Recap Kyo machiya AiR
The Kyo machiya Artist in Residence gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in the machiya way of living, in the Kyoto way of life. During the residency I kept this blog to describe my experiences. In this period I visited in between 30- 40 machiya’s, from cafe’s to private residences, from office spaces to social businesses. Some perfectly preserved, some redeveloped in modern ways.
During my travels to Japan, I have been fascinated by both the ‘old’ and ‘new’ in Japanese culture and I have focussed on this during the residency. I have studied the recent developments surrounding the preservation and development of the kyo-machiya. And on the other hand, I studied recent trends and developments in Japan. My research gave me the possibility to meet professionals from different kinds: from neighbours to artists, architects, a robotics professor, historians, and designers. I’ve been talking to young people and to old people. To people who live in a machiya and to people who would like to live there.
Kyoto, like any other city it the world, is feeling the pressure of high-rises. Every day 2 machiya’s are being destroyed. So during my residency approximately 110 machiya’s are being destroyed: that’s more or less a whole block. Since this is happening scattered throughout Kyoto, it is a tragedy hidden in plain sight. This pace is unprecedented. In the final presentation in Kyoto I showed pictures made by Google Streetview next to pictures made by myself on the same spot. In between the moment Google made a photograph and the moment I made one, the machiya has already been destroyed and has been turned into a parking lot or building site. The ‘Machiya Memory game’ is made out of simular pairs and invites people to see for themselves how Kyoto’s landscape is changing.
What I found out in this short period, in these two months, is that the people in and outside Kyoto are trying to save their cultural heritage in many different ways as best as they can. To give these people an extra boost in their amazing efforts to find new ways to save machiya’s I organized a co-creative workshop using design thinking to help each other to re-think the future of machiya’s.
The Amsterdam exhibition started with a talk by Cesi and me about our experiences in Kyoto. The slides of my talk can be found on Prezi. For the Amsterdam exhibition I also added a video and a drawing.