Bridge Me Japan
I cycled throughout, Japan from North to South, to understand the mechanisms and values of communication, adaption, and evolution.
In the seventeen century the poet Basho set out on foot across Japan, composing Haiku. These Haiku were inspired by nature and the civilization that he encountered along his path.
For the Bridge Me Japan (BMJ) project, I traversed Japan by bicycle, embracing ancient and modern technological methods of communication and collapsing barriers between seemingly isolated and drifting cultural systems. Through interactions with inhabitants, I served as a courier of information from place to place and from generation to generation. My intention through this process was to challenge preconceived ideas of the exotic and explore the different layers of society through transference and cultural communication.
Beginning in Fujisawa, I traveled to the islands of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. To the Southern most island of the Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa. I then continued the journey across the Japanese archipelago to the island of Hokkaido.
Date of departure: 5 September 2014, 9:00 a.m. Place of departure and arrival: Fujisawa City Hall
The project centered around communication, adaptation, and evolution.
This phase of the project considered ancient and modern strategies of adaptation distinct to human experience. How humans from different generations must, and do, adapt to cultural, psychological, social, and environmental changes. How changing communication strategies both assist, and hinder, speeds and abilities of adaptation.
My intention was to create links between dramatically widening gaps of how people relate and their cultural mores. How these gaps between generations are created by rapid development of technological communication and a major urbanization of youth in Japan.
These links were built via interpersonal communication, social media and film.
This phase of the project considered the possibility of a Utopian community exploiting methods of globalized communication that are able to transcend national, generational, cultural, language, and geographical borders.
I designed and built an ultra light trailer for my bicycle. The trailer acted as a time capsule. A site for storing information and material collected on the journey: The Hikyaku project, videos, paintings, photographs, performances, sculptures, writing and interactive networks.
The Hikyaku Letter
During the journey, I solicited hand-written letters from individuals to be later read to individuals from different generations at subsequent stops. This Hikyaku Letter exchanges went only in one direction across the country. Writers never received an answer to their own letters. These hand-written letters encouraged communication between generations. I acted as a courier as did the “Hikyaku”—the messengers for centuries in Japan, The Hikyaku Letter project transcended the complex barriers built between generations with the rise of electronic communications technologies, which have served to isolate older generations.