Before Object, After Image; Koshirakura Landscape 1996 - 2006
artist Shin Egashira
region 2 East (East)
index no. 12.2.01
about the media The book bundles information on 10 projects Shin Egashira organized in Koshirakura together with inhabitants and students.
about the project Architect and artist Shin Egashira was invited to visit Koshirakura, a village in a mountainous region north of Tokyo, as part of a plan to revitalise marginalised and ageing villages in the prefecture, in 1996. He has been back every year since to run a workshop that has slowly transformed the place through a mixture of temporary and permanent interventions.
Each summer for the past ten years the 81 mainly elderly inhabitants of the village were joined by a group of youths from the outside, becoming a part of their lives for three weeks, occupying the empty schoolhouse, visiting their homes and contributing to annual rituals such as the Grass-Cutting Day and Maple Tree Festival. When they left at the end of their stay, they had built a structure designed to improve the lives of the inhabitants.
The structures vary: inhabitants and students built a Summer Pavilion that can be reconfigured and unfolded along tracks to suit changing weather and the requirements of a number of community events. Other structures include a Bus Shelter that alters according to the seasons and a Communal Park and Watermelon Place. A disused sports hall is now home to After Image, 27 large glass plates on which are printed photographic images taken using a giant pinhole camera, Slow Box, during an 18-day voyage around local villages. Art and architecture / daily and professional life are combined this way through the whole project.
Some structures were destroyed by the 2004 Mid-Niigata earthquake, but all are preserved in the book through photographs, drawings and words that document their making. Texts by Shin Egashira are paired with poetic texts and diary fragments / reports written by the students and the villagers.
about artist and participants Egashira left the Tokyo University of Fine Arts to design furniture in New York in the early '80s, then moved on to London to study at the Architectural Association, where he now teaches. Egashira is an architect that favours traditional hand-built structures as a means of exploring the relationship between the body, the act of making and place. He developed these ideas further through collaborations with artist Tadashi Kawamata. His projects - a combination of art and architecture – explore the inhabitation of urban space and the formation of community in both London and Tokyo.
200 architectural students of 40 different nationalities were involved in the project; they worked together with all of the inhabitants of the village; a number that shrunk from 81 to 75 during the 10 years of the project. During those years they constructed 18 buildings next to the existing 25 houses.
organisations Book: AA Publications
sponsors A large number of sponsors in materials and skills (all listed on the cover of the book).