viernes, 29 de noviembre de 2013

Tape Tokyo: A Postmodern, Profane Parasite

PingMag : Art, Design, Life - from Japan

When I arrive at Spiral and walk towards its famous, chapel-like postmodern atrium designed by Fumihiko Maki, I hear something very peculiar. Above the sounds of the sophisticated diners chattering in the tony cafe space there come these regular ripping noises. It takes me a second before I realise what it is the distinct sound of long, powerful tape being unrolled and prepared.A parasite has infected Spirals atrium, and its both an industrial and organic life form. It sticks to the walls; it hangs in the air. It is transparent but far from being weak. It is Tape Tokyo, the site-specific installation made by Numen/For Use, the Croatian-Austrian design and architect unit, using only large lines of adhesive tape to form a sort of huge cocoon.Photo: Junpei KatoTwo of the trio who make up Numen/For Use were in Japan earlier this autumn for Net Blow-up Yokohama, a walk-in balloon-like installation set up along the seafront for the Smart Illumination Yokohama 2013 event of public light artworks.Numen/For Uses Net Blow-up Yokohama at Smart Illumination Yokohama 2013. Photo: AMANO STUDIOHere is what you missed.Now Sven Jonke has arrived to take their place and oversee the creation of this Tokyo version of Tape, a spectacular celebration of what adhesive tape can achieve. Everything is done with lines, just lines of tape, he explains in a break during the final days of the production work. This profane material gets re-valuated.The materiality of the installation still fascinates him. Tape is a perfect material. It has a lot of strength. The structure is so strong because of the natural curves. He explains that no computer calculations are used. The team just experiment as they build over the days.Tape Tokyo being created at Spiral Garden. Photo: Junpei KatoTape is certainly an underrated material. We use it every day but rarely do we see it like this, naked and employed for its own sake, and as art. Tape is a one-dimensional shape that is here unwound, connected to points and transformed into two dimensions and finally, as it is built up over the days, into a three-dimensional life form that audiences can even enter inside. Ultimately, it is not so dissimilar to how a spider spins a web. Our tape is like silk, quips Jonke, but it is only half a joke.And though the placing of this cocoon in the postmodern space of Spiral might seem a little unlikely at first, is actually quite appropriate, he says. This kind of object is very pretentious and this fits to this kind of ritual architecture. In the past, Tape has been created in attics, cathedrals and outdoors in public squares. It is, he says, like a parasite depending on the structure and upon the architecture. This is what makes it always different.Sven Jonke discussing the creation of Tape Tokyo at Spiral. Photo: Junpei KatoOne thing is the same every time: The production process is intensive and arduous. To give one example, Tape Belgrade in 2010 involved 300 hours work (six people over five days) and 1,000 rolls of transparent tape (50km, 86kg). We always do it with local people and it becomes almost like a workshop. We become very close, say Jonke. At the end it is euphoric. Everyone is always so proud of what we have done with our hands. For the Spiral installation, the work-in-progress (November 18th to November 24th) was open to the public. The completed installation is on display until December 4th, during which time visitors can also go inside the cocoon.On the one hand it is a lot of work, and on the other hand you have the ephemerality of the project. Numen/For Use have created their Tape installations over a dozen times but, though they have conquered the major European cities (Berlin, London, Florence, Vienna) and few others further afield (Melbourne), this marks their first solo exhibition in Asia.Visitors can go inside the tape cocoon. Photo: Junpei KatoNumen/For Use started in industrial design and also dabble in scenography (for which they have won several awards). Likewise, Tape straddles definitions. Is it gallery art or public art? Is it a spatial installation or architecture? It actually began life as a stage performance, where dancers marked their trajectories with tape, slowly building up a shape. In this tradition, Spiral is hosting a special free dance performance directed by Un Yamada on November 29th which will utilize the unique space created by Tape Tokyo.It is very interesting for choreographers to use it as an opportunity to move inside. Tape and the net installation are very much to do with movement and imbalance, says Jonke.The completed Tape Tokyo installation at Spiral Garden in Aoyama.If you missed the work-in-progress stage of the installation, you can also catch up with it via Spirals augmented reality app (iOS / Android). Download it to your handset and then hold it over the appropriate page in Spiral Paper #134, the venues freepaper, and you will be able to see sped-up footage of the tape cocoon being stuck together.Numen/For Use, Tape TokyoUntil December 4thVenue: Spiral Garden



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