Air for Everyone at Echigo Tsumari Art Field 2012
Art piece presented in 2012 Echigo Tsumari Art Field. Musical instruments were set up throughout a vacant house in a participatory art piece for visitors of the festival.
Working on an art piece might be very different from the usual work of most architects.
An architect is generally responsible for taking the requirements of a homeowner, the restrictions of the location as well as the applicable laws and regulations and putting them together like pieces of a puzzle to bring to life a new design.
On the other hand, in art, the focus needs to be on the message, the story and the feelings created for those appreciating the piece.
“Air for Everyone” was a unique art project presented at the Echigo Tsumari Art Field held in Niigata, Japan that made use of a vacant house.
Ryoji Iedokoro worked together with Ann Hamilton, the renowned American visual artist, on this piece aimed at evoking the feeling of breathing. Using the ideas and sketches presented by Ms. Hamilton as a basis, Ryoji contributed his input as a professional architect to help translate the ideas into a physical representation.
The concept of the art piece was to “breath life” into the vacant house.
The house, formerly the home of a metal craftsman, had various pieces of scrap metal lying around. Those pieces were used to create accordion-like musical instruments for the art piece. Using strings connected to the instruments set up throughout the different rooms in the one floor house, visitors could pull on the strings and cause the instruments to sound from throughout the house.
Although long gone, it’s as if the former resident left traces of his work on purpose to allow us to “breathe” a new life into this now vacant home. Additionally, with thin fabric resembling the gills of a fish covering the outside walls, the house seemed to literally come to life and breathe.
Ms. Hamilton’s work cleverly left room for different experiences by allowing the visitors to participate in finishing the piece. By having the visitors be the ones breathing the life into the work, it also took advantage of all five senses and allowed participants to feel the “life” at the heart of this piece’s concept.
Through this experience, visitors were able to see, hear and feel firsthand how everything we do is eventually connected to and has an impact on somebody else in a different place and time.
Inspired by his work on the project, Ryoji decided to visit Ms. Hamilton’s exhibition in New York and broaden his perspective by seeing the approach taken in similar kinds of conceptual abstract art projects.
Although architecture and art might seem like two completely different fields, both require a sense of creativity and flexible understanding of the human condition.
text by salta