Monday, June 14, 2010

functional structures

In trying to record everyday things before they become, well, everyday instead of interesting to me, I thought I'd note these three functional structures that all happen to be part of my morning walk to the studio. While walking and pondering the purpose of the Suga 7 and Suga 11 buildings,(turns out they're socializing multiplexes packed with tiny bars and restaurants on each floor - one has an outdoor deck, hence the trees) I looked down to get my bearings and noticed the thought-balloon-esque series of industrial orifices in the sidewalk. The odd confluence of organic forms with industrial functionality stuck in my brain for some reason. I'm working on a 3D drawing of Suga 7 in my studio now to try and work it out.

funwari cheese dog

Yesterday I didn't have time to pack myself lunch, so I walked over to a Daily convenience store around 1pm to get something to eat. Normally these shops are chock full of fish+rice balls, cheap bento boxes, and sealed off little pocket sandwiches full of peanut fluffernutter, but arriving after the lunch rush in downtown Yokohama meant that the place was picked CLEAN. As such, my options were limited. I found some snap pea crisps, my favorite bottled milk tea, and an intriguing snack food that looked like a cross between a waffle and a hot dog. It came in double-packs in one of two flavors: caramel or cheese. I went with the latter out of curiosity and a desperate craving for something cheddar-related, and found myself with a dense, sweet, mapley waffle thing with a core of some mild yellow stuff. Huh. I decided to start with that for my daily drawing. Why not? Here's a photo of the thing, and of the small cutout drawings I started working on. I hope to have a whole wall of such things by the end of the month. Itadakimasu!

ihoojin no me kara

This blog follows my practice of living, looking, eating and making things during a two-month artist residency in Yokohama, Japan (pictured here).

Ihoojin no me kara roughly means "from the eyes of a visitor," and that's where my work here will evolve from. As a visitor to a new place, everyday things like the way a stove works or the shape of a plastic spoon can seem strange and wonderful, and make you more aware of how things that might seem "ordinary" really might not be to someone visiting your own city. Yokohama was the port city that allowed Westerners in for international trade and cultural exchange for the first time a little more than 150 years ago, and that first vibrant cultural explosion is evident throughout the city in fascinating ways.

As an American in Japan more than a century later, I'm interested in what feels familiar and what doesn't, and how the two are intertwined. Things like these can teach us a lot about each other and about ourselves. More on that soon.