12.13 Thu 19:00 START
On December 13th, 2018, INTERSECT BY LEXUS – TOKYO hosted a special talk to mark the opening of a new installation, “Modified Paradise,” at the Minami-Aoyama venue. The creative team behind the installation, ANOTHER FARM, a new art group formed by Hiromi Ozaki (Sputniko!) and Masaya Kushino, were joined by Masataka Hosoo, the twelfth-generation head of the textile crafts company HOSOO, which supplied the traditional Nishijin-ori fabric used in the “glowing silk” exhibits. The talk kicked off with a welcoming address by Lexus International’s Yoshimitsu Miyanaga: “LEXUS feels a unique resonance with both the approaches of the creative talent behind this exhibition as well as the theme. We are delighted to support the debut installation by ANOTHER FARM.”
The talk started with a discussion about the newly formed art group’s background. Ozaki, who is better known for her work as Sputniko!, explained that with this project she wanted to do something as an artist in a different way to her usual output. “The ‘FARM’ in our name comes, of course, from the English word, but to which we added the nuance of ‘ANOTHER’—that is, a way of living from an alternative world, one that is not here yet.” Kushino concurred. “ANOTHER FARM was launched so that we could work in ways that are not bound by the conventions of what we normally do. Rather than just supplementing each other’s work, though, we are resonating with one another by suggesting new ideas and approaches. It is like we are accelerating things.”
Exploring the interrelations between technological progress, life, and humankind, the “Modified Paradise” exhibits in the ground floor Garage space comprise sculptural works inspired by such animals as cats and chickens as well as a dress made with Nishijin-ori fabric incorporating finely cut gold leaf and glowing silk created from genetically modified silkworms. Enclosed in a massive frame, around the bottom of the dress are moving rabbit toys that likewise feature the glowing Nishijin-ori fabric.
“The title references the idea of modifying,” Ozaki said. “Of course, we don’t know yet if genetic modification will lead to paradise or something quite different. What we are hinting at is this rather ambiguous world. We are using a type of genetically modified silk for the places that glow in the darkness. But this isn’t exactly new. For example, if we look back at history, cross-breeding and cross-fertilization has led to changes in bonsai, golfish, cats, dogs, and even morning glory.” Kushino further developed this train of thought. “Selective breeding has been popular in Japan since the Edo period and the cherry blossom and chrysanthemum we know and enjoy today are the results of a perhaps particularly Japanese pursuit of beauty. Prior to the issues of rules and ethics, it is something that came about from our aesthetic demands. The dress and animal-themed exhibits for this installation are contained within a frame, which represents the fact that they are controlled by people in the same way that human genes and animals and plants are. We are expressing through the whole installation space the reality that people, too, are controlled by other humans.”
Hosoo provided an explanation of the Nishijin-ori fabric employed in the installation, which is an original synthesis of contemporary technology and traditional craftsmanship. “It employs the glowing silk made by modifying the DNA of silkworms along with some partial use of gold leaf. It’s like mixing the cutting edge in genetic modification technology with traditional techniques.” This resulted, however, in serious challenges for the project. “During the dyeing process, silk thread always requires heat. But the glowing silk has protein in it that will break down and turn pure white when heated to temperatures of around 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit).”
At the end of the talk, the guests touched on ANOTHER FARM’s future plans. “Hosoo is usually working on Nishijin-ori, while Kushino is designing shoes,” Ozaki remarked. “But when we get together and talk, what’s interesting is that each of us is actually working very widely and in ways that are not confined by our respective fields. This attitude of wanting to do anything and everything is simply the best. We are now working on a new project and also have a plan to do something set in space or in the sea.” “I’m interested in space,” Hosoo expanded. “In space, special bacteria grow and human skin can easily become rough in such an environment. When it comes to developing materials that can prevent those bacteria from growing, fabric could be a potential option for creating a ‘second skin.’ This project brought together biotechnology and Nishijin-ori, and I want to continue trying things that look towards the future.”
Kushino then brought the talk to a close. “ANOTHER FARM is the intersection of various elements. Instead of ‘it must be like this,’ I want to always keep trying fresh approaches.”
This interdisciplinary fusion of technology, art, fashion, and traditional crafts marks a new and exciting departure. As the talk finished, all the attendees in the packed venue buzzed with anticipation for the next creative frontiers that ANOTHER FARM will reveal.
“Modified Paradise” Glowing Silk Installation by New Art Group ANOTHER FARM
LEXUS Crafted (Japanese only)
CRAFTED FOR LEXUS
LEXUS New Takumi Project (Japanese only)
LEXUS Collection (Japanese only)
MN Collection (Japanese only)
Lexus Design Award