Water Ekiden Project
Manosegawa River Art Project, Kagoshima, Japan 1999
80,000 Liter Water Box, Kawaguchi, Japan 2003-2004
Water's-Eye/Shibakawa Reclamation Art Project, Kawaguchi, Japan 2005
Water's-Eye in Manosegawa River Art Project
Most important project of Water Ekiden extending along axis of space is Manosegawa River Art Project which succeeded in uniting four districts located along the Manosegawa River and its branches.
Manosegawa River with an overall length of about 26km is flowing across the south of Kyushu Island into the East China Sea. Manosegawa River flowing across the rural region looks like not so bad but rather clean river. But actually various streams of waste waters are flowing into the river; for example, waste water from the houses in the basin, waste liquid from the starch factory, effluence of excreta from the pig farms and more.
However, local communities located along the Manosegawa and its tributaries have never had such experiences as they collaborated to tackle facing issues. The cause seems to be based on differences of cultural backgrounds lying deeply among communities. Aiming to encourage communities to work together for water issues beyond differences, we need to find a new perspective on correlated view between social and natural systems.
Over a couple of years I have organized a series of talks with people in four local communities located along the Manosegawa and its tributaries, focusing on the collective responsibility for the river.
---Even if getting cleaned water under your water, you have to recognize, your clean water is getting contaminated in a minute when some kind of dirty waste water flow into from the upper streams of the river. And then you must appeal to the community people living along the upper streams to keep clean water in cooperation. However, when contaminated water flow into the streams from the branches, your efforts to reserve the clean river may not been rewarded enough. And then you keenly realize the necessity of cooperation with all community people in the basin of the river----
This simple viewpoint led to the creation of a series of ┼gwater stations,┼h produced in collaboration with the residents of four different districts, and related to the storage and transfer of rain water, spring water, purified water and water for agricultural irrigation. Through Manosegawa River Art Project uniting different regions, you can find one of characteristic feature of the Water╣s-Eye View.
I believe that the Water Ekiden Project prompted to create a new cycle of the human environment through Art. Different from the centripetal forces such as centralized culture, this project was based on vital forces that cross borders, and expanded forces that form links- a new cycle of the human environment combining social and natural systems.
|Shibakawa Reclamation Art Project, Kawaguchi|
|Manosegawa River Art Project.
|┼üEfont face="Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular" size="+1" color="#124cb4">Water╣s-Eye in Shibakawa Reclamation Art Project
'80 liters of water' implies 'Water as Basic Human Right', and is the minimum ration needed to support the daily life of each person living on the Earth. However, according to the report, three fourth of the world population can use only 50 liters of water or less because of low water supply.
Through showing '80 liters Water Box' as one of the standards of an ecologically sustainable future, I continued to ask viewers; Imagine life in 2025 AD when 48 countries on the Earth are projected to suffer from water shortages. Suggesting that any structures be transformed into Water Station for the future, I realized several programs to convert unused rooms and old structures into │80,000 liters Water Boxes▓ for loading water indispensable to daily life for 1,000 people. I make sure these helped the local communities to raise consciousness working towards a ecologically sustainable future.
In progress of spreading our activities with wish to transform various spaces into îWater Box╣ which can store │Water for the Future▓, we have been just facing serious water contamination of Shibakawa River, the river flowing in the center of Kawaguchi city, north to Tokyo.
Shibakawa, flowing across the streets of Kawaguchi, used to have a
close connection to the citizen life. While iron foundries were prosperous, Shibakawa was busily utilized as the route to transport raw materials and
products. On the other hand, the residents along the river had been bothered by the floods occurring because of the low grounds. And, through a series of river conversation works, the flow of Shibakawa was changed partly into the newly constructed canal. As the result, the downstream of Shibakawa with a length of about 5.8 kilometers was cut off from the mainstream on 1965. Both water gates, standing at the upper and the lower sides, have been kept shut down. After that the flood problem seems to be almost solved, but the serious problem of polluted water occurred. This part of river flowing in the center of the city is an area crowded by houses and various kinds of factories. Flowing waste water into the river caused to accelerate water pollution of Shibakawa. And Shibakawa became a flowless sewer polluted ditch.
