Before Object, After Image : Koshikura Landscape 1996-2006
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Each summer for the past ten years the AA's Shin Egashira has organized a workshop in the remote village of Koshirakura, in a mountainous region north of Tokyo. Each summer, the 81 mainly elderly inhabitants of the village are joined by a youthful horde of outsiders who become part of their lives for three weeks, occupying the empty schoolhouse, visiting their homes, and contributing to annual rituals such as the Grass-Cutting Day and Maple Tree Festival. When they leave at the end of their stay, the young people leave behind a structure designed to improve in some way the lives of the inhabitants. The past ten years have seen a gradual accumulation of extraordinary and strangely beautiful structures. Their singularity is hinted at by their names: Watermelon Platform, Bus Shelter, Roof for 200, Festival Vehicles, Azumaya, Stargazing Platform . . . Some structures were destroyed by the 2004 Mid-Niigata earthquake, but all are preserved here through photographs, drawings and words that document their making. Texts by Shin Egashira are paired with diary extracts—some poetic, some humorous—written by the students and villagers.