Koki Tanaka: a pottery produced by five potters at once (silent attempt)

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Koki Tanaka, a pottery produced by five potters at once (silent attempt), 2013 from Koki Tanaka on Vimeo.

The project is presented at abstract speaking – sharing uncertainty and collective acts the Japan Pavilion at 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia

HD video and potteries, 75min
Commissioned by The Japan Foundation and created with Vitamin Creative Space



Artist note:

If for example our lives were turned upside down by natural disaster, or for another reason, we would make our own decisions on how to deal with it, or join with someone else, helping each other to survive. I believe collaboration with others to be a fundamental issue for our society. Our lives are supported by the labor of others, built upon an accumulation of people’s collaboration: when we go to our office or factory or meet with neighbors, we collaborate, deal and negotiate with others. Collaboration is our everyday.

For this series of projects I wanted to identify purely collaborative moments/processes from among our regular activities. I think such moments and processes are especially notable in skills such as cutting hair, playing the piano, writing poetry, and making pottery.

Pottery-making invariably leads to silence during the process. Because they concentrate to build one piece of pottery using all their hands, participants need to forget themselves and just focus on making, like Wang Feng, as one participant, said. Therefore documentation of the process would mean capturing it as if it were an action without anybody – silent concentrative action.

This “nobody’s action” also includes the film crew’s actions. In a film production, the crew are always out of the frame: the perfect film is one in which no one notices there is a film crew behind the movie. The crew concentrates to shoot the scene in the same way as the potters forget themselves in the making process.

Everyone on site focuses on one thing: a collaborative moment of action. People may be there, but all of us disappear at some point, leaving only pure action.