Yoshiaki Kaihatsu (JPN)

Exhibition project of the artsprogram / Zeppelin University

Sponsored by Baden-Württemberg Stiftung, Fränkel Stiftung, and Sparkasse Bodensee

08 | 03 - 10 | 05 | 2019

»Islands of Freedom«

What does freedom mean in the 21st century? What value is attached to it in times in which we expose ourselves voluntarily to total digital surveillance? What is the status of our personal, political and legal understanding of freedom? Can art and science still be considered retreats of freedom? These are questions that the artsprogram will address in spring 2019 under the headline "Islands of Freedom".

Alongside with a number of other artists and scientists, Japanese artist and activist Yoshiaki Kaihatsu was invited to design an island of freedom for ZU. Since Kaihatsu's works aim at cooperative formations and reinterpretations of a concrete social environments, his Island of Freedom is not a simple cliché of the lonely island. Rather, the Japanese activist creates a space for Friedrichshafen that looks and feels like a futuristic extra-terrestrial living room and invites the local community to deal with all kinds of questions of freedom in the 21st century. Kaihatsu proposes a spaceship for freedom of speech that inspires collective freedom of thought and will reshape the rituals of university communication and protocols of expression.

Together with students, staff and guests, Kaihatsu transforms the University’s exhibition space into an "Island of Freedom" and a ten-week performance platform. Within an environment covered in artificial polar bear fur, and furnished with a ‘Speakers' Corner’, photographs and protest posters, short lectures, readings, songs, and performances will take place – free from any specifications about content. There will be fifteen minutes of freedom offered daily at lunchtime between 12:45 and 13:00 – much as a homeopathic concentration.

Yoshiaki Kaihatsu understands his artistic practice as social work. Therefore, his projects always seek interaction with the local communities. In the past he has designed a "Future Post Office" in which he, as a kind of analog postman, received mail which people wrote to their future selves and only received after a year. In 2012, he built a minimalist “House of Politicians” in the restricted zone of Fukushima and invited repeatedly politicians to experience up-close the situation in the contaminated area. In 2014, he set up a (literally) underground tv-station on an empty piece of land. Within this he dressed in a mole costume, and asked his neighbors for interviews, in order to provide a grassroots broadcasting format. His projects approach the central issues of our time in a self-ironizing and playful way and encourage people to take their own positions.

Yoshiaki Kaihatsu (*1966, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan) graduated from Tama Art University in Tokyo with a Bachelor of Arts in 1991 and a Master of Arts in 1993. He was awarded the 4th Taro Okamoto Memorial Award for Contemporary Art of the Taro Okamoto Museum of Art (Kawasaki) in 2001 and received scholarships from the American Asian Cultural Council (New York, 1998-99), the Pola Art Foundation (Tokyo, 2001-02), and the Agency for Cultural Affairs (Tokyo, 2004-05). As Artist in Residence he participated in the programs of the Banff Art Center "Big City" (Canada, 2000), the International Studio & Curatorial Program (New York, 2001-02 and 2005) and the Künstlerhaus Bethanien International Studio Program (Berlin, 2005-06). Moreover, he has participated in numerous international exhibitions and was represented at the 2004 Venice Architecture Biennale in the Japanese Pavilion.

Responsible for the project:
Prof. Dr. Karen van den Berg | Academic spokesperson of the ZU-artsprogram | karen.vandenberg@zu.de
Ulrike Shepherd | Curator of the ZU-artsprogram | ulrike.shepherd@zu.de

Ulrike Shepherd | M 0170 2328327
Home: zu.de/artsprogram

Photo 1: „IMAPURA – What is the most serious problem for you?“ (Japan, 2015) | Photo: Kaihatsu

Photo 2, 3, 4: Exhibition view in the Whitebox | Photos: Karen van den Berg

Time to decide

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