Research Art project in Tokyo Bay area: Part 1

Tokyo Bay is one of the highest populated and most designed coastlines in the world. Around the bay lies the metropolitan of Tokyo with city as Yokohama, Kawasaki and Chiba as neighbors of the capital of Japan. Trading routes over land, sea and through the air shaped and influenced its geography and architecture as nowhere else. For hundreds of years, millions of people life, work and travel on a daily base in this designed landscape. The presence of industries, services and the transfer of goods and raw materials draw the coastline.

Tokyo Bay from the waterside

In October 2022 I started a research-art project in the Tokyo Bay area with a focus on urban planning and social-cultural developments under the influence of trading. In five weeks I visited and studied diverse sites, neighborhoods and communities and geographical, planned elements along the bay-line.

Mikoshi in Tsurumi Ono, Yokohama

As an research-artist I want to get insights on topics that are mingled on quests that concern us all, like how one can understand the ever-changing world and what can we do to improve our own city or neighborhood. Along the way of researching I zoomed in on 4 specific questions:

  1. What is the relationship between the residents and the water in the canals, rivers and the Bay?
  2. How is that relationship shaped by urban planning?
  3. What is the influence of geo-politics on this since the Meiji-period?
  4. What does this mean for the future?
Site between residential and industrial areas near the coastline in Koyasudori, Yokohama

These topics will be further researched and elaborated in 2023 and will result in a presentation, exhibition and a story. This is planned in the end of 2023 in Yokohama and Tokyo, exact details will follow.

For reflection and support I am assistant by scholars out of the field of geography, urban planning, port cities and local and geo-political history. In addition, I have a lot of contact with local communities and organizations, in particular with the people that life and work in the neighborhoods of Tsurumi (Ono) in Yokohama, Shin Kawasaki in Kawasaki and Shibaura in Tokyo. Several translators, locals and artists helped me on my way.

Walking tour about urban planning and canals in Shibaura , Tokyo with Jinnai Hidenobu

This project is supported by the art-organizations Zou No Hana Terrace in Yokohama, Spiral in Tokyo and the Dutch Embassy in Tokyo. In 2022 it was programmed as a side-project of weTREES 2022, a long term community art program from Zou No Hana Terrace and partners.