Trans Art Tokyo 2013: In search of Kanda, in Kanda

There’s been a big trend in recent years in the Japanese art and design world to “recycle” old buildings for venues for events. One of the pioneers of this was 101TOKYO, the alternative art fair that was first held in 2008 in the former school that was then turned into 3331 Arts Chiyoda.

Earlier this year we reported on the opening of Hagiso, a new art space inside a former residence in old Tokyo. 2012 also saw Tokyo Denki University briefly “re-used” for Trans Art Tokyo before it was set to be demolished.

After welcoming 10,000 visitors and 300 artists in autumn 2012 it was decided to bring the event back, though this time it’s spread out. The major venue is now 3331 Arts Chiyoda, acting as the hub for nine other spaces in the Kanda and Ochanomizu area. PingMag popped along to see some of the exhibits.

The major exhibit at 3331 Arts Chiyoda was a series of portraits of Kanda folk in their natural environments by east Tokyo-based photographer, Masanori Ikeda, of YUKAI.

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Ikeda began the series, ‘Kanda Ko Portrait Project’, last year, and includes everyone from a secondhand bookshop owner to young girls who run trendy cafes, noodle restaurant managers and more! Ikeda’s life-affirming radiant style beams out of every shot!

Urban Kandaology exhibited a range of resources and digital tools that gave visitors a bird’s eye view of the area. A gold mine for cartology fanatics!

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‘Re-Establishing Shot’ is a series of photographic collages by Seung Woo Back that seem to be ordinary cityscapes until you get closer and realize that the elements have been rearranged.

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3331 Arts Chiyoda also hosted a series of custom-designed coolers for the Red Bull Curates Canvas Cooler exhibition.

trans art tokyo 2013

The exhibition also included a workshop at Fab Cafe in Shibuya and a special invite-only party with DJ Takkyu Ishino on November 7th. And over the same period the Red Bull Music Academy has also been taking place.

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A half-hour walk to Nishikicho to the disused Aoyama Gohantei Building. It might seem small but it was packed with exhibits on every floor and even the roof. To help you identity which concrete structure to head for, they’d painted a giant arrow outside, courtesy of Ichiro Endo.

trans art tokyo 2013

This is Shugo Kawakami’s tribute to the building, which was once home to a bento shop on the ground floor. The wooden sticks are actually usually found on graves in Japanese cemeteries and on them Kawakami has written lunchbox orders.

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Last year’s venue, former Tokyo Denki University, is now half-demolished so only the basement is usable as an event space.

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Getting down to it literally felt like going into a construction site. Do you need a hard hat?!

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On the other hand, our last stop, TRAD SQUARE, has only been around since 2013, and felt very new and shiny compared to the rest of the venues. Here Te-yu Wang presented a large site-specific installation inside. You could also peep into the structure and get a glimpse of the womb-like interior.

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Trans Art Tokyo 2013
October 19th to November 10th
http://kanda-tat.com