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Organics, electricity, motors, the Internet
My curiosity about a certain system drives me to experiments. When I become to adore a certain box garden during that practice, that small system becomes a seed of an artwork. The composting at my house contains not only organic matter from our daily diet, but also low-degradable materials such as packaging and bones. Being able to observe the process of decomposition daily has given me many inspirations. The perspectives of my works such as << blanks project#3 Cosmos >>, << Diary of Soil >>, << Natural Observation, Forming of Nature >>, << room >>, and <<8' 17">> grew out of this rich soil. Ten years after the Great East Japan Earthquake, which triggered this project, I decided to show this small system to the publictill my death. This video piece is a composting system streamed in real-time. The stirring process is automated so that air can be contained, and the container is rotated at a very low speed.
On March 11, 2011, I realized many things I did not know. That led me to start experimenting with off-grid living infrastructure: water, toilets, and power generation. I tried to intrude into the world's material and energy cycles. It is pleasantly brutal to realize the smallness of the cycles possible for an individual. There is no "you" or "me" in this world of decomposition — the whole of what is processing and what is being processed moves forward by life activities. An infinite cycle of life and death continues to repeat simultaneously. However, it is quite easy to create this small universe. It is a simple composting process, where organic matter is added to fallen leaves and stirred moderately. The lead player, which is the aerobic microorganism, can be observed by warmth, touch, and smell. From the scent of the soft, deep soil, I can even imagine their emotions. In addition, the temperature of the soil can exceed the human body temperature to the point of emitting steam. On the other hand, if the soil is cold and stiff, the activity of the microorganism stagnates. After six months of daily stirring, including drying and grinding, the soil becomes an organic fertilizer that I use to grow herbs and vegetables at home. Every year, caterpillars eat the green leaves and become butterflies, and wild birds peck the fruits and leave behind their droppings. It is a luxury to be able to observe this part of the cycle up close. However, what I learned was not only about the awareness of the cycle of matters. I am not going into the muddy details, but it is also about the practice of obtaining water, toilets, and power generation using this life process, as well as a broader awareness of living that is connected to how to perceive death and the culture of sending the dead.
After ten years, as I look at the soil, I began to think about how I should address my body after I die. With the utmost respect for the various funeral cultures that have emerged from each climatic environment and the existing legal benefits, I would like to make my final statement. Based on my artistic practice and the science and technology that support it, I will present my ideas in the form of a legally valid will at a later date. This text is a draft of that will, stating that the concept of making soil and becoming a piece of that soil is a natural process to me.
Production cooperation: Yosaku Matsutani (research on funeral culture and testamentary law), Tomoya Watanabe (Web System)
Grants: Art Support Kansai, Kyoto City Urgent Incentive Fund for Cultural and Artistic Activities in the Wake of the New Coronavirus Infection, Agency for Cultural Affairs, Support for Continuing Cultural and Artistic Activities,
Kyoto Art Center Production Support Program