Water Mirror / Water Cave Harp
ART-MOVE in Okurayama
Okurayama Memorial Hall, Yokohama, Japan
July 25-August 7, 1987
I'd like to introduce "free and soft breaths" into the thick and hard structure. Then, another "Water Mirror" should be installed on the "blank space" in the structure, for example, in the courtyard.
Listen to the Secret Sound occurring in the structure.
<Water Mirror-negative type> was arranged in the courtyard surrounded by the circulating system gallery, by filling up the space with water.
This Water Mirror installed within the building, namely the ³negative type² had different functions compared to the 'positive type'. The one outside enabled the waves to rise up into the air, whilst the one within the building helped us to discover the environmental structure in the ground, into which the water was going back to. We adjusted the amount of water of the Water Mirror to drip down into the ground through the several deep drains located in the courtyard, then used a microphone to catch the sound of the falling water echoing in the deep hole, and then amplified it to the outside of the building. The sound of the water and the water wave from the Water Mirror in the frontyard mutually effected each other, and enabled to give the surrounding environment with ²fertile breaths.²
Also, through learning that this device of the sound of the water had something in common with the traditional landscape gardening skill called 'Sui-kin-kutsu' (Water Cave Harp), I felt that I had abstractly touched our countryıs long history about our viewing of nature.
device of water cave harp in the Water Mirror installation
Waterıs Reflection on Nature

Okurayama Memorial Hall in Yokohama. A building typical of early Showa era architecture. Last summer, in front and central yards of this building there were two distinctly different Water Mirrors.
The type in the front garden is referred to as a 'positive type.' While reflecting the surrounding architecture and scenery, it projects out onto the building ripples born on its water's surface.
Rustling wind, falling leaves, the clapping
of birds' wings ­ these subtle changes in nature
resonate and the buildingıs reflection on the
water trembles. Buildings are normally solid
and their nature resists movement, but as they
are swaying and vibrating in the Water Mirrors, a
humanness appears. An easy breathings extended
beyond massive walls of the structure.²

In the central garden is a ³negative type² Water
Mirror. It faces the earth and the world under-
ground. Sounds can be heard as water trickles
down drains built into the mirror. Echoes from
underground hollows are picked up by a micro-
phone and the amplified water sounds reverberate
outside the building.
³The important concept behind the Water Mirror
is not in its being a vessel, for it has no bottom
to definite it as such. A water mirror exists within
natural boundaries formed by the amassing of
trees, rocks, clay and other matter. Some of the
water evaporates and some settles to join under-
ground currents. Using this circulatory system,
I wanted to create conditions under which we
could closely experience natureıs arrangement.²
The creation of water sounds in the negative
mirror is inspired by a drainage device called
Œsuikinkutuı, once traditionally used in Japanese
gardens. It places overturned ceramic vats into
the ground. Through a hole at the top, water
drains into the earth and the dripping sounds,
the water sounds, are made aesthetically alive.
Ikedaıs method of dealing with water is in
community with a Japanese appreciation of

³The Western way of thinking is based on the
control of nature, a mastery over its process.
This is also carried over to thinking on acts of
This not only relates to nature but also to
their attitude towards water: control waterıs
energy, obstruct it and master over it. The
Japanese view on the other hand, seeks to
coexist with nature in a mutually beneficial way.
³This can be seen in some of the breakwater
designs in Japan. They illustrate both a natural
and functional approach to water management.
They are not solely based on logic and practicality.
Waterıs energy is absorbed, moderated and
allowed to resonate. In a manner of speaking,
they give birth to an interactive relationship
between water, technology and mankind.²
It is especially important to recognize this
symbiotic, mutual relationship ­the connection
between mankind and nature. How do we take
the environment that encompasses us and splice
it into our scheme of action?
The Water Mirror, as it raises manifold quest-
ions, quivers.

(extract from Kurita Water News "AQUALOG" No.29,1988)

Water Mirror with Water Cave Harp overlooked from the tower of the Hall
performance in the Water Mirror installed on the courtyard
Sui-kin-kutsu (Water Cave Harp)

It used to be one of the old landscape gardening skills, but now it hardly exists. A pot with a little hole in the bottom is buried upside-down into the ground. Water works itıs way through the pebbles into the grounds to the hole of the pot, and then drips into the staying water. The sound of water echoing inside the pot sounded like a Koto (a kind of harp) being played. This is the origin of the name. It is a unique device in which reverberates an exquisite sound of the water in the earth.