bricks and mortar, to transform the city’s depressed areas

Monday 6 October 2014 18.31 BST
Gary Younge

In 2007 Theaster Gates held a series of soul food dinners on Chicago’s South Side to honour his mentor, Yamaguchi, a gifted Japanese potter who fled Hiroshima for Mississippi, where he had heard there was a special kind of clay. There Yamaguchi married a black woman and created a unique ceramic style by blending Asian and African-American techniques. They built a pottery, and brought people together to talk about equality. To Gates, who had spent some time studying in Japan, he bequeathed the task of “fostering social transformation” by “convening dinners in cities with extreme racial and social tension just beneath well-articulated geographical boundaries”. On the wall, in an 85ft strip of vinyl, was a timeline that covered everything from the Ming dynasty to slavery, including Yamaguchi and Gates’s birthdays. At the table was Yamaguchi’s son, representing his father and endorsing Gates’s efforts.

There was only one problem with Gates’s relationship with Yamaguchi – the Japanese potter never existed. His “son” was an actor. And while Gates really had lived in Japan, pretty much everything else about the story was complete fiction.

“What would make you invent a Japanese potter?” asks Gates, 41, rhetorically. He had trained as a potter, among other things, but found he was producing bowls that cost several thousand dollars to make but sold for only $25. “I decided that the reasons were: I’m a nobody, so the bowl is a nothing; the bowl looks like lots of other bowls that are mass produced you can buy for even cheaper than $25; the bowl has no magical context that would help get it valued in other ways. If I could be a somebody; if I could elevate [the bowl] beyond the everyday context, would people value it more? That became my social experiment.”


2014年にNew Yorkerの記事にもなっていて、ヤマグチのアートプロジェクトについて触れています。

LETTER FROM CHICAGO JANUARY 20, 2014 ISSUE
THE REAL-ESTATE ARTIST
High-concept renewal on the South Side.

By John Colapinto

By the next year, when Gates landed a show at Chicago’s Hyde Park Art Center, he had reinvented himself as a conceptual artist. In an exhibition that he called “Plate Convergence,” he presented his pottery as the work of Shoji Yamaguchi, a Japanese master potter who, after surviving the Hiroshima bombing, moved to Mississippi, married a black civil-rights activist, and formed a commune. According to Gates’s carefully constructed story, Yamaguchi and his wife died in a car accident, and their son founded the Yamaguchi Institute to house his father’s ceramics. At the show, Gates enlisted a mixed-race actor to impersonate Yamaguchi’s son, and presented himself as the potter’s protégé. Gates insists that the ruse was not cynical; the false identity, he says, freed him to make better pots, and at times he “began to believe that the institute was real.” It also forced his audience to see him in a larger context. “Yamaguchi allowed people to read the Japanese part of myself,” he says.

At the opening, Gates held a dinner, serving “Japanese soul food”—sushi made from black-eyed peas. Collectors, beguiled by the fictional artist and charmed by their host, snapped up the ceramics. Gates told me, “People would be so reverent. ‘Oh, my God, these pots are so great!’ ” Not long afterward, Gates, who has described himself as “a bit of a trickster,” revealed the hoax, which drew only more praise. In an admiring essay, the academics Judith Leemann and Shannon Stratton noted the power of an artistic language “to invoke, to compel, to falsify first, if need be, the thing one wishes into being.”


B級感満載の手口で売り出した彼も、今では地域開発を手がける芸術家として世界的に評価されているようですから、本当に実力がある人はどんなきっかけでも世にでるんだなと変に感心してしまいました。。。
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