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Artists’ Survival Methods
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Making Use of an Artist-in-Residence Program
Participating Artists in the Tokyo Wonder Site (TWS) Residency Program 
Kentaro Taki and Kenji Yamada

We talked with Kentaro Taki and Kenji Yamada, who took part in the Tokyo Wonder Site Residency 2016-2017 “C/Sensor-ed Scape” (April 15-May 28), an art exhibition of works created during the TWS Residency Program. The exhibition was held at the Tokyo Wonder Site Hongo. We asked the two artists about their ways of surviving by making use of the artist-in-residence programs.

Kentaro Taki (left) resided in Berlin for three months, and Kenji Yamada (right) in London for a month. Photo taken at the exhibition venue, Tokyo Wonder Site Hongo.
Photo: Shu Nakagawa

Kentaro Taki (left) resided in Berlin for three months, and Kenji Yamada (right) in London for a month. Photo taken at the exhibition venue, Tokyo Wonder Site Hongo.
Photo: Shu Nakagawa

The Application Process

Kenji Yamada (hereafter, Yamada)
I learned that the CCW College of the University of Arts London offers a residency program jointly with TWS, so I applied. With the support of two public organizations, I was able to realize a project at Millbank, a former prison site. The work was exhibited at the Tokyo Wonder Site Residency 2016-2017 “C/Sensor-ed Scape” (April 15-May 28).

Kentaro Taki (hereafter, Taki)
I engage with the local land and create my work there. In the past, my day job prevented me from doing long-term stays so I wasn’t able to do any in-depth research. But I since quit my job a few years ago, I decided to apply.

Advantages of the Residency

Yamada
TWS’s residency program does not require that you produce any work. You can use it to conduct research or find business opportunities.

Taki
I would return to my place of residency and record what happened that day, look things up on the Internet, and go back out for more research. By repeating this process, I was able to reconfirm the state of the world and the trends of the times.

Significance of Creating Work in Japan

Yamada
At the same time, there is benefits to creating work in Japan. Curators and critics in other countries look for things that can only be found in a particular place. How an artist does his work on a foundation he has built as the resident of the place he lives in, I believe, is an important factor when being evaluated by overseas sources.

Taki
Projects in Tokyo’s public spaces are challenging because they come with many restrictions, but in turn, they’re that much more rewarding.
In Japan, policies on art and culture have been in a state of “under construction” for a long time. This is probably why our attitudes toward survival are constantly being tested.

Kenji Yamada, Smurfed Remain, (C/Sensor-ed Scape, Tokyo Wonder Site Hongo, 2017)
A project in which a community meeting is held in the former Millbank Prison, which still exists in an underground space below a pub, and the meeting is hacked by a surveillance camera. In this exhibition, the work was presented as an installation.
Photo: Shu Nakagawa

Kenji Yamada, Smurfed Remain, (C/Sensor-ed Scape, Tokyo Wonder Site Hongo, 2017)
A project in which a community meeting is held in the former Millbank Prison, which still exists in an underground space below a pub, and the meeting is hacked by a surveillance camera. In this exhibition, the work was presented as an installation.
Photo: Shu Nakagawa

Kentaro Taki, Rinjin Rashikaranu (translation: “un-neighbor-like”)
(C/Sensor-ed Scape, Tokyo Wonder Site Hongo, 2017) Multiple figures projected onto the walls, columns, and frames of the space perform various movements. It is a video installation that offers the experience of “the others.”
Photo: Shu Nakagawa

Kentaro Taki, Rinjin Rashikaranu (translation: “un-neighbor-like”)
(C/Sensor-ed Scape, Tokyo Wonder Site Hongo, 2017) Multiple figures projected onto the walls, columns, and frames of the space perform various movements. It is a video installation that offers the experience of “the others.”
Photo: Shu Nakagawa

Taki, working in the studio in Berlin, where he did his residency.

Taki, working in the studio in Berlin, where he did his residency.

Taki, working in the studio in Berlin, where he did his residency.

The former Millbank Prison in London, where Yamada conducted his research in 2016. (right) A scene from the community meeting held there. (left)

The former Millbank Prison in London, where Yamada conducted his research in 2016. (right) A scene from the community meeting held there. (left)

The former Millbank Prison in London, where Yamada conducted his research in 2016. (right) A scene from the community meeting held there. (left)

(At the Tokyo Wonder Site Hongo. April 25, 2017. Original text by Emi Sato)

[What is an Artist-in-Residence Program?]
A program in which artists reside at a certain location in or outside of their home country for a set period of time to pursue their activities, or a system that supports such a program. In overseas countries, mainly in the West, such programs have been prevalent since the 1970s. Within Japan, efforts have been made mainly by local municipalities to offer residency programs since the 1990s, and today, almost 60 programs are available.
[Information on Artist-in-Residence Programs]

◎Comprehensive Database on Artist-in-Residence Programs for All of Japan
[AIR_J]
http://air-j.info

◎Art Travel Site for Artists
[Move Arts Japan]
https://movearts.jp

◎Information on Overseas Artist-in-Residence Programs
[Res Artis]
http://www.resartis.org/en/

Kentaro Taki
(Bilateral Exchange Program <Berlin> Residency period: July-September 2016)

Born in 1973. Graduated from the Master Course, Imaging Arts and Sciences, Musashino Art University in 1996. Spent 2002-2003 in Germany and studied media art under the Overseas Study Program for Young Japanese Emerging Artists sponsored by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs, then as a Pola Art Foundation overseas research artist.
http://www.takiscope.jp

Kenji Yamada
(Bilateral Exchange Program <London> Residency period: June-July 2016)
Born in 1983. Graduated from the Department of Fine Arts, Inter-media Art, Tokyo University of the Arts in 2008. Studied in England in 2016 as a Pola Art Foundation overseas research artist. Has held a post as a research associate at the Tokyo University of the Arts, and as a guest lecturer at the Central Saint Martins of the University of the Arts London. Currently works as a special researcher at the Tokyo University of the Arts.
http://yamadakenji.org