reading chairs

The workshop began with a reading of the landscape based on its textural details. By extracting geomorphological codes we were able to see the direct link between the forms of the land and the forms of its inhabitation and cultivation – such as chumon tsukuri (thatched-roof house), yokoido (horizontal well-system) and mabu (earth-cutting technique for irrigation).

As an initial experiment we made a series of small models that were intended somehow to fit this landscape into our hands. We wanted to make a souvenir for someone close, like a grandmother living abroad, that would allow them to experience the landscape by touch rather than sight, in combination with narratives in the form of picture-less postcards.

Sequentially these non-scale, or perhaps one-to one, textural models speak about various conditions of the local economy as they are defined by the surface patterns carved out by geology. They reveal the process of negotiation between its sedimentary layers and natural climatic forces, showing how, for instance, the varying proportions of clay and sand give rise to different behaviours, switching from solid to fragile in response to moisture levels, weathering and degree of slope. Following a similar pattern, each of these small models begins to link to the others to create readings of the land.

In the second project 22 chairs were made for different locations, each chosen for its potential to open our bodies to the experiences offered by the hidden codes of the land. Later these sites were linked by the creation of a new footpath that connected the interior and exterior terrains of the community via segments of old and disused paths. A map was drawn as a guide, allowing one to follow this route and discover the series of hidden chairs for reading the landscape.