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Beppu Art Month 2011 Earthscape Exhibition: Researching the Vegetation of Beppu

Earthscape has rented an old wooden apartment in Beppu since 2010, and has used it as its lab to study the relationship between people and the environment through research on the vegetation, history, and origin of the 2.7 x 3.6 m space itself.

The thoughts behind this project was that we need a deeper understanding of the characteristics of both natural environments and communities when looking upon the future of the planet. And, by deepening our understanding of the environment around us, we can better address environmental problems of a global scale.

Earthscape explain their research like this:
Since when has Beppu had this landscape? Learning the answers to the secrets hidden here might help us discover a new way of relating to the natural world. At Earthscape Lab, we conduct research that will (possibly) help to improve the human imagination, through experiments on the environmental compatibility of plants and animals, researching of artifacts, and geological surveys. During Beppu Art Month, we make special arrangements to lift the veil and open Earthscapeʼs research and development workplace to the general public, as the Earthscape Open Lab.

“Our original inspiration for the ʻon-ikuʼ project came relatively intuitively. I had always thought that the plants in Beppu seemed strong somehow. And I had a feeling it was either the power from Beppuʼs geological treasure, the onsen, or the power from some unique ingredient found in the onsen water. I thought that by researching living creatures and people here, we could also research the ʻfuture beyond.ʼ This is how we arrived at this installation.

I have a hunch that the research and experiments weʼre doing will help us perceive information around us that is often easy to overlook. Who knows? A clue to help us understand the origin of our lives and the future of the world could be hidden in the stones we kick around on the street, or in the weeds on the roadside.

We try to examine history and ecology in a manner similar to the quadrat method in a room in the Kiyoshima Apartments, specifically a small area 2.7 x 3.6 m separated from the city of Beppu. Studying the various aspects of the history of the city, ʻBeppu,ʼ that we live in, might provide us with glimpse of the future, or show us how we can forge better relationships between people, nature, and the city going forward.

I feel that the only way to know the future is to first know the past, and then to know the present. Itʼs called kougengaku (ʻthe study of modern social phenomenaʼ) in Japanese. I believe that carrying on our research in a small room in the Kiyoshima Apartments will lead us to answers about Beppu, Oita, and the world. This is why I believe in our continued research”, says Eiki Danzuka from Earthscape.

Earthscapeʼs concept in the Kiyoshima Apartments “Earthscape Lab” is to research the relationship between people, nature, and the city in a 2.7 x 3.6 m space. In Beppu Art Month in 2010, Earthscape conducted a project entitled “Dissecting Beppu”, where they performed an excavation survey to unravel the history and origin of the 2.7 x 3.6 m space, and presented its results as an installation. In Beppu Art Month 2011, they present the actual process of the vegetation survey as an exhibit.

Installation Information: Beppu Art Month 2011 Exhibition Program Earthscape Open Lab “On-iku” 1 November – 4 December, 2011 at Earthscape Lab/Kiyoshima Apartment#1 2-27 Suehirochou Beppu city, Oita, Japan.

All photographs by Yusuke Komatsu from Earthscape

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