During residency at Youkobo Art Space Tokyo in 2017, I had open studio for five days. Anyone could visit between noon and 7pm to see my work and chat about ideas. Over tea I conversed with visitors and asked them to complete a short questionnaire. Two questions asked for a description of their garden if they had one, or green space they visit if not; and values they felt plants contribute in their everyday lives. This cultural exchange reflected on relationship to environment, providing poignant and personal responses to simple questions.
Many of the responses were translated from Japanese to English for me, creating a more poetic language. I selected quotes that interested me, somewhere lost in translation, these responses had become a bit like small haikus. I imagined an image to match with each quote, selecting from plants and green space I’d seen during residency, along with motifs I use in my practice for feelings like energy.
When I returned home after residency I asked friends to complete the same questionnaire. I was interested to see similarities and differences in response – to form a cultural exchange or conversation about what green space and plants mean to us. Calm/ relax/ peace, has been a universal comment in Tokyo and Australia.
Photo: Carl Warner. Courtesy of the artist and Onespace Gallery.