I kept seeing pink posters, fliers and banners throughout Kobe. I finally decided to figure out what they were all about and discovered Kobe Biennale. According to Wikipedia a biennale is "an international manifestation of contemporary art," which pretty much describes what this was. Here's a link in English http://www.kobe-biennale.jp/about/kobe_biennale/index_e.html
We went to a park on Port Island where various sculptures and installations were set-up. The artists were supposed to make the pieces relevant to their environment. Some did, there was a statue of a life guard looking out over the bay, and a field of windsocks. We're guessing the artist who made the life guard statute is local because while we were there Craig said, "That's a real person" and I said, "No it isn't" and then gasped when the guy turned and waved to a passing boat. There was a statute which he had sitting on the bottom rung of the life guard ladder while he sat at the top and they were dressed identically. He would sit perfectly still for a really long time and then all of a sudden move - I wasn't the only one who gasped.
There is a stretch of economically depressed stores in Sannomiya and in an attempt to increase foot traffic the city gave 14 artists 14 vacant stores to build installations in. They, too, were told to make there pieces about the space they were given. Some did that, others not so much.
One of the symbols of Kobe is a shipping container - it is a very active harbor. So another set of installations were supposed to be built inside of containers but there is apparently a shortage right now because they're being used in the tsunami clean up. The solution was to build spaces the same dimensions as shipping containers and give those to artists instead.
The first set is from the vacant store section.
The artist spent time in the vacant store etching pieces of conversations he heard from passersby into glass.
This one did a good job using the space. The light bulbs are sensitive to sound so when a car drives by they flicker. You can stand under them too. As you can see they're brighter closer to where I was standing and dimmer on the edges - I shouted just as I took the picture.
This is our friend Lisa standing among man-made stones.
Inside the upside down umbrellas is paper flower petals that are supposed to slowly fall to the ground as a fan blows them out of the umbrellas - we didn't see a single one fall.
This wasn't unique to the space but pretty beautiful. The entire thing is made from buttons - silver ones tied to strings to make the rain and colored ones for ripples.
These four are from a found objects style exhibit of Buddha. The Buddha is the size of a person and made from cardboard. Straight on you can see through it but from the side is looks solid. There were also miniature cardboard Buddhas hanging from the ceiling.
This picture is for my Aunt Annie - the exhibit was a bunch of hanging broken light bulbs with the occasional functioning one tossed in. She doesn't like to throw away things she might one day use and now she can use old light bulbs to make art.
These are from the shipping containers. We don't know if it was because they were translated into English but we stopped reading the artists' intents posted outside of each container because they were even more hokey than usual.
This one was supposed to examine the universality of horizons.
This was "future" ikebana.
Yup - the monkey is trying to pee on us - classy
Fun house style mirrors.
All of those hoops are made of plastic bottles.
How many Craigs can you see?
This cow was standing on the back of a pick-up truck and has, apparently, traveled all over Japan.
Craig was very interactive.