Like the Seto Inland Sea, Niigata’s countryside has experienced rapid depopulation over the last few decades, with devastating consequences to the local economy. The triennial started in 2000, led by general producer Soichiro Fukutake and general director Fram Kitagawa. This year marks its fourth edition, with 350 artworks scattered across 750 km2.
Disembarking in Echigo Yuzawa
We stayed at Sansho House, a school house converted into a lodging facility, with bunkbeds and homemade meals with local ingredients.
Next time, maybe we’ll try for Dream House By Marina Abranovic. Guests sleep in wooden boxes with crystal pillows wearing special pajamas designed by the artist. The next morning they write their dreams in a book embedded in the bed.
Planning. . .
On the first day, we had a tasty vegan lunch prepared by local oba-sans at Jean-Luc Vilmouth’s “Cafe Reflet”, a cafeteria furnished in all sky blue, with mirrored table surfaces.
A group fav was Junichi Kurakake + Nihon University College of Art Sculpture “Shedding House”. An old, unused house was meticulously carved on every surface, including the wooden sandals in the entranceway.
For “The Last Class”, Christian Boltanski＋Jean Kalman repurposed an entire school in a dark meditation on the absence of human presence.
One room reproduces the rhythm of actual human heartbeats using massive vibrating speakers and a single incandescent bulb:
Until next year!