Two Passageways

Two Passageways (2007), Salt, antique bathtub, porcelain, quarter-inch audio tape, sound and video. Dimension variable

An antique bathtub is placed on a landscape of salt in the portico passageway. A gown trimmed with lace and recycled quarter-inch audiotape covered a hand-built ceramic torso the size of the artist. This torso occupied a space close to the tub, and was also placed on the landscape of salt. Scrolling text of a poem was projected onto the water contained in the tub. Sound recordings of bathing ritual emerged from below the tub, causing it to resonate. The processed sound of the water diffused from both ends of the passageway, defining the entire space.
Two Passageways, a site-specific mixed media installation, was presented at the Signal Flow Festival in February 2007 in the outside portico of the Mills College Music Building. It was inspired by the Spanish colonial revival architecture of the building and the history of Mills College as the Young Ladies Seminary founded in 1852. The ritualistic and self-questioning gesture within the installation portrays my personal response to the site as a Japanese artist born into a family of artists and priests.

Planted along the long rectangular portico, the camellia trees were bearing red flowers. They are indigenous to Eastern Asia and I remember seeing them vividly in my grandparents’ garden every winter. The building’s two wings bridged by this portico had symbolic European and Islamic architectural influences on the each portal. It was eloquent to me, as a Japanese artist, to situate the installation in this portico. During the time that this piece was conceived, the conflict between the US and the Middle East was a significant feature of the geopolitical landscape. While not specifically referenced in the appearance of the work, I responded to this volatile issue by creating a reflective, meditative installation.

watch video here

[Excerpt: Processed sound of the artist’s ritual bathing, spatialized in stereo for the 50 ft portico passageway.]
Signal Flow Festival 2007, Mills College, Oakland, CA