Some journalist says that Shibakawa must be one of the worst river flowing just through the center of the city. For river improvement, administrative organs had already carried out almost all technologies; dredging sludge, purification by sewage disposal facilities, reconstruction
of the riversides etc. But water seems more polluted in spite of these modern technologies. Frankly peaking, Shibakawa goes beyond modern technologies carried out for the river improvement. The cause of the problems is a lack of │wisdom and technology▓ demanded for the │Water for the Future.▓ I organized Shibakawa Reclamation Art Project in collaborative partnership with several activity groups in the local communities and we made a through investigation of actual condition of the river over 6 months.
What we are worrying before anything else is to be unaware of this dreadful water issues existing insides urban life. Now several sites of dry riverbed are under construction with the object of helping the local people to live close to the river. However, dirty and ill-smelling water tend to strength unfamiliar relations with the river in their minds. Aiming to achieve reclamation of Shibakawa, we work together with the local communities to share the assumption that the river is not some gift given by the administrative organ but is what╣s created by the local people themselves.
What is │wisdom and technology▓ demanded for the │Water for the Future▓? Without hesitation, I selected │Water╣s-Eye▓ as a theme of the Shibakawa Reclamation Art Project. We must emphasize our creative way based on the │water box▓ was extremely effective in investigating this abandoned river. We grasped a part of river between bridges as one │water box▓ and succeeded in describing the obscure appearance of the whole river as îconnection of 17 water boxes╣.
Standing on the Water╣s-Eye View, I focused my attention on how to illustrate correlation between the water life in the river and the human life along the river. In case of seeing the river in our ordinary life, we can take four viewpoints in our ordinary life.
1) view from a bridge located in the upper stream
2) view from a bridge located in the lower stream
3) view from the right riverbank
4) view from the left riverbank
I recognized the Water╣s-Eye View can show these four points of view into oneness. The Water╣s-Eye View, I can define, is a viewpoint seen on the same level of water as if the water ripple is expanding towards the whole directions. In another word, it is supposed to be a viewpoints which can illustrate views with 360 degrees.
This way of │meeting water╣s life and human life▓ enabled us and local people to understand the whole river they have never recognized.
|Manosegawa River Art Project, Kagoshima, Japan 1999|
|Different from the centripetal forces such as centralized culture, this project was based on vital forces that cross borders, and expanded forces that form links- a new cycle of the human environment combining social and natural systems.
|For more details on project,
please click here.
|80,000 Liter Water Box, Kawaguchi, Japan 2003-2004|
|It's appealing that any place will steadily function as the starting point for forwarding water for 1000 people╣ to next generation living on the future Earth.|
|For more details, please click here.|
|Water's-Eye/Shibakawa Reclamation Art Project, Kawaguchi, Japan 2005|
|This long-term project, grappling with water pollution of Shibakawa river flowing in the center of the city, started from grasping flowless stream with both ends shut down as some kind of Water Box. We believe our experiences through Water Box project will certainly be very effective for Shibakawa Reclamation art project. We call this new viewpoint on environment üEWater╣s-Eye╣.|
|For more details, please click here.|
Since September 2004, Shibakawa Reclamation Art Project are making steady progress under the joint auspices of Kawaguchi Art Factory and Kawaguchi-Jyuku who are making efforts for culture conservation in Kawaguchi. The chief activities during 2005 are as follows;
1) mapping on Water╣s-Eye view/ showing the whole river as îintersection among water
environment and human environment▓
2) investigation by Blue Cards/ investigation of inflows from sewages into the river and outflows
from the river in collaboration with local people
3) Round exhibitions at 6 sites in Kawaguchi/ in characteristic structures including the former
foundry, gallery in shopping street, recycling center, science museum for children etc.
4) Shibakawa Relay Talk/ Workshop and panel-discussion for studying history and culture on
Based on Water's-Eye View as a new perspective on correlated view between social and natural systems surrounding human life, we are making the most of wisdom and technology demanded for the Water for the Future.