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.
A series of photographs from the journey,
people, antenas, and housing complex ware part of the cataloguing and documentation of the journey.
This series still going on.
This project is an attempt to shed light on unspoken words of many people and present them as authentic voices of the Japanese people. Trying to express the True Feelings And Sharing Them With Others Will Be A Precious Experience. Also, Reading And Embracing Messages Of Others Will Help People Gain Broader Perspectives On The World.
This Project Invites You To Write A Letter About Your Honest Feelings That Are Not Discussed In Mass Media , social media, or even among families and friends. It is an exploration of a possibility of communication that is profound interaction among strangers over generations and geographical areas.
Letters collected from all over Japan will ultimately be made into an art piece to be displayed as the hidden voices of the Japanese people.
Hikyaku letter, desks setting: The word “Hikyaku” means a courier during the Edo period in Japan. During this period, letters were hand-carried in a small wooden box.
During my journey around Japan, I became a Hikyaku. My job was to collect a handwritten letter and bring it to the next destination, an unknown destination for me and also for the previous writer. The receiver was also unknown by me until I met the person to whom I could pass the letter to be answered. The letter chain always went in one direction and never was there a return answer to a previous writer. This gives the opportunity for another person to read the previous person’s writing and to express freely. I feel that the idea of no one waiting for an answer opens and frees people’s mind to a new level and gives them a chance to share their feelings and listen to themselves.
This letter project will remain open.
It was important that the writers knew that they would not receive an answer. Likewise, I never knew the content of the letters as I was passing them along since I cannot write or read Japanese.
I am just a Hikyaku.
HIBAKUYA - Nagasaki atomic bomb survivor.
6 videos of 6 survivors and their stories of one single event.
Coincidently, I crossed the mountain into Nagasaki a day before the commemoration of the atomic bomb was drop in this city. The next day I was confronted with a reality of unexpected. After attending the 70th anniversary of the atomic bomb ceremony in Nagasaki and being in the front row seats, I decided to make a short simple film of 6 survivors’ (Hibakuya) histories before, during the detonation and also how they rebuild their lives until today.
Today many of the survivors have the mission to communicate to the world their story and promote peace and nuclear disarmament.
For this reason, I make special space during my project and just observe and document it to share it. There is no involvement of myself during the videos other than the placing of the camera and microphones.
STOP TIME CAPSULE TRAILER: Semi. (Cicada)
For Bridge Me Japan, Delponte has designed and built an ultra light-weight efficient trailer that is attached to his bicycle. The trailer is representative of a time capsule, a gathering site for information and material about a particular moment of history while supported by various technological communication devices and necessary gear for the trip.
The trailer is bound to Delivery and his travel by simple construction, pulled behind a fully manual mode of transportation, the bicycle.
Bridge Me Japan explores how and what kind of communication and interaction are essential for survival and efficiency in the road as a courier, exposing basic truths about human interaction as inspiration source.